Friday, April 12, 2013


The Octave of Easter.

That's what my church calls the eight days that follow celebrations of the risen Christ -- the last of the days known to some as St. Thomas Sunday.

It's a season when lots of folks are shouting alleluia.


Early spring is a time each year I struggle.  I wonder,

What-the-huh is this all about?

My friend Wayne asked if I could imagine being one of the group of friends hanging around Jesus in the days leading up to his being killed and afterwards.

"Who would you be?" he asked.

I thought about this a lot in the final days of Lent and continued to do so after Easter.

At first I couldn't name anyone. Mostly because I remember why I'd never be picked in a couple millennia to hang out with this group.

I got cut from everything I tried out for in life and this high stakes Apostle business meant Peter, as head honcho of fellow mere mortals, would've deep-sixed me in a Galilean minute back then.

Then I thought last Sunday,

Ok if I have to come up with a name, maybe I would've been Thomas.

My youngest brother and my dad are named Thomas, and I have friends called Thomas too (though one's a philosopher who goes by Lou).

I can relate to guys named Thomas.

TBone is what we call my brother. I guess my head can get around being the Doubting TBone for a while.

Then I realized Jesus tossed Doubting TBone a biblical bone for the ages.

He showed up even though the doors were locked. Told T to chill. Called him on the carpet. And Thomas rolled immediately. (For the record, I would've too.)

Anyway, since I don't think that kind of bone's ever been tossed my way, I'm left with a fuzzy answer to my friend's question.

I don't really know who I might've been way back then, other than one schmoe among billions of humans who've walked Earth since the common era muttering,

"Is this stuff really for real?"

I hope it is.

I believe it is.

Still there's doubt.

If you waffle too, please don't ask me to prove this stuff. I can't.

I'd hope to not waste time being ungracious or arrogant trying to convince someone -- or endeavoring to help save skeptical souls (unless they think I can help, but please be careful what you ask for if you do want to go there...).

It's a stupid exercise when people try and prove something like this.

And if doubt and disbelief is one's full time hobby, that's fine by me. I'd just hope for folks to be gracious and accept it's not possible to come up with anything other than intellectual running-in-place arguments -- the God as Gandalf thing as Lou once said -- that'll do nothing to prove this stuff is make believe.

What if we did doubt differently?

Let's say we are all stuck in some big hairy, mystical narrative without a clue how or when it'll end or why the show continues its run.

We might do well to imagine we're all together in a place, in an age from way back when.

Let's getaway to the island of Patmos. With a solitary guy -- a writer -- named John as he was inking Revelation.

Let's say we are sharing as he wrote then,

the distress...

Along with John we are fantastically drawn to all sorts of deep, haunting questions.  We are, as he said so poetically, like him,

...caught up in spirit...

Is this is not the story of believers and non-believers who debate their passions today?

As I imagine all this, I notice something's arising from somewhere, someplace that seems to be both within and without. It's a feeling that John the writer may have had then, a feeling as if I'm hearing just what he heard,

...a voice as loud as a trumpet which said,

'Write on a scroll what you see.'

So here I am doing two things on a sunny springtime weekend afternoon:

1) Putting the kibosh on my insecurities and indoctrinations just now; and,

2) Applying pen to paper.

Most important is telling myself again and again that this is astonishing.

My lord, there's no doubt something is in motion right here, right now in a busy Chipotle Mexican Grill in Oak Park, Illinois -- the tony Chicago suburb.

Something coming from somewhere is springing to life, helping me see beyond the scene I'm placed in -- to watch Doubt do its lines and to tell it's not the main player.

My God, it's only an extra slinking around in the Cold War overcoat, the bony hunched old spy seen just in black-and-white, occupying the spotlight at times.

There's no doubting Life's playing leading lady here.  And I can see how she's surrounded by Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude and twin sister, Humility.

All are inviting me to join them and live the story seen and unseen while eating a gorgeous chicken burrito bowl and drinking a perfectly chilled Corona in a Chipotle.

When we get to Patmos, we live the great story.

I am sure of this.


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