Gifting

This morning began dark, but it has lightened to a dull gray which will soon give way to darkness again. I build a reluctant fire. God joins me, and we note the importance of a good draft. The air is heavy. My beer is cold.

I hate to admit it, but the sting of rejection has caused my joints to swell, and my dexterity is significantly reduced. The typos of life are hounding me. Blurry images of what could have been hang like abstract art in my ever-thinning soul.

“We should go shopping today,” I say. “I need to find the perfect presents and mail them to my enemies and detractors.”

God does a doubletake. She knows I hate shopping and would sooner maim or kill the monsters and idiots among us than take any kind of positive action.

“And not just my detractors!” I add, thrilled with the possibility that I’ve startled God.  “Not just my personal enemies. I’ll send gifts to crazed gunmen and billionaires. Liars. Haters. The meanest, most arrogant people on earth.”

We gaze at the fire. It’s not blazing the way it does sometimes, but it’s still fire. Still hypnotizing.

“Do you have their addresses?” God asks in a helpful, quiet voice.

“No, but I’m sure you do. Could I borrow your address book?”

“Of course,” God says. “But it’s rather futuristic. You know how some address books get outdated? Mine runs the other way. It gets ahead of itself.”

I sip my beer and consider this comforting absurdity.

“I myself have had a lot of addresses already,” I mention casually, hoping for a hint of what my future addresses might be.

“Nice try,” God says. “Could I help you with the wrapping? I love how you use old scarves and newspapers.”

“Nah.” I shake my head, deflated. “I’ve changed my mind. The jerks will just pitch the gifts out anyway.”

God hands me the scotch tape. “Doesn’t matter, sweetheart. Invest in the process. Open your soul and scrape it as clean as you can. Line it with shock absorbers, feathers, and things you honestly love. It’s not how a gift is received; it’s the giving that matters.”

 “I don’t think I believe that anymore,” I admit sadly.

“I know,” God says. “But you do.”