Friday, July 16, 2004

Getting There

A little while ago, I was sitting outside reading and watching the ducks take their naps under the tree, when a neighbor three doors down came running out on his deck, waving his arms in the air and yelling, "Rahhh!"

The geese who had been standing serenely along the edge of the pond on his property took a few steps toward the lake but appeared not to take him seriously. He stood at the top of the steps and fumed. I'd never seen him before and I stifled a laugh as I saw him move his arms and take a fast, angry drag off a cigarette. He looked like a cousin of Danny DeVito's, dressed in a white sleeveless shirt and blue shorts. He stomped around on his deck and said, "Rah!" a couple of times with less passion and then just stood there by the railing and glared.

I went back to reading my book, not wanting to embarrass him in case he looked over at me, and after a few minutes I looked up again. To my surprise, he had pulled a chair close to the railing and was sitting, leaning back, looking out over the pond. Soon he got up, went inside, and came back out with a book. He returned to his chair and seemed ready to enjoy the remainder of the morning. The geese still stood in the same spot, unperturbed, peaceful.

Although I'd first felt the man's outburst was silly, I began to wonder whether God had another motive going on behind the scenes. Perhaps our anger, our frustration, our outrage sometimes propels us into places where we find clarity, clearness, peace. Maybe we launch out onto our decks to rage against an injustice and find that the day is blessing us with light and cool breezes and beauty. In any case, perhaps even our moments of greatest intolerance have a purpose in bringing us closer to God's Grace. That, it seems to me, would be just like him.

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