No Worries

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God and I were talking about how much blame she endures. And flat-out rejection. I told her I felt bad about that. “No worries,” God said. “Rejection is my middle name.”

This was strangely reassuring. Sometimes, I feel defensive for God, and try to run interference. Not because God asked me to, but because I think everyone would be happier if some kind of meaning or hope descended along with the greedy abyss of the evening news. Hope and Meaning are some of God’s first names.

“So it doesn’t bother you at all?” I said.

“Nope,” she answered, but her voice had a slight catch in it.

I took her at her word. God rarely lies to me. “Okay, then,” I said. “But could you try a little harder to be visible? That would help.”

“Nope,” God said, an evil little smile curling her lips. “I’ve gone as far down that road as I’m going to go for now.”

I could see God had slipped into one of her moods. Arms crossed, she towered over me.

“Listen, God. This is not okay with me,” I said in a firm, parental voice. “You have no reason to be so stingy. You’re very, very lucky to be God, and even though we need help, you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished here, with us humans, I mean.”

The room darkened. I gulped but held on. “No. Seriously, you might not be aware of how much prodding and coddling and proof we need,” I said. “You may assume we’ve got it together, but basically, we still don’t.”

God’s eyes burned neon orange through the blackened air. “In no way do I assume humans have it together,” she said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Okay, then,” I said, still confident I knew who I was dealing with. “You need to make more of an effort to let people know.”

“Know what, exactly?”

I could see this was going nowhere fast. Why couldn’t I argue with God and get results like Moses? I shrugged and backed away.

God got bigger. “Let me tell you something,” she said. “There’s nothing you can know in the way you wish you could know.”

“Why not?” I said, as loudly as I dared. “Why not? What would it hurt for you to prove yourself once in a while?”

“Oh. My. God.” God said. “I could ask you the same thing. Could you just look around? Do you have a clue what I mean when I say I AM?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Well, maybe. But I have to endure a little nausea when my mind opens up that wide. And it gets lonely.”

God gentled down and gave me a knowing look. Layers and layers of skin dropped from her face. “Delight is temporary,” she said, her voice clear and inviting. “So is death.”

We were suddenly at the river. Her bones softened, her hair turned magenta and blew upward in the rising wind. Her body spread across the expanse, a sunset that welcomed the coming night. Oh, how I wanted something to grab onto. Something to own. Something to know. But what I had was water and sky, hunger and soul.

 

Dust Mite

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Sometimes, my co-author pushes things a little further than seems appropriate and leaves me dangling. For instance, this morning I’ve had to gulp back my aversion and hide my incredulity while  I try to model polite acceptance. “Hello, God,” I said. “I see you’ve become a dust mite.”

No discernible answer. I try a little ingratiation. “Wow. You’re so tiny and translucent.” But I’m thinking UGLY! Of course, I realize beauty’s in the biased eye of the beholder. I continue on. “And bugs like you are impossible to eradicate.”

Without a word, God infiltrates my psyche and I drop a little deeper. Humans can dip very low. God can dip lower.

“God, you freak me out. You’ve taken up residence in the detritus of humankind, yet you remain essential and good. You’re living where we’ve been, transforming what’s fallen from our bodies into sustenance. You restore meaning to things that have been cast off and forgotten. You complete the circle. You’re like a mother clasping the old sweaty shirt of her child to her heart, weeping for all that has been, all that could have been. Taking courage from the scent remaining in the shredded cloth. You fearlessly find the way forward. Onward.” Still no answer, but I think God is in agreement.

“I’m like that today too, God,” I say, longing for some kind of affiliation.

I’m sitting beside my expanding rock collection–stones that were once fallen trees, transformed by minerals in the ancient putrid waters that sucked them down. I can’t fathom the pressure necessary to create these stones. And how is it they’ve come to be here, on my bench, in my house, absorbing the warmth of the morning sun?

Judging from the way things break down and are reconfigured, my place in this cacophony of life and death is a whimsical bit of happenstance. This upsets me a little bit.

“Sometimes, I wish you took me a little more seriously, Dust mite God,” I said. Of course, no answer.  “Okay, sometimes I wish you didn’t pay any attention to me at all. You’re a frightening, infinitesimal speck of persistence, patiently digesting, creating and re-creating this ragged world and all that is within it.” No comment. No reaction. I stumble on.

“Diminutive God, you’re nearly invisible to the naked eye.  I don’t know what to make of you. Why have you chosen to inhabit such a tiny space.?”

Finally, I realize there will be no reasonable answers. In fact, there will be no answers at all today. Only compassion. Only resurrection. Only the icy hope of rising water, the magical appearance of red-winged blackbirds, the ambivalent green of an ordinary day.

In this version of myself, I am the friend of dust mites, the builder who will not reject these temporary stones. I am a transitory being of ashes and dust, improvising the best I can with the materials at hand. I won’t get it entirely right. No one ever does. And it doesn’t matter in the least.