Thursday, November 22, 2012

Prayers and Pie

My little six-year old nephew has quite the air of "sass" about him already. I'm fairly certain that it's one of the prerequisites for being born into our family. One of the many things out of his mouth today were the words "prayers and pie, OMG." Yes, he even said it in an almost perfect "Paula Deen" tone. He was mocking last night's church service. I didn't go this year. I haven't been in awhile. But I went once. It was either when I came back for a holiday visit or when I first moved back to town. I can't remember exactly, but my mom's church has "free" pie in the fellowship hall after the Thanksgiving eve service. Whatever you like, it's there for grabs. Pumpkin, apple, cherry, chocolate, even banana creme. The canvas of life is kind of like that. Here's all the flavors. Try one. Try one more. Keep sampling until you find the one that you love. And it doesn't matter what your neighbor chooses -even if it's the one you can't stand. You're all there, eating a bunch of fillings spread over the same kind of crusts. You laugh, you talk, you discover somebody new. Then you leave, full and satisfied. Your heart is light, your stomach heavy, and the sweetness of what's good is still lingering in between your teeth and on the sides of your mouth. You walk out into the parking lot. The air is cold and dry. You watch for patches of ice as you walk to the warm shelter of your car. Against a black sheet of sky hangs a few stars. You look, you smile inside, and you wonder. Will all the prayers and hopes in your heart and those spoken out loud inside a dimly lit sanctuary be listened to? Are those set of ears out there, hidden behind the twinkling lights or have they already recorded what you said? The ignition fires up the whir of the engine. You rub your hands together, shiver a little, and turn the heat dial as far right as it will go. Outside the windows are a few parking lot lights and old, fancy homes that were probably considered estates in their heydays. Back when the town was young and further west was just a bunch of untouched fields full of grass and open possibilities. The evergreens are there. They're always there. A few of them are lit up with the lights of Christmas. As if to say that the twinkling lights exist down here, too. You look around. This is your life. Everything is still here. Everything as you've always known it. Most of who you know is still here, too. The radio starts playing and the two boys in the back begin to sing along. You smile and close your eyes. This is the flavor that you keep coming back to. The one that you love. The voice that says "I hear."

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