This I Believe

Roger - Adams, Nebraska
Entered on March 21, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

My Dear Friend,

Yes. I did promise to be your lifeline. That you could call any time things were bad. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own hard times. And yes, I did want to smear myself at very high speeds across the grader ditch.

Then I realized that you—among others–would be so pissed…..

So yes, our contract is still binding. And yes, it’s good that you remained standing on the edge of the quarry.

It’s all part of the deal. We’re all a part of some big weird net. Flexible. Forgiving. Floating. Sometimes we swim. Most of the time we all just try and hold on.

I guess it’s kind of like my ex-roommate’s girl friend. She would wake up early in the morning, crack open a beer and turn on one of those television messiahs. I would get up, make coffee and sit down on the couch too.

She had been a religion major. But she found it more interesting to be a waitress. So. It would be 7:00 AM and we would be watching some guy telling us how we could experience god’s love if we just sent him a sign. A sign. You know, like $100 bucks to prove that we really wanted god to open our hearts.

Every so often the girlfriend would shout “ONE!” and then a bit later “THAT’S TWO!!!” Taking swigs from her beer, calling out numbers until I left to go to learn things at the university.

Finally one morning, just after she called out “SEVENTEEN!!!” I asked her what she was doing.

“Counting blasphemies,” she replied.

I sat there a while. I got up and got her another can of beer.

I took a long sip of my coffee and looked at her.

“They stand there with their Bible open, pointing at the pages, telling you that god says this and god says that. But what they’re saying ain’t necessarily in the Bible. Just because they have it open doesn’t mean they are quoting anything.”

I wish I could say that she burped right then, but I don’t think she did.

Anyway, she changed something. This angry woman who I barely knew, sitting on my couch with a can of Bud Light in her hand; wearing my roommate’s underwear and undershirt, changed something.

I no longer had to NOT believe.

It wasn’t the same God who said blessed are the poor; that said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven; as the god who gave rich people so much more than poor people. People did that.

I didn’t have to not believe because the God of Love is not also the god of war.

God didn’t want the woman next door to obey her husband as he beat the tar out of her.

God didn’t like Christians better than Muslims. Or Jews. God didn’t let people die because their faith was weak. Tornados and earthquakes were acts of nature, not the acts of some angry and vengeful god.

And God didn’t hate faggots.

So. Yes. I can say to you no matter what has been done to you; no matter what you have done because of what was done to you. God has not turned her back on you.

You see, there are some things that cannot be written. No number of pages in any number of books could capture something so profound. Something that can take a glop of mud and make it breath. Something that could turn and look at the un-clean woman who had just defiled his holiness and say “Your faith has healed you”. Something that can take a cast-off person lingering by a well tell her to go SPEAK the Truth. But even more.

Sure. Sometimes the din of all those voices reading all those words distracts us. Sometimes all the racket. All the stuff they are laying on us. It just paralyzes us. Sometimes the sounds get louder and louder as we ruffle the pages… Searching….

Sometimes we just have to hold on.

And sometimes, standing on the edge of the cliff is not jumping.

Sometimes walking to the edge of the quarry is just a way of our soul saying “Shhhhhhhhhhhh….”