Living With the Lord
My sister-in-law, a fundamental Christian,
asked me if I had invited the Lord Jesus Christ
into my home and into my life.
I replied that I had not. She suggested that I do.
So I did. I sent out a general call to the universe
and then turned in. The very next day
the Lord appeared on my doorstep.
Handing me the paper, He accepted my
invitation to come into my home
and my life. He was dusty and sleepy
and seemed disoriented
as if He had come from a long way off.
I led Him to the old nursery, which is out of use
currently. He seemed fine with it and lay down
on the narrow bed, His dusty sandaled feet hanging over,
and went to sleep. He slept for a long time
and then was ravenously hungry.
Since then, the Lord has developed a tremendous
liking for macaroni and cheese and spaghetti,
really anything made with pasta. Like most men,
he eschews salad and vegetables, but can
put away the wine with the best of them.
Fortunately, He has that talent for turning
water into wine—we have jars of it all over the house—
or I'd be buying a lot more two buck chuck.
He likes the bathroom. A lot. Occupies it
frequently. I hear Him splashing away in there,
using up my bubble bath, lotions, salts, and
oils. When I try to talk to Him about His odd habits,
He answers in parables that I don't understand.
But He's generous with the loaves and fishes.
All the children in the neighborhood crowd around Him as
He treats them to ice cream with money from the change jar.
His friends come and sit at His feet in the living room,
so most days, there are thirteen extra for supper.
My husband was annoyed until Mary Magdalene
showed up. He liked her perfuming his feet with her hair
as soon as she finished with the Lord. I gave her a loofah
and some nail clippers, but she disdained them.
They disappeared rather more often than I liked into our bedroom—
Mary Magdalene and the Lord, I mean. My husband stayed
out in the living room with me, watching t.v.
His friends took a liking to t.v. as well. I made popcorn
and went on beer runs.
On Christmas, the Lord was mopey,
like a big teenager who didn't get the MP3 player he was
expecting, though He liked the rainbow socks we gave Him,
with the multi-colored toes. When I was mashing potatoes in the kitchen after
the turkey timer popped, He finally came out with it. Had I made
a cake? "What for?" I asked. He looked at me significantly.
I told him there was fruitcake and a plate of divinity in the cupboard.
He replied with another parable, helping Himself.
After awhile, the Lord said He had to be moving on. He'd been
spending most nights at the park up the street, sitting on
the swings with His friends, or in the shop in the garage. We were surprised
when He showed us what He'd been making. It was an outsized wooden cross
made of oak beams we'd intended to use when we opened up the living room ceiling.
My husband was irked, but what are you going to do, it was already nailed together;
He was dragging it onto the driveway. His clothes were strange—
a loin cloth made of dish towels with my grandmother's embroidered borders,
an old magician's cape of my son's, and a wreath of dusty flowers set
lopsided across his brow. He looked silly. But His friends didn't seem to notice,
the twelve regulars, Mary Magdalene, a couple other women,
one of them weeping and claiming to be His mom, another Mary.
When we asked what was going on,
He said He had a hearing in Municipal Court, before a Magistrate
by the name of Pontius Pilate. I'd never heard of him
but probably, I thought, a substitute JP.
My husband told Him City Hall was two miles away, did they want a ride?
It looked like we'd have to take them in the car and the truck. Not everyone
was getting a seatbelt. But He said they would walk.
So we all helped Him drag the cross down the driveway and hefted it onto his shoulders.
His back was bowed. He started shuffling down the street.
I called after Him, "Don't be ridiculous. We can give you a ride
in the truck. Tie the cross to the bed."
He said His Father required it.
I yelled, "Nonsense. We've all got left-over stuff from childhood.
Get over it. Nobody loves a martyr." He mumbled something like,
"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do," and kept on shuffling,
bearing that cross. I said, "Well, okay, then, suit yourself." We went back inside.
I was thinking, well that's that, then.
But it wasn't quite. Three days later, on a Sunday—
I was hanging the sheets to dry in the sun—
He suddenly appeared next to me in the yard.
Gave me a start, I can tell you.
"Jesus Christ!" I exclaimed, "Where did you come from?"
"I have risen from the dead," He replied.
Not much of a conversation starter—more of a non-sequitur.
There was an aura around Him, and he looked transparent,
which was spooky. He was wearing clean robes,
probably sheets, Egyptian cotton, high thread count,
very white. Mary must have used bleach.
He looked good. Glowing. Maybe she'd bleached Him too.
He had painful-looking wounds in His hands and feet, holes really,
a gash in His side too that He showed me matter-of-factly.
Possibly an accident with the power tools. I told Him He should be careful
with those things, but took Him into the house.
Fixed Him up with hydrogen peroxide and gauze bandages.
He smiled beatifically when I was done, put both hands on my head.
"Do unto others as you have done unto me," he said.
For dinner we had His favorite, mac and cheese, pots of wine
that He provided. For dessert, left-over birthday cake and ice cream
from my husband's birthday. He liked it a lot.
After dinner, He blessed us again, but seemed weary,
and went to bed. When He didn't show up for breakfast,
I went in to check on Him. The bed was made neatly, but He was gone.
Not so much as a sandal thong or hair left behind. It was odd really.
We never saw Him again, but things have gone rather better for us.
We're having a spell of good luck for a change—
like the flat screen t.v. we won at Costco a few weeks ago,
with a year's supply of popcorn and the beverage of our choice.
In His honor, we chose wine.
The next time I saw my sister-in-law, she asked me
again if I'd invited the Lord into my home and my life.
I said I had, but it had been a strange experience, that eventually
He'd left with His friends, bearing a heavy cross
to Municipal Court but had come back briefly three days later
from the dead, only to eat dinner and disappear
from the bedroom the next day.
She seemed taken aback, speechless.
At least she's quit sending those annoying e-mail forwards
involving your own personal angels and miracles
that you're supposed to send to 10 friends in the next 5 minutes
or you'll break the chain, ruining it for everybody.