Friday, September 26, 2008


Good Orderly Direction: an acronym commonly used in 12-step programs to aid those who struggle to relate to the notion of a Power Greater Than Themselves.

Sometimes, I quipped last night, the G.O.D. of my understanding--what I can grasp and use at the moment--is as simple as:

East. I am walking east, putting one foot in front of the other, and that is Good--it is taking me closer to the restaurant that will ease my bodily hunger--it is Orderly--my steps are rhythmic and firm, and continue in a consistent direction--and it is a Direction--east, towards 10th and Mass.

Lots better than standing on a corner starting to cross first one way, then the other, afraid to choose for fear of making the wrong choice when either choice is a step in the right direction.

But this morning, Jesus reminds me: In Christ there is no East or West.

The sheep and parasites and trees (even the 12" diameter elm Quinn and his crew cut down this morning, a tiny seedling that had grown so large in its 10 years that it was beginning to push over the back wall of the barn) remind me: In the farm's Community of Life, there is no "teacher" or "student"; there are no "higher" or "lower" beings. We're all in this lifeboat--this ark--together.

The soil under my feet and fingernails speaks to me: I am the Ground of Being; nothing so mysterious about that. From earth you came and to earth you shall return, and these processes re-enact themselves each day as you eat the fruits of your labors (tomatoes in this season, tomatoes in every shape and size and color until my mouth breaks out in sores) and then releive yourself in the almost-completed sanitary pit privy, the first approved by the Health Dept. in Douglas County in several decades.

GOD sez: in the beginning was the word, and the word was GOD.

GOD sez: at the beginning of Creation (of course, beginning and end and middle are all contained in a glorious NOW that our human minds have to dissect into "days", "years", etc. using a scalpel called "time", in order for us to "understand" it), I gave Adam the gift of speech and the chore of choosing sounds by which to call my creatures (which he has carried to extraordinarily silly extremes), and I gave him a limited dominion over them (which he has terribly abused)--but I never said anything about ranking them or choosing some as good and others as bad.

GOD sez: I gave each of my creatures/creations its own task. Not one creature truly knows the knows the task of any other. All my creatures babble in tongues, the sheep do not speak the llama's language; the trees do not speak with human tongues.

GOD sez: later (when you had learned at least a little, like toddlers) I gave you a new, more challenging task, a Great Commission: Thou shalt love me, and love thy neighbor as thyself. You still are barely able to love me and to love yourselves most of the time, and only in moments of unusual clarity do you remember that the stranger is your neighbor, and love them, too...let alone to recognize the sunflower as your teacher, or the worm as your sister in my creation.

And so I respond by harvesting dazzling lavender eggplants; releasing the jubilant ewes into the west side pen to feast on the brush of the felled elm; engaging the dogs in a moments' play; bowing my head in humble respect to the monarch that is poised next to the remains of the third crysalis outside the Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center and Museum, ready to begin its migration to far-off countries where I'm unlikely ever to travel myself.

I think these mundane actions are part of a Good, Orderly Direction. But God, forgive me for I know not what I do--bumbling idiot that I am, trying to learn to understand each note of all your creatures' babbling tongues singing in concert at once, and somehow translate all that symphony to these stark electronic letters. How vain!

Especially when my kindred and I can't even agree on what the Bible--already written in our own tongue--means!

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