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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Epiphanies and salt shakers

Sunday, October 7, 2012

One thing I miss about a long commute to work is the epiphanies which came along the way, brain in neutral, thoughts focused on not much at all because you had done this drive every day for ever so how long.

Some clarity comes from that place, of being disengaged.

I remember being 19 years old and driving down a highway when it struck me: Well sure, if you got close enough to a bird to put salt on its tail, you could catch it.

I was five when my parents gave me this magical secret to capturing something wild and beautiful. I totally bought into the concept, spending many happy hours in the backyard, salt shaker in hand.

(I had a lesser moment, some years later, in which I realized that poking at pimples would not cause brain damage. This clarity took raising teenagers of my own, being desperate for some/any response to the plague of 'why not?' -- having to painfully detail the reasoning behind each bit of wisdom offered. That said, 'Because it will cause brain damage,' is a generally efficient strategy.)

Funny thing about the truth, when it arrives, you recognize it immediately. Not in your head, so much as in your being. "Yes, I thought X was the truth, but now I see that it was actually Y." We give ourselves credit though -- "But X and Y look so much alike, they were probably double-first cousins."

In the frame of our conception that God loves "all y'all" -- we also know that he is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. He can do anything. He is everywhere all at once. Today, yesterday, 20 years ago and 10 years from now.

He knows everything. That's one that's hard to grasp, because we feel satiated by intellectualizing and studying a thing until it makes sense. I think the truth is that we probably don't know much. We will know one day, and we will laugh at how much energy we expended on things that never mattered at all.

There's a great freedom in "I know what I will do, I cannot worry about the rest." So little is up to me.

My moment of clarity for the week: God did not both create and condemn us at the same time.

He delighted in creation. It wasn't just the sun and the moon and the stars and the elephant and the gopher and the snail and the wind and rain and ... there was Glorious fun had in those six days.

But God did not, I think, just create Adam and Eve that week, and leave all creation up to the wiles of that danged snake and the temptation of full knowledge.

God created Tracy that week too. And Margie and Tommy and Brooke and Blaine and Margie and Pal and Emma (our puppies), and Joe and Sue and Sarah and Ella, and on and on.

I've lived all these years believing that God created something (me) which was flawed at the outset, which would bring Him great disappointment in the end.

I imagine me, trudging up a great hill, carrying each of the 1,843 bricks (mistakes) I've made along the way.

He did not create me, and simultaneously cast me into the fire and brimstone predicted by the preacher of my youth -- who terrified me into doing a thing called 'coming down front' and 'confessing my sin' when I had so little sin at 12 to confess.

Such a heavy load. When asked, I describe myself brick-by-brick, sin-by-sin.

At the top of the hill, I imagine greeting a God who will ... wait, what? "Oh love, look at all those bricks you've carried to get to me Me."

No, I will greet a God who sees an empty knapsack, has forgotten what was ever in the knapsack, and wonders why there is so much sweat on my brow.

He will note how I loved His people, and how well I have loved Him.

-- Tracy Simmons is a Times-Gazette staff writer. She can be reached at tsimmons@t-g.com.

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Tracy Simmons
Spirited Scribe