I was made to putter, and do small things. Big issues confuse me. Big plans scare me. I need quiet ideas and time alone. I don't like being around angry people anymore. I can't correct everybody and everything. I'm wrong about too much myself. I want to make sure I never do things that will make me cringe with guilt about later. I have too many of those pangs popping up for no good reason as it is, out of the blue.
Looking back, I find there are quite a lot of people with whom I ended up on the shit list. I'm sure there are good reasons for that, but I'm suspicious that I ended up on some lists because I wouldn't conform or be the underestimated person they thought I should be. But I don't want to be on anybody's shit list anymore. It's true that, little by little, people I've had disagreements with are either dying, or their sons have become junkies, or some other karma has taken them down. But that's not because of justice. It's just because their luck was bad. In a minute I could have ended up the same. We all die. All our sons become junkies.
I'm having a small crisis of faith. I still think there's a "God," but I have no idea what it is. I don't believe there is any such thing as a "holy book." Not from any faith. I find it odd that people get more upset that their book is burned than their children are slaughtered. I am suspicious of any human who tells me God gave him a book. I think they are deluded. And it doesn't matter if it is a Christian delusion or a Muslim one. I can't keep suspending this disbelief. And the Catholic church bulletins I make every week for a living are particularly insulting. St. Olaf pray for us. It's bullshit.
And yet I want to believe there is some kind of justice. Like God is that thing that knows you aren't guilty, or knows what the real story was - or what your story was. And you can count on that. Somebody's on your side. Like when I was a little boy, and I was in the schoolyard, and the big kid had been teasing and pushing around that little girl until she was in tears. And I walked up to him and socked him in the chin and - looking up at him - told him to knock it off. And he ran to the nun who punished me, and wouldn't hear my side, and had him tell my parents, who also wouldn't listen. That's when it started you know. Radical politics, I mean. I was in second grade and discovered that grown-ups can be wrong. Therefore that authority can be wrong. Therefore who are they crappin'? The rest was the 60's. What do you expect?
It took me 40 years to figure that out; this sense of justice, which is a good cover to hide how selfish I really am. Selfish and sometimes pretty useless. You'd be surprised how quiet I can be in a crowd. A good party going on, and I keep quiet because the chances are pretty good I'll be the one saying the one stupid thing. So I sit there until something gets me angry. Then I make a plan. Devious. Sometimes petty. Sometimes I sound so full of myself I make myself sick. But I know it didn't start that way, in my head.
I want to make our kitchen garden bigger. I want to go back and take more cooking lessons. Go to Quaker meeting on Sunday and find a quiet center and never miss a Sunday no matter what God actually turns out to be. I wasn't made for big noises. Large groups. 4 is comfortable, 6 is the boundary. I orchestrate and shrink from the music. No one wants to stay up until 4 and just talk. Everybody expects something witty or something.
But I was made to putter. And do small things.