I am a jumbled up mess of feelings tonight and I don’t know why. I’ve been trying to write a sermon and nothing is happening. Nothing. How can nothing happen? After all these years. After everything I’ve read and thought and prayed. Nothing. Not. A. Thing. Why is it harder and not easier? Am I making it harder? Am I getting in the way? My way? God’s way?
And I couldn’t find the Indiana basketball game on television tonight. ESPN3? Where is ESPN3? And they’re so awful this year, why would I want to watch them? I’m not sure, but I still follow Indiana basketball and I want them to be better. And the same with the Chicago Cubs. And the same with the Chicago Bears. I can’t remember the last time one of my teams won anything, really won anything. I try to like the Lakers but I don’t really care much for pro basketball. The Dodgers are good, and I like going to Dodger stadium, but I like the Cubs because my son lives in Chicago and it makes me feel close to him when I root for the Cubs but I don’t know if he knows this and I’m not sure it would matter that much to him even if he did but I think like this sometimes.
Plus, I saw a man yelling at his dog today because the dog chose to go to the bathroom right in front of the Pottery Barn, I mean right in front of the door of the Pottery Barn, which I’m guessing the dog misread as the Potty Barn. And I’m talking a big job. Not a small contribution. The man kept yelling, “You stupid dog. You stupid stupid dog.” It made me sick, not because of what the dog did, but because the man kept yelling at the poor dog.
I finished reading two books today. Good books. Martin Gardner. Ann Patchett. Excellent books. But I’m thinking about the book I want to write and I can’t seem to focus on actually writing it and so I keep procrastinating and my agent wonders why I haven’t finished the proposal I promised a month ago. Why do I want to write another book? (Really? Another book?) Why do I want to put myself through the aggravation? I have enough on my plate right now. I can’t even write a sermon for this Sunday, let alone another book, and so why am I doing this to myself?
And I’m a little miffed, not intensely so but a little bit miffed about the Olympics. I can’t get into them this year. They don’t even look like the winter Olympics. Don’t you have to have snow at the winter Olympics to make them the WINTER Olympics? Isn’t that a minimal standard when it comes to hosting the WINTER games?
I got it. Now I understand. I finally see it. I’m just in a bad funkadelic mood tonight. Which, when I think about it, is sort of what the sermon is about. It’s the story of Noah and the flood this week. God looks at the world and gets miffed. And so the rain comes down and lasts forty days and forty nights, which even one night of rain would be a blessing for my beloved and parched state of California. God got miffed and it started to rain. There’s always enough going on in the world to get us miffed at life — ESPN3 and the winter Olympics and dogs taking care of business on the front step of the Pottery Barn. Miffed.
The flood story of Genesis ends with a rainbow. The rainbow is a reminder — primarily to God — not to get too miffed at the world because there are still good things and good people. And beauty still pulsates through the universe like a great heartbeat. And people still fall in love and care for the sick and dying at hospitals and teach classes every day so kids can learn something new.
Van Morrison sings: “My momma told me . . . there would be days like this.”
Of course. I have them. And you have them too. And so I remind you every now and then . . . and you remind me every now and then . . . to Take a Breath. Taking a Breath helps. It may not fix everything. But it helps. And anything that helps is a good thing. And a God thing.