rhetorical questions

While I sleep Calvin seizes, both for real and in my dreams. After a grand mal at two o'clock this morning, I dreamt of him seizing and chewing the inside of his cheek until it was like a wad of ground beef. Ninety minutes later, I woke up to him seizing again. My angst around his suffering made me think of a recent conversation.

Earlier this week I met up with a woman, perhaps a new friend, who not long ago arrived on my porch sharing information about Jehovah's Witnesses. During that visit, I had let her in to meet Calvin. This time, we sat across from each other at a bakery, snowflakes beginning to fall outdoors.

Over coffee, and while I nibbled a blueberry muffin, we discussed religion, science, God, Adam and Eve, evolution, heaven, hell, mankind, sex education, eternal life. I spoke of Calvin, and of his rough beginning. I asked her, in all seriousness, how she thought Noah had managed to collect Arctic animals such as polar bears, plus every living species of insect and animal—indeed multiple millions—into a 500-foot-long vessel, and then handle the rapid and exponential procreation of vermin and others, the colossal amount of shit they'd produce during a forty-day deluge, not to mention how he'd feed them. Without dismissing the existence of Noah, his ark or a major flood, I characterized the account and others in the Bible as folklore—stories written by man to help explain the unexplainable and perhaps to invoke the notion of God's wrath to maintain societal order.

Our conversation proved fascinating and respectful. I told her that I wasn't looking for answers to or explanations for life's messy situations, explaining my belief that nature simply runs its course. Though I don't entirely rule out the possibility of some kind of a divine force or creator, I don't believe in hell or Satan or angels, nor that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, though he sounds like someone I could hang with. After referencing other stories in Genesis, she described the Book of Revelations, saying God would one day make Calvin whole, make him into the normal boy I pined for in my most recent post.

Later, while taking a shower, I wondered what justification might be given as to why God would be waiting to make kids like Calvin healthy and whole. Why prolong Earth's miseries? I mean, if a merciful God exists, what's the holdup? Release the aid! We're fighting all kinds of battles down here! What has this alleged God got to prove or gain from withholding relief? He's not up for re-election. Or is this all some sick experiment? And as I watched the water spiral down the drain, I remembered what another friend had written to me recently:

If you could have seen the Florida skies at daybreak this morning, it would have given you pause to think about a Creator ... a mackerel sky that the sun lit up bright orange against a cerulean blue background. “The heavens declare the glory of the Lord, the skies proclaim the work of His hands ...”  (Psalm 19) 

As an integral part of this immense universe, I've seen a thousand blazing skies which astound and move me deeply. As I toweled myself off, I wondered how the majesty of nature's beauty is often declared as evidence of a divine creator, but the horrors of the world—famine, war, genocide, disease, poverty—despite infinite prayers calling for mercy, are not convincing proof of God's neglect or lack of presence.

Every day the impeachment trial, which I've been listening to intently, begins with the Senate chaplain's opening prayer. Monday, the chaplain prayed that God would lead the senators to do His will. What does that even mean? Will any outcome be proof of God's will? Is it God's will that children like Calvin suffer? Does God take sides in war and basketball? What makes one religion righteous and another counterfeit?

But I'm not looking for answers to these questions. They are rhetorical. I know what I believe in my heart, brain, bones and, if I have one, my soul. The sun rises and sets in infinite, glorious colors. The earth is quaking, drowning, burning as we speak. Human beings of all races and religions are good people just trying to survive. Some folks for whatever reason turn out to be corrupt, deceitful and threatening. Oceans and night skies glimmer endlessly. Nature can be unforgiving. Children are virtuous. Hatred is learned. Life is hard. People suffer needlessly. Prayers go unanswered. While I sleep, Calvin seizes. I'm not worthy of his misery.

Photo by Michael Kolster, 2015


  1. Christy, I so miss spending time with you with your relentless dedication to what is.
    Thank you.

  2. What a great post Christy! I've been watching a 6-part German/French (Arte) documentary on the 30-years war, which wasn't really a war at all, so much as a prolonged raping, burning and pillaging by mercenaries that essentially destroyed northern Europe. All in the name of religion. AT the same time I've been following the whole head-spinning insanity of the impeachment process, often staying up very late at night here in Lille to watch testimony and proceedings. And I have to say that of all the mind-boggling hypocrisy of the senate trial the part that really galled me the most was the sermon. Will of God my arse!