Thursday, 29 March 2012
God is cropping up everywhere these days.
I thought I had done pretty well negotiating us through Christmas and then co-opting Tinkerbell to add a bit of sparkle. I stopped short of the full Catholic bells and smells for now though Snooks has made it to Mass a few times. I have tried to let God in, so to speak, without getting mired in too much serious theology. I have dodged the Is God a boy or girl? and Why can’t we see Him? issues with answers about the mystery and wonder of it all. And I like that. I want there to be some mystery. He should not think there are answers to everything in life. There aren’t.
So now I am mystified about how the following happened. Snooks and I were taking a moment in the study one morning, having a lounge on the daybed. (The daybed was supposed to be a chaise longue to complete my long held fantasy about writing a great novel in between bouts of opium-induced drifting on some fabulous antique furniture. But the more likely prospect of guests and sleepovers meant the day bed was a more practical buy.) I was having fun pretending we were on a boat in crocodile infested waters when Snooks piped up, “Why is God smiling at us?”
Aw, bless, I thought. What lovely things go on in his head. He just has such a sense of peace and well-being that he feels bathed in the warmth of a deity’s benevolent gaze…..
“Up there,” he says, pointing up to the ceiling.
Oh not this again. Remember the Green Man business in our old place when I sat paralysed with fear about Snooks’ fertility god hallucinations for two hours until the Engineer came home and rescued me?
“Um, where hon?” I asked unconvincingly, not really wanting to hear the answer.
“There up there,” says Snooks standing up on the bed and pointing directly at a book on the very top shelf whose cover carried a photograph of a tanned, grey-bearded man smiling broadly right down at us.
Crikey, what on earth is that, I thought, but did not want to lose this spilt second portal into Snooks’ inner life which I endeavour daily to invade and explore, usually without success. He has very defined borders.
“How do you know that is God?” I asked, a little piqued that someone had clearly given him the whole man-with-a-grey-beard story which I had worked so hard to avoid.
Snooks looked at me astonished.
“It just is,” he said, as if I had asked him how he knew that that was his left foot or how he knew Daddy was Daddy. He obviously thought I was being seriously weird not being able to recognise God when I saw Him. For goodness sake…
So I went with it. At least He was smiling and it was a very nice face.
“Well He must be pleased with us,” I ventured and we left it at that.
That night after Snooks had gone to bed I told the Engineer the story and realised I had not checked the book to find out who God really was.
I returned to our bedroom carrying a copy of 'People of Golden Bay’ by Renee Hollis. It is a photographic record of the rural farming community of Golden Bay, a region north west of Nelson in New Zealand, and the place where the Engineer was born and grew up. The book was a gift from his sister who still lives in the area. On the cover is a photo of a smiling man called Alf Payne, a beef and sheep farmer from Paturau River.
They don't call it God's Own Country for nothing. Perhaps it’s time for a visit.