“Hey, God,” I whisper, slipping quietly down the dimly-lit stairs. God’s an early riser, but others are still asleep. “Wanna party?” Sometimes, my morning mood is both desolate and overly energized. I don’t even know why I say what I say.
“You bet,” God answers with enthusiasm. “You mean like eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die?”
Exactly, I think to myself. I want a reassuring party with my adoring little God: a fatalistic precursor, debauchery-laced denial.
My eyes slowly adjust to the sunrise out the window. The pasture glistens far beyond a describable green. Turkeys have been eating the tops off my onion sets, and chokecherries are budding. Spring is arriving with her usual expectations, but each winter leaves another indelible mark on my psyche.
Inviting God to party is risky, but not inviting God is risky too. This one will cost me a bottle of beer, some lime-flavored chips, and the kind of scrutiny only fools and children are willing to endure. But right now, I am an unswaddled child. I’ll be fine, I tell myself.
“No, you won’t,” God says in a million joyful voices. “You won’t be fine. You are fine. There’s a difference. C’mon. Let’s get this party on the road.” God is legion. They are many. They are beautiful. I don’t have enough beer. And even if the chips expand like the loaves and fishes, they’re stale.
“Ah, never mind,” I say. “Let’s skip the party. I need to go shopping and pull some weeds. I need to put things away, do the floors, make some calls.”
“But you invited us,” God protests. “We’re coming along, no matter how you spend your time. And we brought plenty of refreshments. You didn’t think we’d show up empty-handed, did you?”
I have endured scorn, exalted in adoration, sought invisibility, reveled in mastery, and played by myself on any number of shorelines and precipices. What possessed me to issue that rash invitation? A party with God at dawn? I might be an unswaddled child in my mind, but in reality, these stairs are a real challenge.
I sit on the bottom step, cover my ears, close my eyes, and will God to disappear. Instead, she scales down to singular and sits beside me in superhero pajamas. She hands me coffee. I hand her the day. She turns it this way and that, gazes at its beauty, touches its pain, and hands it back.
“All yours,” she says. “Enjoy.”
“I’ll try,” I say as I put the day in my pocket. And I mean it.
“I know you will,” she says. And she means it, too.