Friday, April 07, 2006

All We Know of Heaven


Behind me in this picture is the great HBO show Six Feet Under (Nate and Brenda mid-argument to be exact, Nate already being dead. Perhaps the most disturbing element of the show is not the death part, but the fact that you can still have the same tedious arguments with dead people as you can with the living). I was so so sad to see the end of this show, but what can you do? It's a show about a funeral home -- it sort of has to end.

When I was in junior high school, I went a storefront church with a pastor named Brother Buddy. He had clearly hoped to be an old-time religious Baptist preacher, like Billy Sunday or Billy Graham, but he was only a Buddy and his preaching wasn't thrilling and the church was hot as the hell he preached about. He had one sermon, the story about Nicodemus asking if he had to go back into his mother's womb to be born again. It wasn't a great sermon and it always lasted forever. The one time that Brother Buddy did achieve the kind of preaching power that he wanted was when you'd be in some mundane conversation and he'd look over and say, If you died today, would you be right with the Lord? You could see into his soul then, a scary soul that had been saved from a life of hell-raising and alcohol and even his cheap clothes seemed as if they'd been made by Armani, which is to say perfect for the moment, transformed or washed in the blood or whatever we used to say in those distant days. Last I heard, Brother Buddy became an undertaker and perhaps he asks the corpses the same question, and now he can stare into their eyes all he wants to see if they're hiding anything.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Cast a merciful glance upon those who are suffering, struggling against difficulties, with their lips constantly pressed against life's bitter cup." Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Life's Bitter Cup
1 part Envy vodka
1 part Schweppes tonic
splash of lime juice

Served chilled and garnished with lime.

Benedictions and Maledictions

First appeared in Quercus Review:

All We Know of Heaven

When you were here, it seemed enough.
Now are the days when every day is a death,
a reminder of all that is lost to us forever,
the black lights of grief, the punches that
did not telegraph themselves. Love breaks
your heart and is still not content. This is
all we know of heaven, that what we have
is never enough, that it has to be enough.

1 comment:

John said...

Dear Michelle, another inspiring entry from my favorite Christian (aside from the Bible saints, of course). You know, I thought of being a Priest once. Does that give me any points?

Standing offer -- drinks at Tom's any weekend night. I could send a driver if you'd like a lift. Heaven knows we don't want to be driving around our fair city under the influence.