Monday, March 21, 2005


The Junkyard Dog vs. God

Ladeez 'n Gennulmen, we're proud to preezent to you the Fiiiight... uv... THEEEEE DECADE! In this kennel, uh, I mean corner, sorry, the Junkyard Dog! Undefeated. Renowned (how d'ya like that word?) for NEVER GIVING UP! Back this guy into a corner and LOOK OUT!

In the other corner, we have (Stan, iz this right?) (Yeah, man, just say it.) Um, over there is God. (Don't look like much, duzzee?) (I dunno. Sezzee made the univuhse.)

The crowd is silent. The Junkyard Dog just sits there. He's well-trained, never to make the first move. God gets up and moves forward.

There's an invisible line somewhere in the ring. Oh, yes, I'm very familiar with it. I know it's there, but never quite where. Only when I cross it.

God keeps moving, gently, slowly. He crosses the line and the Junkyard Dog takes off, teeth bared, dedicated to only one task: drive the danger away. It doesn't matter what the danger's name is, or what it looks like. If it crosses the line it's dangerous. He gathers speed, aims for the throat, leaps, and passes right through. God moves on, unaffected.

Junkie lands. He has a good head of steam going but no target. Anger gets the better of him as he spots me, standing on the sideline. His eyes flare red. This is another way to solve the problem: keep peace by killing the desire to change. He changes course and leaps, knowing only that something must be done.

The floor begins to tilt under me as the leaping mad creature of my mind closes in. It's all very familiar, and then it stops. Junkie's in mid-air, my feet grip the greased, slanting floor, and suddenly a lot of things become very clear.

Self-destruction. I can't count the number of times I've had good things start in my life and then watched them go, uncontrollably, down the drain. I leave fingerprints on the ground as I slide backward, back into the deep dark trench I clawed my way out of. That lesson gets repeated every time I think I've found a new way to live out from under the clamp of self-censorship Year after year, the same story. It's better to just stay in the trench, but that comes to a dead end.

Hope is the real enemy. It's always fake. But it won't stay down; it's almost as persistent as the censor. Almost. Hope never wins. Forget it. Years of psychoanalysis just taught the Junkyard Dog better ways to defend himself and therefore me. What's good for him is good for me, obviously. It's true, if by "good" is meant "untroubled." Could there be more to life, though? I'll apparently never find out.

God knocked on the door. If he'd have knocked very hard he would have not only knocked it off its hinges but brought the rest of the place down.
"You want the place? Sure. Go ahead. I don't care any more. Besides, you're probably just another false hope dressed in fancy words by a gifted preacher"

The church went away, the friends went away, nobody asked questions. God stayed put, never leaving me alone, always suggesting, always assuming that nothing was impossible. The very audacity was a constant surprise. "I gave up long ago. Don't you know better?" Apparently he didn't; he'd wait and then poke a gentle finger into the works.

And the Junkyard Dog would come out screaming. "Get out of here! Go away! Leave me the hell alone! I can see where you're headed, and I don't want it." God would back off for a time, and life would become very, very familiar. Darkness looks pretty much the same no matter where you are.

God is, however, a supreme artist in the realm of changing souls. He'd wait, then move and take just a bit more territory. The Junkyard Dog can be caught napping. When he wakes up I pay the price and the long slide starts again, but God wouldn't let me slide.

Junkyard Dogs know no reason. Nothing God did was unreasonable but that didn't matter. Junkie had his orders and he'd take the whole place down before he'd give up. I wanted to kill him but never could. I wanted God to stay away, leave sleeping dogs lie, but that's not his way. Wholeness was his goal. He didn't have to live with the consequences as I did, but on the other hand I had little choice. I knew where the other road led.

I've been very tired of late. Just plain worn out. Drag myself to work, drag myself home, don't answer the phone, just turn things off and go to bed. And then yesterday I had a bottle of Chimay and that pretty well took care of the afternoon. That's when the little scenario described above took place: Junkyard Dog gets upset, finally tries to take God out, is outmaneuvered and then finally, after all these years of being carefully hidden, shows his true nature by turning on me.

Then the Holy Spirit freezes the whole tableau. Damn. Ol' Junkyard has been ruling the roost around here and is responsible for limitations whose origins are lost in time but that have severely restricted what I can do. All those years wasted. By defending myself so closely and thoroughly I've aided my own depression. It's habit forming, too: the safety of the cage.

God isn't interested in killing off the defenses. I don't know what's on his mind. I'm still stunned. Can his love extend even to a hated, destruction-mad junkyard dog? Probably so, but then that means entrusting my safety to God. That's a lot like letting a fox guard the henhouse: God has his own ideas about what's right. Well, his judgment is often better than mine, but I still wish I could just wake up and have it all be over with.

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