I know this puzzle has holes in it, yet I never throw it out. I like its scene, the kind of place you might escape to in a novel. I enjoy the safe and secure process. But I also value the reminder that our planet is marred, that this desire for a stress-free ordering of a perfect and predictable picture has its place as an amusement or diversion but is not part and parcel of this world, already redeemed but paradoxically not yet.
We never ask for disappointment, do we? It shows up uninvited like grumpy Aunt Lurleen, unexpected as a canker sore, as unwelcome as salt in a wound. It does not politely remove its hat upon entering our world, nor does it apologize. Disappointment never apologizes. Forgoing customary greetings, it barges in and sets to flooding the place. So what of it, Eric? Big deal. Grow up. Be an adult. Though indeed responses, they avoid the question: What do we do with all the disappointment? Accept it? Get on with life? Love it? Hide from it? Pull it close? Push it away? Drown in it? Grieve? Take joy in it? Capitulate?
Indeed, I knew all about the Herdmans; I lived across the street from a real live set of them, and as we read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, fear started to fade and intrigue began to grow. This was the first time I rooted for the alleged bad guy.
Driving home in the rain a couple of weeks ago, the red lights from the new Mexican restaurant mixed with the green traffic lights, creating a slick of holiday color. Instead of a wet mess, it felt like a gift, a cacophony of color for my damp drive home. I wondered if I would have seen it if I hadn’t been paying attention, keeping my eyes peeled for moments of wonder.
Who am I to say how or when God communicates, or what a DJ has to do with the divine? But maybe this is the way of God, to hover over the surface of the waters, to speak something new into being. To speak something new when all is dark and cold, something that will penetrate the opaque substance of hull or hill or heart.