Why isn't our need a gift for those who have? Why are we unwilling to be humble and accept grace and charity? Why do we only feel as if we can give if we have extra, when what is expected is that we'll give because it is needed. How will you work out this moral calculus?
I want to say to Susan, "Your grandchild is with Jesus. And all the babies, too. And all the women who died from botched abortions because they weren't legal and safe. And all the fathers who couldn't get it together to be present. And all the children who ignored their parents. And all the parents who hurt their children. Everyone gets to be in the Kindgom of Heaven. The last, first; the first, last."
I own a not insignificant number of copies of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the best novel ever written in the English language. As a Christian who is saved in Christ (I think?), this fact, and God's eternal love, are the two things I can depend on.
Mustard seeds are small, stubborn, and selfish -- which are also words one could use to describe me, as long as you also whisper "petty" under your breath, too. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, we're told that faith as small as this can, if tended, if noticed and cared for, can provide shelter. My mother, saying, "Have a beautiful life," when that isn't the story I have ever told myself, or others, about my mother's love for me, was a shattering and obliterating piece of love and forgiveness -- given and asked for -- when I wasn't sure I deserved it at all.
My mom is 73 this year, pocked with Alzheimer's, haunted by ghosts and it can be tough to suss out from her description how many are phantoms of the mind, how many are figments of her imagination, and how many, if any, are visitors from some past Other Side. If they have a message for her, it must be frustrating. She won't remember it. "Well, your brother Michael's dead," she explained to my brother. This was after she and I had talked on the phone. I'm going to tell a story about her, and it's a Gentlemen's Agreement story where we're going to agree, thee and me, that I am telling you the truth.
A few weeks ago, at the Meeting House in Bethesda, Zach was breathing too loudly while he was sitting in quiet contemplation for the still small voice of God. A woman in front of us, panicked but also terrible, kept turning around. Zach's eyes were closed, because, again, as I said, he was sitting in quiet contemplation for the still small voice of God that comes from within. His breathing shouldn't have been a prob-- I'm getting ahead of myself.