Written: August 2001
Friday, August 3
The worst thing about being the one who neither slumbers nor sleeps is late night television. I made a big mistake last night and watched three hours of Pat Robertson re-runs. I must not do that again. I think there is a real possibility of contracting spiritual diabetes from the show if I spend more than twenty minutes more with that man's smile.
Saturday, August 4
Sabbath. At last! My day off. This could not have come at a better time, given how hard Monday will be for me. Off to the hot tubs.
Sunday, August 5
This morning, Francis Assisi stopped by the gym, just as I was in the middle of my stretching exercises. He said he wanted to know my favorite day of the week. I told him that Sunday was my favorite day of the week. He nodded and then asked, "So what is your worst day of the week?"
"That's easy," I said. "Sunday is my worst day of the week." Francis looked puzzled. then he asked, sarcastically if I had been studying Buddhism on the side. Francis can sometimes be a jerk. I closed my eyes, counted to ten and then went on.
"Look, " I said. "I probably hear more prayers on Sunday than any other day. That's good and that's bad. The good part is that so many of the prayers come from people's hearts. It's like they are lifting up their pain and asking me to care about it. And that is one of the things I do best . . caring about their pain and their hopes." Actually, I love the way Jesus put it, that not a bird falls from the sky without my noticing . . . and grieving.
"So what is the bad part?" Francis asked. I told him I didn't want to talk about it. The truth is I was still mad about his Buddha remark. Anyway, Francis left graciously, saying that he knew I wanted to get back to my exercising. He remembers about tomorrow.
So why is this the worst day of the week for me? I know the answer and I'm glad I didn't share it with Francis. He would have been very disappointed and he probably would have thought less well of me.
So why is this the worst day of the week for me? I think because in praying their own pain, most people don't seem very interested in mine. My heart breaks for those who don't have people to pray for them -- young kids, old people, those millions of men and women in Africa who are dying with AIDS. When people pray to me for their own concerns, don't they realize, don't they know how much I hurt deep down inside? I know it's not their place to comfort and console me, but it's terrible to feel so alone. They pray to me because they feel powerless and because they trust my love: I know I would like to have more of a reciprocal relationship and to trust their love a little more. I know what Buddha would say. He's talked to me about this more than once.
Monday, August 6: The Feast of the Transfiguration
The Feast of the Transfiguration. This used to be my favorite day of the year -- better than Christmas and Easter and St. Francis Day all lumped together. It really is the point of it all, the transfiguration of people and places and relationships and troubles and. . .and then on this day, of all days, Hiroshima. Those arrogant Americans have stolen my feast and replaced it with The Feast of the Disfiguration. And outrage of outrages, those bastards named the project "Trinity," after me. Tomorrow can't come fast enough for me.
Tuesday, August 7
At breakfast this morning, Jesus called me grumpy. Actually he said I had been grumpy all day. I told him I was entitled to my own feelings. He said I was a romantic. He said my feelings had compromised what I knew had always been true. He said he wanted to remind me that his own life was lived not amongst the lilies of the field, but in constant struggle with the darkness.
He said that, in Psalm 23, it was "though" (inevitable), not "if" (maybe). It was "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." He said he wanted to remind me that the light shines in the darkness (not just in Church School).
I tried to remind him that those were the Psalmist's words and John's words, not his. Jesus waited a long time, then reached across the table to put his hand on my arm and said, "I'm sorry you hurt so much."
Wednesday, August 8
I hope I didn't look bad at breakfast yesterday. It wouldn't have the first time. In retrospect, I know Jesus was right -- but I was right, too. Anyway, I should not have sent him to his room.
I think I will take the day off to listen to stories, but stories of heroism, not of goodness. I've heard too many, way too many goodness stories. Give me adventure stories, stories of bravery and heroism -- stories about goodness put me to sleep.