Why Not



Coco: What's the best thing about living in Switzerland?
Me: Wow. Um. The mountains? The chocolate? The knives? The skiing?

Coco: I don't know, but the flag's a big plus.



I was standing in the balcony, so I had a good view of everything. There were several people on the left, in the front, decorating the 18-foot tree with red balls and white doves. White doves. On the other side, Rod was playing carols on the piano and the front pew near him was filled with people who were talking to each other and listening and watching the tree decorators.

They had cleaned the chandelier. Once a year! said Rosalie. It's a beast, that chandelier. And they had put boughs and candles on all the sills and roping off the balcony.

I thought about how I get to stand up there on Christmas Eve and offer a benediction to everyone below. How they're all holding candles and standing in a big circle on the periphery of the nave. That's a religiousy word for the big room in the church where we meet. I thought about how I get to stand up there, with my candle, and look down at all of the people singing Silent Night. How I get to send them out into the chilly December night with the warmth of the evening's service in their hearts. I thought about how I am the luckiest girl in the world.



On Monday night I was driving home in the dark. It had been a long day and I was tired and my car was low on gas. I kept thinking ... I'll stop at the next place, but then it got really low and the next place was the Bromley Market. When I got there the door was locked. I wasn't sure what I was going to do; there weren't any other gas stations around. Could I coast down the hill to Manchester? I got back in my car and then a woman came out to look at the gas pumps. She was doing her closing things and reading the gas pumps was one of them

I went over to her and pleaded my case. She was tired, too. I know she wanted her day to be done so she could go home and do whatever she does at the end of a long day.

She looked at me and I thought for a minute she would say, I'm sorry sweetheart, but everything's shut down.

Instead she said Hold on, then she went back inside and turned the pumps back on and then she opened the door and shouted to me, You're all set, go ahead. 

I pumped my gas and went inside to pay. There were two people there waiting, waiting for her to be done. They looked tired, too. Her daughter, I think and a man.

There is a woman working at the Bromley Market who has a kind heart. Sure, they have a closing time, and sure, they shut everything off, but if a person comes along and needs something and is in a tough situation, even if their own idiocy got them into that tough situation, they offer help not indifference. Please tell them, the next time you go to the Bromley Market that the pastor in Pawlet said that they have a little country store with a big heart.



To speak at a public event in March on the subject of Finding a Spiritual Guide. I'm tempted to show up and say, You don't have to look very far, they're everywhere, but you do have to wish for something big, something important. You do have to wish for a kind of mystery of love to follow you through your days. 

And, too, if someone in the audience is a tough nut and asks me how I can believe in something I can't see, how I can believe in this ridiculous concept called God, I might say, Well, babies and goosebumps and the kindness of strangers and Switzerland and elephants and peonies. I might say oysters and kids who tell jokes and Silent Night and snow.

I might say, I don't know, I think my best argument for believing in God isn't very elegant or smart or deeply thought-out. It's not based on clever theology or Christological history.

I think my best argument for believing in God is, Why not?

Amen. I love you, dear reader. Have a beautiful day.