If You Would Give Me God…

Maple LeafIf you would give me God,
do not give me marble spires that point above
and do not give me sonorous words that call me to another world.
Give me the sugar maple in my yard that lost a limb last spring
and now is bare but for a few dry leaves,
and give me the racket of the crows who complain from the nearby woods.

Do not give me timeless scriptures
so that I may pore over them in search of holy secrets.
Give me the infant’s first “Momma” or “Dadda.”
(If any words are more perfect, let me know.)
Give me the story of your pain and your joy,
and I will give you mine so that we can be true friends.

Do not give me streets of gold even if they are walked by glowing angels.
Give me the asphalt by my house
where Don slowly makes his way with his walker to steady him,
and his gentle daughter as company;
where Hank drives daily to have coffee with his fellow retirees
or to visit an ailing friend only slightly more frail than he.

And do not show me to God’s house filled with all his own,
but show me the crooked house with mom and dad and child in front,
drawn in crayon by a tender architect;
and show me the clutch of family on my deck for a summer barbeque.

If you would give me God,
do not put me in that place where all the purified may live,
forever separate from the lost.
Give me the place I live right now,
where my eye for wrong, so readily cast on another,
seems often deflected back to me
where it finds a little cleaning to be done.
Give me this world where the crowd of I and others becomes we,
and we are is so pressed together
that we must live and learn as one—or perish.

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If You Would Give Me God… — 13 Comments

  1. “Where the crowd of I and others becomes we,”
    evocative……. hopefully
    best line I’ve read in a long time!

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