Faith has me pinned again. Every couple of years we repeat our
sad wrestling match, with faith and I locking arms for a few months and
each eager to pin the other's back to the concrete gym floor. We don't use
mats. Mats are for pussies.
The husband and I have decided that there are only two ways that our niblet
could ever rebel in a way that would actually shock us. Our jaws would
clench if she ever decided to become a Baptist and sport a WWJD bracelet
whilst trying to convert all of her friends and relations. Equally grinding
would be if she decided to pursue musical theatre. One can only endure so
many choruses of "Tomorrow" and the hub and I have had our fill, given the
number of years we've both logged backstage. One more bar of "Hard-
Life" and our heads might, quite literally, pop.
My mother, lately, has taken to saying "Everything happens according to God's plan" every time a family member exercises their free will and acts against what she had envisioned. While I am thrilled by this new phase in our relationship -- she is now able to let once-infuriating pass with only a martyr's sigh -- I find it troubling. Everything is now part of this so- called plan, from the mauling death of one of her dogs (don't ask) to the success of my step-father's garden to the war in Iraq. It's all part of the plan, she says, and rolls over again, without taking any action or acknowledging her complicity. Still, she seems so much more mellow than she has in years past that I find it too hard to examine this gift horse too closely. But it is not a path I'd willingly choose for me and mine, this suspension of responsibility in the name of God.
What brought me to the on-deck circle of this wrestling match is the undeniable fact that we just bombed the crap out of another country, whose God, conveniently, isn't exactly like ours. Is this all God's will? And, if so, which one?
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There's an image I can't shake. Since this war started, every time I stick my head in the nursery to check on the baby, I have to restrain myself from clambering into the crib with her, wrapping my body womb-like around hers, in some misguided effort to protect her from the world and comfort my own restless conscience while both of us are safe within the bars of her bed. And I picture an Iraqi woman wrapped around her child in some rock-hewn bunker somewhere, protecting her not from illusory pangs but from metal and fire. I can't find God here or faith or peace or redemption. This is what God-fearing politicians do -- and it makes it hard to want to share in their delusions.
Another image, however, always follows on the heels of this one. A few
years ago, I took a day trip down to San Antonio with a good friend. She
was gung-ho on seeing all of the sites, of marching from the Alamo down the
mission trail under a blazing summer sun. I was crabby, hot and tired and
generally surly, unwilling to haul my lazy ass up and down a trail when the
temperature in the 100s and the sky was cloudless. So we agreed upon a
compromise. I would give the grumpiness a rest if she would let us drive in
air-conditioned comfort to a few missions, then enjoy icy margaritas on a
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