Ask Not…Take Two
“Where is God?” he said. We were eating dinner on the porch. My kindergartener asked the question with a twinkle in his eye and a giggle, as if addressing a taboo topic. He was picking the pasta and carrots out of his minestrone, looking cute as can be.
“It depends on who you ask,” I said. “There are a lot of ideas about who God is and what he – or she – is. Or isn’t. It’s okay to have different ideas.”
“So where?” he pressed. “Here? Everywhere?”
“Maybe everywhere. Maybe nowhere,” I said. I wished he was asking where babies come from. That question I could tackle. We were already clear on the anatomy, a frequent dinner conversation. This is what happens when Daddy is a gynecologist. We talk about our day…and then terms like scrotum make their way into our chatter. Not that a gynecologist has anything to do with anybody’s scrotum. Directly, that is. But in a house full of boys, this is how it goes. The question of where babies come from has a concrete, correct answer with little room for creative interpretation. I longed for that in this moment.
I’d already done a fair bit of awkward explaining that day. Earlier, we stopped by a neighborhood grocery store where I began to dig my way out of a hole of gullibility. Remember the dude on the milk crate from last week? The one who asked me for some laundry detergent? Okay, sit down. Are you sitting down?
A couple astute readers (thank you Jonathan and Camille) pointed me to this unbelievable story in New York Magazine. What the f@&$ is that? I will admit I still don’t fully understand how a single household product has become a drug currency. That’s right. I supported the local crack trade with my $5 and my naiveté. Fantastic.
I felt taken and foolish. I thought about how many others would have done the same. I marched right back to the store and let the manager know what was going on in front. The boys stood at my side, looking back and forth as the adults spoke. I also flagged down a police officer outside and shared the article. Both the manager and the officer were surprised, despite the fact that the store profiled in the article is located a mere 20 miles away in a DC suburb.
My kids hung on every word I said, eyes wide. What is crack? Why would someone want laundry soap and what does that have to do with drugs? Who uses drugs? Why don’t those guys outside have jobs? Oy. Such a torrent of fair questions. I did my best to explain. Even I didn’t know what I was talking about half the time. It sounded stupid and a little insane. I made the best of the information I had. The boys nodded slowly, not really satisfied with my disjointed answers.
But you know what? I am still grateful for the a-ha moment that silly incident spurred. It cost me a few bucks and some embarrassment. But the day I wrote that post, I built up the courage to finish an essay I’d been working on for far too long…and submitted it for publication. I thought about what I wanted and how to ask for it. Then a funny thing happened. As I was ruminating on my wish list, I received a surprise. It was something I asked for a long time ago. It was a pretty big ask, far out of my comfort zone. In fact, I had almost given up on it. Then there it was. Delivered.
Ask and you shall receive. Funny timing, right? But was it? I don’t think so. I think there is an energy out there and it knows and perhaps influences certain things. Andy, I see you rolling your eyes. Hear me out. Here is a real example. Every time I’ve been in the emotional, vulnerable position of having to find someone to care for my children, an odd thing happens. I start looking cheerfully, with hope and energy. I interview people and realize it’s a tough task. Inevitably, I get to a point where I am desperate and eventually, in tears. Fully freaking out. I make a plea to the universe: please send me a person I would trust with my precious children for but a few hours of the day. Certainly such a person exists?!
And when I get there – to that point where I’m on the floor begging, pleading and crying – it’s then, and only then, that the angel appears out of nowhere. The first time her name was Pamela. The second time, her name was Margot. And most recently, her name was Taisie. But I couldn’t find those people until I leveled with the universe, groveling pitifully. I don’t know what you call that. Do you call it God? Do you call it something else? I don’t know. And I don’t care what you call it. All I know is that there is a force that listens and feels and knows. It responds. Ask…and you just never know what will come your way.
No requests from me this week. You don’t have to comment or Facebook or anything (but I love when you do). I’ve heard from you and you blew me away with your kind notes. Yes, you are out there. You are so very real and just as lovely as ever. This week, I offer you a wonderful, vegetarian stuffed roasted eggplant. I made it on a rare day when Andy was home for lunch. The two of us enjoyed a mid-day lunch on the porch, free of anatomical descriptions and talk of bodily functions. I’d just made this recipe with some plump, juicy tomatoes, and had an idea for a twist…we loved it. I hope you do, too.