Thursday, June 01, 2006


Waiting for a sign at Grandma Moses

B has had some nagging back pain that's been driving her nuts. "I don't know what I'm going to do!" she said, as we stepped into Grandma Moses, B for a green tea and me for ... well, you know. Iced coffee.

Within 15 minutes three people we know came in for coffee: Tim, our favorite instructor over at Maple Street Yoga sat down for a chat. Then, one of my just-graduated students, wandered in. She said hi, and I learned she has boldly started an immigration law practice. As I was introducing her to Tim, Nancy came in and waived as she walked up to the counter. Nancy runs the Massage and Accupuncture center in the neighborhood;

At this point, one of my favorite West Wing episodes wafted into my mind. Jed Bartlett is agonizing over whether to grant an 11th-hour pardon to a convict about to be executed. He's been lobbied by a quaker anti-death-penalty activist; and one of his top advisors, Toby, was sermonized by a rabbi. Jed is a devout Catholic deeply opposed to the death penalty, but he feels that his duty to a pro-death penalty public outweighs those beliefs. He even takes a phone call from the Pope, and deflects the Pontiff's entreaties. Jed will let the execution go forward.

At the end of the episode, he unburdens his conscience to his priest, Father Cavanaugh, who has been flown in from Jed's New Hampshire home town. He admits to Father Cavanaugh (played by the venerable Karl Malden) that he feels morally lost. Father Cavanaugh replies:
You know, you remind me of the man that lived by the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rush up and flood the town. And that all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, 'I'm religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.' The waters rose up. A guy in a row boat came along and he shouted, 'Hey, hey you! You in there. The town is flooding. Let me take you to safety.' But the man shouted back, 'I'm religious. I pray. God loves me. God will save me.' A helicopter was hovering overhead. And a guy with a megaphone shouted, 'Hey you, you down there. The town is flooding. Let me drop this ladder and I'll take you to safety.' But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God will take him to safety. Well... the man drowned. And standing at the gates of St. Peter, he demanded an audience with God. 'Lord,' he said, 'I'm a religious man, I pray. I thought you loved me. Why did this happen?' God said, 'I sent you a radio report, a helicopter, and a guy in a rowboat. What the hell are you doing here?'

Jed... Mr. President, God sent you a Rabbi, a Quaker and the Pope, and you are still looking for a sign?

Does B have the answer to the mystery of her back pain? God sent you a yoga instructor, an accupuncturist, and an immigration lawyer....

I loved that episode too, but am left wondering at God's decision to send an immigration lawyer!

I have some Pilates tapes. Maybe God would like to send those?

Tell B I said Hi!

vdvxxe -- a vaccination against sexually transmitted diseases
This is extraordinarily creepy. I am also having back pains, and I'm on my way to my second chiropractic visit of the week. I don't like synchronicities like this.

vpvqu - (vee-pee vee-kew) someone with a very heavy accent commiserating with your tears; they are "weepy with you"
... and the woman who waived as she walked up to the counter? That's a big, big sign.

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