Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
I get the staff part. Shephards use staffs to gently guide their animals along. They might corral a bunch of sheep with the staff... or hook one that is about to go hurtling off a cliff.
But a rod? A rod is a stick that you'd use to hit something. I am intrigued that getting bopped by God's stick would be a comfort.
And yet, perhaps it is true, that even the tough lessons... the hard parts, are comforts. I shake my fist at God, and am, at the same time, infinately grateful to him. I feel lost without him, but know deeply that I am never without him.
In the desert, the Israelites bitched and whined their way through 40 years of wandering. I have been at it for only a couple months and I am already tired and cranky. And can't help wondering if there is a way to find comfort in this bopping. Somehow.
When I was a kid, I went to a school that was run by an Anglo-Catholic priest named Fr. Cranston. He believed in corporal punishment. If we misbehaved, we had to lean over a desk and get 'swatted' with a wooden stick. It genuinely hurt... but somehow, the swatting would become a kind of badge of honor. Getting a whack from Fr. Cranston brought us quickly back to the straight and narrow. Some parents were so horrified by this practice they ended up taking their children out of the school. But we kids, for the most part, respected that swatting was a part of the deal if we were in error. And we simply adored Fr. Cranston because under his strangely Dickens-like personna, we knew he simply adored us. Was the swatting a comfort? No. But Fr. Cranston was, many many times, a comfort at a time when I needed it pretty badly. (Adolescence and divorcing parents, all at the same time. Yeesh.)
Fr. Cranston died last summer. I never did get to tell him I had gone Jesus. If you guys read blogs in Heaven, Fr. Cranston, I want you to know how grateful I am for everything. You were one of the best Christians I ever knew.
Beloved, help me remember that both the rod and the staff are part of the package.
I found out a couple of days ago that one of my essays is going to be published in a book coming out this Spring. The book is called 'Christian Voices in Unitarian Universalism'. Sounds like an instant best seller, doesn't it? LOL. I mean, who in the world is their audience? The 123 UU Christians in the world?
I almost feel like a fraud, though, because I am no longer a UU. So true disclosure would require that the reader be told that I have bailed out. I guess I can take comfort in knowing that only about 7 people will ever read it.