there was God, of course

Just a quote, after all this.  Just a quote.

Both for the writing, and the content, a perfect example of why I love Frederick Buechner; from The Final Beast:

“Why should he stay?

There was God, of course, but God made Irma Reinwasser very angry.  He asked so much of His servants and rendered so little:  marry and bury, christen and counsel, joke with, solicit from, try somehow to live by Him, live with Him.  It emptied a man.  Yet skinny and bright-eyed in his black robe, he still had to stand up in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and speak to Him and about Him to that big, white, half-filled meeting-house of a church with the turkey-red carpet, “And when they tell me he looks like Abe Lincoln,” Irma said, “I tell them after Abe Lincoln got shot is what he looks like.  If you got God for a friend, you don’t need any enemies.”  What did God give in return?  A dead wife, knots in the stomach.  She plucked up the bacon with a cooking fork and flipped it over.  It spat at her.  Why should Bluebeard stay for the sake of God?

Or was it maybe for the sake of God that he had gone?  Sobered by this possibility, she sucked her wrist gravely where the hot fat had scalded her.  You could never be sure about Bluebeard and God.  There were times when she felt that each must take the other as a kind of joke, and when every night just after her light was turned out Cornelia began with “Our Father who aren’t in Heaven” instead of “Our Father who art,” you could imagine both God and Bluebeard laughing as in fact sometimes Bluebeard actually did laugh, so soft you could hardly hear it as he sat there on the child’s bed with his eyes closed.  But his were closed; that was just it.  That was why you could never be sure what Bluebeard felt about God or what his lightheartedness meant.  It might not be a joke at all.”

a tangle of limbs and polka dots

A two-year-old girl in a navy, polka-dot dress with white tights, and cool Converse sneakers, which in her pronunciation become “cul cumbers”, happily irresponsible on a sunny Sunday morning, as she skips and trots along the sidewalk, absent-mindedly leading her family to the church entrance, trips over a menacing crack in the unforgiving walkway and tumbles forward in a tangle of limbs and polka dots, scraping small spaces of tender, poorly protected skin against the abrasive reality of a gravity-empowered earth.

Her father, walking a few steps behind her with another little girl in his arms, a scowl on his face, and an offended cloud of stormy emotions – self-imposed by the suffering of disappointed, unreasonable, selfishly designed, and entirely unnecessary expectations – brooding invisibly over his mind, while wishing for escape from the frustrating bonds and simultaneously demanding retribution and grovelling from his offenders, watches the two-year-old bundle of the best sunshine the world can offer fall violently and pitiably, pushing the stake of disappointment and anger all the further into his enshrouded heart.

As the inevitable screams, and horrified wails of “owie” begin to flow, inspired more by the shock and offense of such an unfair and so grievously perpetrated surprise attack than the very real sting of the scraped skin, the girl’s father says to her, as he grabs her arm and coerces her flailing, injured limbs and body from the embrace of the concrete, “Okay, okay!  You’re fine!  You can stop with the drama queen act.  We need to keep moving.  Come on!”