Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Did Jesus fart?

I like to attempt satire. But. I suspect that my productions unmask my bitter side (see previous post). And worse, I think my attempts reveal more about my own jealousies and insecurities than they "seek to expose and ridicule the status quo with a desire to reform" as I used to explain it to my high schoolers. Satire is hard to teach. Even harder to write.

Alas, here's an attempt at another genre in which I like to dabble: (hopefully) humorous non-fiction.

Consumption--with life's trials and also of its bounty--often distracts me from gratitude, especially the act of it, i.e. prayer. Setting routines can be helpful, before eating, before sleeping, in hospitals, etc. I have tried to talk to my kids about God and faith and living a life of thanks, but the conversations often end up sounding something like this:

One son asks, "Do you think Jesus farted?"
The other son firmly replies without a doubt that "No. He probably pooped, but he definitely didn't fart."

Recently, my sister visited us (with four boys under the age of five in tow, well, one is technically 32). The chaos that ensued was earplug worthy, a technique that both my nine-year old and I practiced.
The moments of pleasure and relaxed conversation were snatched throughout the day and late into the night (while denying the cost to be paid in the early a.m.)...

So, tired parents, crabby kids, and, well, normal two-year olds sitting around the dinner table on the fourth night of the visit did not feel like an apt time to begin teaching about the importance and value of prayer and thankfulness.

But I do believe in a God that sneaks in despite my best efforts of ignoring him. It was after we sat down to eat when someone started to pray--I don't even remember who--and a few words of blessing and thanks were offered.

And then, perhaps what some may consider irreverence (but what I justify and perpetuate as a welcome departure from legalistic obedience to a seemingly old and crabby God) is our family habit of praying with our eyes open, as if we're having a real conversation...or maybe it was the sense of freedom and comfort we had with each other (my sister and I did sleep in the same bed throughout our entire childhood), or maybe it was the fresh Canadian air... whatever the precipitating reasons, the table erupted: The kids, unprompted, started yelling out random things they were thankful for:

"Waterfalls!" one shouted and giggled...
"Swimming!" ya, ya, lots of agreement...
"Beans!" more giggles...

It went on. And on. And on.

There was a palpable presence of God. I envisioned him smiling at us as we enjoyed him, each other, and the ease of living in a world where we can go on vacations and eat lots and whine about our first-world problems while drinking wine. I believe in a God that gets that too, who knows that regardless of the world in which we've been placed, there's always a barrier...
Until the children remind us and poke holes in it.

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