My feet are propped comfortably in front of me. Morning light plays over the intricate curves and delicate runs of bone, cartilage, joints, digits, nails, veins, and varying hues of smooth, innocent skin. From this angle, the lumps and bumps don’t show. I’m caught in the magic of backlit flesh, sad that it is such a transient reality.

“Ah, don’t cry,” the Artist says, but it’s obvious she’s gratified by my reaction. Art is about emotion and recognition. It solves problems by simplifying and causes problems by revealing. At this moment, my feet are perfect. They don’t belong to me.

Perfection dwells in the twinkling of the eye, not the tally of a lifetime. It never lasts, but it leaves telltale signs: a smear of sacrificial blood wiped away, a cruel thought left unexpressed, a knowing glance, a long, hard day. Perfection is when traffic stops both directions to let a single ray of sunlight reach a dark place.

“God,” I say, pulling my achy feet back under me, reclaiming their imperfections. “These feet remind me of you. You’re both getting less reliable. Why did you choose evolution and entropy for design motifs?”

“I love entropy!” God declares with no hint of apology. “Random loss, chaos, the gradual decline into disorder; these spawn the next iterations of myself. You can’t expect me to convert everything into predictable mechanical work. Sometimes, thermal energy must stay put so there’s room for wonder.”

“Oh, that’s so you, God. Cold. Self-absorbed. Molecular. Can’t you stop for a minute and sympathize? Even if decline is fodder for the future, even if transition is the ground source of wonder, it’s still tough.”

“Well, it’s just as tough being eternal and waiting around,” God retorts. “But that’s not the point. Of course, it’s hard. The challenge is to grow softer and wiser. In the short run, denial makes things easier. But never better. Be brave.”

“Fine,” I say with a dismissive wave. I’ve heard it all before. I get up and put on my favorite red socks. They will help me venture into a mundane day. “I suppose you expect me to be grateful for things like warm socks and a working automobile.”

“Of course, I do,” God says with a self-satisfied smile. “And mind if I ride along? I need to check some inventories.”

“Not at all,” I say. “But bundle up. It’s wicked cold out there.”

Why We Sing

“These are rocky times, God,” I said. “Any advice?”

“Let there be music,” God said in a solemn voice. I nodded. God continued.

“Let there be fire. Let there be brilliance, heat, and force that fractures, reveals, cleanses and transforms. Let the light befriend the darkness, making it gentle and soft like velvet. Let darkness drape itself around things meant to be hidden, preserving the safe hollows where foxes are raising their young. Let the light sing in humble harmony while the baritones and basses of nightfall carry the low, familiar melody of the last song—the song that is sung your first night home.

Let there be joy. Let there be solemn rejoicing. Let there be reveling in joy that knows what it costs. Joy that takes up residence in the mutterings and moanings of a species that preys on itself. Let joy bring the cleansing tears that slide down the weathered cheeks of the rancher out helping the calves be born, facing into the howling wind.

Let there be compassion. Let there be kindness. Let there be a willingness to share the load of firewood and stone. Let there be premeditated unions and permissive individuations and searing partings that speak of what’s been shared—the same beating heart, now two. The eyes that see from within. Let things be known that need no speaking.

Let there be beginnings and conclusions—the kind that come from cell divisions, permeable boundaries, long sips of water, honey on the tongue. Let the dust fly, let the storms brew, let the virginal sky slide open, revealing the well-lit path.” God took a breath.

“We can’t find the well-lit path,” I said. “We’re stumbling.”

“Sing,” God said. “Sing.”

(With thanks to the Missoula Children’s Choir)