When God stops by as humble as the Kirby salesman or the Fuller Brush Man and shows me his wares, I buy. I can’t help it. Love looks so good in the abstract. But love enacted is often irritating, complex and exhausting. It can take so damn much time and energy that I long to renege, retreat, and eat bonbons.
Well, maybe not bonbons but something mind-altering and self-indulgent. I’d be willing to eat my words if that would help, since I offer up a lot of verbiage urging acts of kindness upon myself and others.
A mountain lion killed our neighbor’s little dog this week. I’ve watched the instinctual responses of predators when edible creatures flee. Vicious jaws, brutal endings. Could instinct be a justification for bonbons? Aggression? Guns in the basement aimed at anyone planning to overpower me and eat my extra pasta?
“I’m sorry,” God says after listening to this rant for a few moments. “I can’t get into these concerns today.
“Why?” I ask. “Busy with that new little dog in heaven?” Okay. I admit I can be a real jerk when I feel scared, short-changed, or entitled.
God looks at me with compassion, turns, and walks away.
“Wait!” I shout, stricken with the shame of abandonment. “Please.”
“I can’t,” God says. “Use your new products. I’ll be back.”
I slam the door behind him, kick love to the corner, dig deep into the candy drawer, and pile wood on the fire. “No!” I bellow into the room, chaotic with yesterday’s attempts at decluttering. “Not me!!!”
The not-me arrives. She shows up whenever I yell for her and stays until she’s gorged herself on my best intentions. She’s unattractive and mean. When she finally slinks away, I’m usually sprawled on the couch, cursing my laziness, bad judgment, nasty temperament, and inadequate excuses for not saving the world or at least some little corner of it. There are chocolate smears around my mouth and thick socks on my feet.
Oh ye who forget that thou art prey; beware. And woe to ye who ignore thy forward eyes and pointed teeth reflected in thy steamy mirror. Thou art predator and thou art prey. Yet thou art also family. Therefore, thou must enter into sacrificial space, ready to share thine chocolate and thine life. That’s how it works.
That’s simply how it works.