As much as this may come as a shock, we were without internet service for over a day and a half this week. That’s not easy to believe in this day and age. How does an internet service provider manage to be that incompetent in serving customers living in a suburb of the American capital city?
Clearly, it’s easier than one might think. We’ve successfully avoided this particular carrier in other parts of the country where there is access to the old Bell System carriers which have a history of providing good service. As the saying goes, things happen.
We were cut off from the internet. For this news hound, that could feel crippling. A friend told me early this morning about a story back in Boston that surprised me. Someone drove into the harbor. It reminded me of many similar tragedies. Mostly those involving people who had jumped off bridges into the Charles or Mystic Rivers or rivers in other places I have lived. Drowned themselves in lakes, rivers or harbors.
They were cut off in an entirely different way.
Something happened in their lives that their spiritual light went out. Their God light. That golden light that guides us through situations where we thought our world would end. But it didn’t. There are times when people take desperate measures, including ending their lives. We can’t always see what others see.
There are times in countless humans lives when we felt completely unloved, hopeless, without purpose. When there was simply no excuse at all for us to be alive. To continue wasting our time in what appeared to be a miserable existence. What reason was there for us to live?
More than anything else, who was it that went deep inside our souls and turned all of that upside down?
Like the cake, we went from being the pineapple in the bottom of the pan that we had forgotten existed to the sweetness adorning the top of the cake.
It’s not the world’s cake. It’s not your cake. It’s God’s cake. We’re the sweet treat on top of God’s cake.
God is not some crazy internet service.
God doesn’t stop. The Force of God is a force that we think we can push away. We think we can control it. That’s when everything in our lives gets turned upside down. Something comes along in our lives to remind us what a remarkably silly thought that is.
God cannot be turned off.
Far off US Highway 550 in Northwest New Mexico is one of the great treasures of the world. Cared for by the federal government, in the middle of the Navajo nation, lies Chaco Canyon. It is deep within Chaco Cultural National Historical Park.
The safest way to get there is in a four-wheel vehicle, preferably a truck with great suspension and tires. The dirt road is full of pot holes. Big ones. All of that bone shattering drive is worth what is waiting to be experienced once the vehicle has pulled up to the parking area at Chaco Canyon.
It is now hundreds of years since the Anasazi ancestors of the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo tribes left the canyon. The canyon remains full to overflowing with human life. Not the peoples who walked the mesas on either side of the canyon hundreds of years ago. Nor those who lived in what remains of the cities of the canyon, who worshipped in the kivas and planted the Three Sisters and Little Brother. (The Three sisters are corn, beans and squash. The Little Brother is chili pepper.) Not the people who created the magnificent petroglyphs which, like those spread around the Southwest, adorn the canyon walls.
Here I saw spirits of the ancient ones. Those who came long before the Anasazi. Just as I did walking along beaches in North America and Europe, driving across the plains of Montana and Wyoming, in a train rumbling through Utah, standing on San Francisco’s Nob Hill, New Orleans’ French Quarter and the marshes and mountains of the American South. In their spiritual richness those places are no different from the Midwestern corn and cow fields where I grew up.
In any of those places I could have been cut off from that Force that turned me into a spiritual upside-down cake. What stood in my way is that God’s bigger than me. Not in a human sense, but in a more subtle way.
God is listening to the wind and hearing orchestras play.
God is feeling cut off from the world one minute and the next minute coming to the realization that we’re in the belly of the beast. We are in the midst of the very life of life.
The pineapple on the cake is looking at the calendar and realizing that over the next two weeks our world celebrates Passover, Western and Eastern Easter, and the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr. If you can’t find a reason in all of those feasts to celebrate, make up your own.
We are not cut off from God or grace.
We’re at the feast.