There’s something in drinking with friends

Canto IX: Of Prophet-Poets
March 19, 2007
Route #10
March 24, 2007

We went about circling questions and sipping the occasional hot chocolate. “In those days,” he mused, “I remember the answers were easy to come by. God was a Rubix cube, but never too far from completion. A new question arose, the patterns of life were confused, and we set about piecing together an answer.” It was fun. And who would get tired of questioning, or the froth of a half-melted cap of whipped cream?

But the positions were always in flux, and growing older diluted the pleasure of answers. Something had to secure our passions, and as puzzles became too much for a quick smattering of thoughts, we aroused ourselves on the questions alone. Success was a bustling cohort of “what if” and “maybe” conjectures. As sterile as our beloved whipped cream, and just as full of hot air, they melted with time and unmerciful foundations.

God is in everything, or so was the premise for those conversations. I wondered in scheming if our race to the end, the scavenger hunt for belief, was far from the respectable way. What if (with cream still cold and affirmed) the sentient, appreciative human were never much interested in moving at all? If questions detained them and never dissolved, would life be so terrible? What, after all, is the present happiness but knowing God swims in my warm cup of coffee? The barista, devoted to quality, mulls over the buttons and spouts on machines. They jiggle the foam, meticulously stir, brew coffee for the perfect contingent of seconds – and at last, sitting in a painting of color and aromatic seduction, it comes to my table. And then, how ironic, but God is disrupted enough for the adoration of a sensual café latte.

So I come to understand that the words I utter in absolute faith and due appreciation are without much form. At mass, they say, “Christ had died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” I think, however, a correction is in order: “Christ had died. Christ is risen. Christ does come again.” What is a creative success (such as coffee) in the hands of a well-intentioned, gifted, and sentient human being but Christ in a triumphant return to the world? And who had to ask questions to get there? There was nowhere to go. Indeed, I think I have wandered in circles and played with the same Rubix cube all my life; to push questions toward anywhere is to abandon a somewhere. And somewhere in anywhere is always where we should be.

Back to the froth and melted whipped cream. Mix it in with the dirty hot chocolate, the steaming new latte. Admire the handiwork God has set forth in His creatures. And when, sitting down to enjoy a casual meal, looking at homework half-done, or smiling at a newly-repaired bicycle wheel, I’ll glance at the great smile He engendered. If half mine in accomplishment, all His in pride, as the Father rejoices in fine understanding.

I’ve nowhere to go and life to do. How glorious! And off to enjoy a cold beer.

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