Saturday, January 29, 2011


I went to the east shore of the River.  I wanted to measure its breadth and its depths, the waters that course along its banks and most of all I wanted to know why it behaves as it does.  To help I brought my favorite cup.  It was given to me some while back and I think it is splendid.  Ascribing it as a cup is not the truth.  It holds two full cups, as I measure, and I thought it would be enough.

So I went to the river and there I failed.  The water I gathered slopped over the brim and my hand and wrist became wet, as did my shoes, socks, and feet.  There was one scoop, another, and another still.  It was impossible and I didn’t want to admit it.  Miles of river were upstream and miles were downstream.  Millions of gallons were never to be measured, at least not by me.  In places I could see the bottom, clear and pebbled.  Beyond were dark and elusive depths.  Only notions of wide, very wide, and ‘I might be able to cross here,’ passed for breadth.

I grew angry at the river and some part of my mind, the proud part, began to question the existence of the river, though it was plainly before me.  At such times one must back away and reconsider.

This is me questioning God.  Your results may vary, but not much.

The mind looks for patterns and is not so different from the voodoo man auguring the guts in his pan.  Maybe the bathroom lights, constant, steady, and otherwise dependable, flicker once or twice and it is a sign; a sign for the day, or someone from the ‘other side’ messaging.  Books of horoscopes still sell and we ask it like this:  what is your sign?  The book says do not seek for a sign.

Children get sick.  Children die.  Affliction and blessing cover us like a flood and I don’t know why.  The most horrible and the most wonderful events are commonplace and even if I knew why it would not always help.  Remember Job; look to Haiti.  That poor man minding his own business then bereft of everything but a gallery of second and third guessing friends – men at the river with their cups, boasting they have measured the unmeasurable.

I know people who have only a few questions more and then they will certainly believe.   They arrive with buckets and pumps and do not see how they are sieved.  The river rolls on and because it cannot be understood they say it is not real and the fool says there is no God.

I do not say I worship an unknown God.

Rivers are beautiful.  They are powerful and admirable and unpredictable and worthy of the deepest respect and caution.  Peace, like a river, attendeth my way.  My cup runneth over.