Monday, January 02, 2006


The Door Won't Stay Locked

You walk into the library. Waiting on the shelves are books, all innocent and silent. If the powers-that-be had any idea what they were doing, they'd kill them all, burn the building and salt the ashes. Books. You can't trust them at all. You think you have life figured out and then some damned book opens its pages and simply blows your careful constructions to flinders, gone on the wind, and now what?

There it sits. Inviting cover. "BRADBURY" is at the top. Is he still alive? My high-school teacher gave me one of his books, and it was pretty ratty looking even then. 1968 or some nearly impossible year like that. "The Cat's Pajamas." How can you resist? The cover is a polychrome melange of abstracted cats--how can a cat look anything but abstracted?--and of course you pick it up. No questions asked. You might as well try to resist a basket of kittens. And the Holy Spirit chuckles, waiting. Time bomb.

It explodes on page 88: "The secret lay not in Bess or William, but in love itself. Love was always the reason for work, for enthusiasm."

You'd think a simple science fiction book would be proof against God's manipulations. But then, Jesus is the Word, and His words are everywhere. He did write the book on love. He is the god of the believable, and his story is unbelievable but true.

What happens to life when love goes away? Life soon follows its heels. I used to have a sort of balance on this. Love happened, or it didn't, and I looked at it sideways and got along. I could dip into the fountain occasionally and get out before too much stuck to me. Then Love Himself came and picked me up, stared me in the face, and the balance went out the window. I've been trying to hide ever since, digging the hole ever deeper as God pursues.

What happens when you drive love out of your life? Life become drudgery. I have no substitute. I know what the fakes are; I'm a good observer and won't fall for the tricks of sex or busyness or the rest of it. Me alone against the universe, straight up, but God doesn't quit. Close one door, he finds a crack. Put up an umbrella, he becomes a gas to scent the air.

It's odd. I know where life comes from, and I shield myself against it. I want nothing to do with love, and am prepared to throw everything away in preference to acknowledging love, or learning about it. It upsets the balance, makes life complicated. Take it away. Put me back in that cold desert. Send me back to Egypt, please.

Lies are impossible to one who lives with the Holy Spirit. The cost of maintaining a lie is very great. Most of my energy goes to ignoring God's guidance, ignoring his rain of love into my life. He dissolves the shell, I add to it from underneath and don't care much about how cramped it gets under the rock.

I know it's true. I can feel it. Love is the core of life. Love is why God does what he does; the spark of his love drives the Universe. The alternative is death of one kind or another. Moving, or stiff. "Love is the reason for work," Bradbury writes. I have no reason for anything. Life just goes on, God preserving me for his own reasons. He seems to think I can learn this. I wonder where the next bomb is.

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