If anyone deserved good health, it was me. You deserve what you earn. Then again, you own only what you can keep. It is self evident that God acts upon humanity only in a general way. There simply are no specific miracles. Oh, sure, of course there are, but so rarely, profoundly exotic, sui generis. Two-headed calves are not miracles. Spontaneous remission is not a miracle. The midnight reprieve of the condemned is not a miracle. These are just things that happen.
Prayer does not move God. So very rarely does he, as it were, repent himself. Shadows moving backward on the sundial; human depravity that brings forth a Flood. Offhand I can’t think of any other example. Earthquakes and brimstone from the skies – these are phenomena of nature, acts of God, as we say, but traceable to the current nature, rather than any initial created perfect condition, of the universe. Prayer, then, is what we do when we want to change our own minds.
Rarely do we get special warnings. Usually it is conscience that warns us: gee, maybe that wouldn't be such a good thing to do? But if the thing seems to be mere change, a left turn instead of a right? -- well, you should have driven more carefully, slowly, looked both ways, been more mindful of intersections and headlong traffic. Or you eat out, give yourself a special treat or just pick up a bite, and a bacteria colony comes along with it. What warning was there? Prepare your own food? -- meditate before every meal and await a highsign? If there were such a thing as the urim and thummim any longer, I doubt if it would function. God acts in the universe only upon quarks and upon conscience. He sustains the universe, and he seeks for our salvation. All the rest of it is happenstance.
The wicked prosper, the virtuous suffer, and justice might as well be counted as a miracle, more rare than two-headed serpents. What then is the purpose? Here it is, Thanksgiving. Indeed, we must be thankful. It can always get worse. You had better cling with utmost desperation to what you have, cherish and treasure and spray out thanks like a pulsar pervading infinite space. God has demanded of us a thankful spirit, and commanded us to rejoice, always. Through suffering? Oh, sweet child, to think you know anything of suffering. Whatever we are put through could be so very much worse. The burn victim must be thankful that he can walk; the paralytic must be grateful that he can speak. And at the end of an ungrateful life is an eternity of pain. Indeed, it can be so much infinitely worse. Thanksgiving, then.
The meaning of life is the curse and necessity of free will, and what we do with it. Should I have said blessing, as well? Find them where you may. We stand on the shore of a vast cesspool of cruelty and indifference. We stand on a small floating island in that pool. Most of humanity is nearly submerged, deprived of the blessing even of a place to stand.
For my part, I have poisoned my spirit with unforgiveness, virtually mad by now with the need to avoid those persons and situations that have given me, well, past anguish. How is this wrong? When we reach an intersection we must remember the rules of the road, look both ways and avoid catastrophe. The people in our lives who have ignored the rules of, well, humanity -- aren’t there rules that must guide us? No. Apparently there are not. We must forgive. Forgive the oncoming truck. Which seems so stupid and insane a thing to do that I cannot. Christ can be Christlike. It seems a contradiction that we must be, also. It isn’t, of course -- forgiveness doesn’t mean trust. My problem, one of them, is that I’d like to see justice. All I can do, to approximate that, is hold a grudge. Poor substitute.
We learn our first lessons about God through the character of our fathers. Very very grim. Very bad plan, God. You fucked up. That must be the first step on election: God puts us in a toxic crippling family and then lets us fend for ourselves -- those who are elected will thrive, find support and stability and sanity where we may. It can happen. And late late later, maybe we get some friends, or find a mate, or carve out a place for ourselves in the world. We find meaning. And perhaps the wasted years that have been consumed as by locusts are returned to us and we achieve or approach our potential. Perhaps it is this way. The meaning of hope is that tomorrow might be better than today. Perhaps our pain will be less. Perhaps our solitude will be broken. Perhaps our spirit will lay down its burden, seen to be so completely unnecessary. Perhaps God will smile on us, and we feel that smile as peace and love and fellowship.
I have been silent in these pages for some weeks now. Sometimes I write, but I don’t think of myself as a complainer, so I keep it to myself. These pages are for saying what I feel like saying, but not everything is fit for print. I have friends, but there’s no one I would lay my burdens on. Seems discourteous, that level of intimacy, when I’m so superficial a persona. I know I’m wrong in this. Count it as another of my sins.
I will isolate myself for Thanksgiving, and Friday, emerge briefly on Saturday and disappear again on Sunday. The world, and moving through it, is painful. I should have been more grateful, when I felt well. As it is, I will be thankful that I am not paralyzed, physically.