Weeds: Sometimes you need a letter to say it all

Dear God,

How are you? I am fine. Well, I have this balky knee. Guess I’m getting older, you know what I mean. Wait, you’re God. You don’t know what I mean. I mean, you know what I mean, because you know everything. But you don’t have balky knees. You’re eternal.

Eternal. Sweet! I suppose being eternal does come with its own set of problems, though.

I thought of you the other day when I flipped open a calendar, and said to myself, “Here we go, the Year of our Lord 2014.” I was going to say a small prayer. Then I thought, what the heck, why not write a letter.

Remember letters? I used to like writing them: old school, pen and paper. Somewhere in the basement are letters my mom saved that I sent home from college. Since then, about the only letters I’ve written have been a couple letters to the editor. Not much sentiment there.

I do try to stay in touch with you. Most days, I send off a few short prayers. Nowadays we call these “tweets.” I know, I know, most of my prayer-tweets are asking for something. I’ll try to mix in a little more thanksgiving in the new year. BTW, if you ever need a twitter handle, you should go with @heaven! You don’t have to thank me.

On your end, I know you’re always trying to stay in touch with me. You’re faithful in that way. But I don’t spend the time I should with the Bible. And I don’t always see you in people around me. Sometimes you need to knock me across the head with a “HERE I AM!” Like when I was outside at dusk last fall and happened to be looking up at an auger I was working on. Right then a spectacular shooting star streaked above our farm from one end of the sky to the other. Wow, God, you can still bring it.

Anyway, like I said, I’m doing fine. I got the knee; Pam’s got a few balky parts, too. We do have these three beautiful children, and we can’t thank you enough for them. No, God, I mean that literally. There IS no way we can thank you enough for them.

We all have our burdens here on Earth. $4.00 corn? I’ll get by. $3.00 corn? Eh. Third miserable season in a row for the Twins? I know that, “into each life some rain must fall,” but this is a downpour. I’m happy for those Pirate fans who had their first winning season in twenty years. But did they have to do it with our guy Francisco Liriano? Sometimes, God, you’ve got a real sense of humor. Yeah, real funny.

I got through the holidays in one piece. I tried to remember the “Holy Day” in the middle of the “holidays.” I suppose 2,000 years is a blink to you, but it’s a long time to us here. The story of the Son’s birth still amazes. For us Christians, there comes a quiet moment somewhere in all the celebrating where go to Bethlehem in our mind and bow our head as we come alongside the manger.

You’d think those billion or so of us believers could transform the world touched by the Christmas story. Well, God, its a couple weeks later, and I’m not particularly transformed. Still the same slack-kneed sinner.

Same ol’ me. Same ol’ Earth. Same ol’ problems. There are something like 30 armed conflicts going on right now on our planet. That’s as horrible as it is astounding. That’s 30 places where guns and bombs are part of life, where children are losing parents.

A couple weeks ago I was at a bar in town when a fight broke out. If we can’t even sit around and drink a beer without somebody wanting to hit someone else, how can we expect our leaders to behave better? I’m sure the saddest part for you God is that so much of the fighting is in “your name.” That’s got to sting.

Speaking of the Earth, not so good news on that front either. By some measures, we are really messing up the home planet. Only you know when the Second Coming is, so we’d best make plans to hang out here for a while. Someday I might have grandkids, maybe great-great-great-grandkids. I want them to have clean water and air and healthy soil.

There are seven billion of us sharing this place now. I’ll try to use a little less of everything in the year ahead. I’ll do my best on this piece of land I farm. It’s complicated, since I have to help feed those seven billion.

A lot of stuff is complicated, God. You didn’t give me a very big brain to figure it all out. There’s stuff I make my best guess at every day: how to raise my kids, how much tillage to use.

Then there are the big questions: where do I come from, what am I doing here, where am I going? These are the questions that make me feel like I do when I look up on a clear winter night and see a million stars. I realize that there is a whole lot more that I don’t know than I do. I tell myself that there will be a day I will be in your presence and will get all my questions answered. More likely, I’ll realize that I haven’t even been asking the right questions.

I suppose you were serious about that, “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless” stuff. I’ll try to step it up a notch there, too. For now, God, I’ll keep on keepin’ on.