October 21, 2020

the mind of god

Autumn Uplook (2014)

the mind of god
october 2020

when the belt on the mower broke the other day
i cursed as though god was out to get me
though god may have wanted me to invest in my health
give me some time walking behind the push mower
make me stretch my legs and work my lungs
give me a closer view of this little plot
feel its undulations beneath my boots
i’ve never quite figured out the mind of god

frank and jean have been married 70 years
and now they find themselves living in a home
but in two separate buildings because of the virus
70 years together pales to a month apart

and why i can’t seem to be happy, i’ll never know
i sit here tonight and the crickets are chirping a symphony
the sky above like diamonds, the evening breeze a delight
as the year falls, the colors brighten before fading
and with each bite of apple, a satisfying crunch — i wipe my chin
but i still find it hard to sleep at night

i have a friend whose wife got the virus and it nearly took her
all while he’s sitting at home in a wheelchair preparing to die
but he still laughs and makes jokes about my baseball team

our pastor and his wife go to florida for the winter
while i preside on sundays in our little country church
because of the virus we don’t gather at the table like we always have
we eat and drink jesus out of little plastic communion sets
we don’t get to look in each other’s eyes there near the altar
and the cushions are turned up in the rows where we’re not allowed to sit
it won’t be long before i return — first of november —
and then it’s my job, i guess, to explain what god is trying to say

i’m on call for work tomorrow, but i’ll try to get the mower fixed
if it doesn’t rain, i’ll get the grass i left uncut the other day
it’ll be sunday, but i won’t be at church, not this week
perhaps it will be quiet and i won’t have to go out to work
i’ll watch a little football, phone the folks, eat an apple
listen to the crickets and try to fall asleep at a decent hour
god willing, of course…

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    “i have a friend whose wife got the virus and it nearly took her
    all while he’s sitting at home in a wheelchair preparing to die
    but he still laughs and makes jokes about my baseball team . .”

    do not know why these words moved me so much,
    but thank you for sharing them, Chaplain Mike

    • “. . . . . and I
      Delight to imagine them seated there;
      There, on the mountain and the sky,
      On all the tragic scene they stare.
      One asks for mournful melodies;
      Accomplished fingers begin to play.
      Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
      Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.”

      (WB Yeats, ‘Lapis Lazuli’)

  2. A little while age there was a post from a while ago by Daniel Jepson. The gist of it was reminding himself that he is a beggar and not a builder.
    Now I am definitely in a season of fallowness. I was typing to describe the circumstances which are extreme…but that isn’t the point. And actually we all are in that season because of 2020.
    Daniel’s post would be good to remind the newly gathered about the silence we have encountered. You know Isaac Slade( of the Fray) is a Christian and knows some about “the mind of god” and the meaning of “Be Still”. Yet he wrote it to comfort his little brother having trouble with sleep. I pray perhaps it will be quiet. I’m sitting at home in a wheelchair and believe it or not it’s refreshing.
    You don’t joke about it because your necessarily happy about it, It’s a weird year. The Cubs’ catcher Contreras said “we probably tried to do way too much for 60 games. It got into everybody in this group.” So they have this bad feeling. They are now in the fallowness season. Do you not watch the Marlins or Rays or A’s sitting with at least some silence. Staying up watching the Yankees until after 11:00PM it’s like a sleeping pill.
    Doing things feels like my job. Until put into this season of fallowness. And I didn’t get it until I let the game come to me. The mind of god doing things for me.

  3. Like!

  4. We do well to chronicle this historic time that we are living through so that people in the future can appreciate the texture. Some of what we are living through is absolutely extraordinary In the medical, political and social realms. Here we are surrounded by societal upheaval on so many fronts and yet we continue to live our lives in ordinary ways. It’s the confluence of the ordinary and the extraordinary. I hope I remember how I felt and what I thought if I’m around 25 years from now when someone asks me what it was like in the same way that someone might ask what it was like to live through the Spanish flu or World War II. Often the answers are mundane but certainly not all. I’m absolutely flummoxed by some of this stuff. It seems like it’s never been this way before. Whether or not that’s true I don’t know but it sure seems that way. Anyway, happy October 7, 2020. Good documentation Mike.

  5. Michael Bell says

    I appreciated the humanness of this post Mike.