I thought it said “PAIN.”

Lord, I thought it said “PAIN” when I first saw it, and that it was a direct message from You.

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Yeah, I know; I was there.

Right. That’s just it: I know You were there, and yes I know that You know that I know . . .

I get it. Keep talkin’ . . . no, wait. You can dispense with the pretense of capitalizing my holy pronouns, dude, because you either do or do not respect me. And I know that you do, so now keep talkin’.

[I’m shaking my head in wonder, thinking, not saying, “God, what a God!”]

Yes, I AM.

Well, it was there, literally written in stone on the sidewalk, and I expect that kind of thing these days, and I was going to that spiritual center in a Franciscan sort of way, and  . . . wait, why am I telling you all this? Remind me.

Because it helps you to say it. Because I have told you to pray it. And I appreciate your keeping it real, by the way. 

Thanks. So, I was early, just shuffling up the sidewalk, and when I saw it written there, I had to do a double take, backing up for another look because my heart just took a leap and I ——

—— Are you in pain? Sorry for the interruption, but are you in pain? Is that why you are telling me this, that you misread an inscription on a sidewalk?

Yes [laughing].

Why are you laughing when you just told me you are in pain?

Well, I’m laughing because you said “sorry” for interrupting. I mean, you just feel free to break right in anytime, Lord, because, well, Lord knows that I can run around in my head too much. And, you know, saying “sorry”, you saying that word, it struck me as funny.

Good. I meant it that way, and you needed to laugh. See, I DO UNDERSTAND. And that is why I want to hear more.

Okay. What I am trying to say is that I would not have been surprised at all, really, if it had said “PAIN” because I have seen and heard you in ways more amazing, more wonderful, more miraculous even than using your finger to write in stone.

And I will do even more.

I truly believe that. But this pain is making me stumble.

Do you have time for a rhyme?

You are making me laugh again, you know, asking me in a rhyme if I have time. Yes, of course. Always.

Good.

‘Cuz:

You said stumble. I want you humble.

You may falter, so stay at the alter.

Happy are the meek, finding all that they seek.

Keep knockin’ on the door and I will give you more.

And more, my son. I will give you more.

And more and more, just as long as you adore

me as your king. Mine is Everything.

You stay on my path,  And do not fear my wrath!

It is not for seekers. And maybe not for tweakers;

that is my concern. So even when you yearn,

trust in me! I gave you eyes to see.

Can I count on you? To love me through and through?

Yes, Lord, even in my suffering. I mean, it’s small, you know, nothing at all compared to your suffering of course because ——

—— just stop it already!

Okay. I have a lot to learn there.

And I will teach you. Keep walking. I am going to send some rain now, so go make yourself a cup of tea . . .