One theme. One poet. One memoirist.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Understanding A Car Crash

This week's theme: Fate

Somewhat recently, Lauren was editing a paper I wrote. She left the following comment in the margin: I hope you never have any reason to criticize my theology. You're brutal.

When I asked her, later, what she meant by this she told me that I wasn't wishy-washy in my critiques of other theologians. I am almost completely intolerant of what I view as inadequate theology. I take my position and defend it strongly.

It wasn't until recently that I discovered how much this aspect of my theological life spills over into my regular life. I had a social engagement in March and the topic of fate came up. He is a great believer in fate and destiny (Are they the same thing? He seemed to imply that they aren't.) and how people are destined to come into one another lives.

"Bullshit." I responded.

"I'm sorry?"


The conversation that followed grew increasingly tense and heated. He kept claiming that fate is inexorable. We owed our very friendship to fate. I contended that belief in fate is a major character flaw. It is, in fact, a dealbreaker when it comes to relationships in my life. Believing in fate is a blunt refusal to take responsibility for one's own choices and actions in the world. You are no longer accountable for the people you hurt, the jobs you screw up, the small triumphs in your life. They are nothing more than the universe's will. It is the ultimate test of immaturity in another person.

We haven't spoken since. Perhaps it was not meant to be.


Understanding a Car Crash

I was baking a cake and realized that we were out of butter. The grocery store is right through the alley, so I pulled one of your shirts off the clothesline and buttoned it over my camisole and jeans. It smelled like expensive laundry soap and sunshine. It was a warm May day was filled with the sound of bees humming in the lilies of the valley and lilacs. My neighbor drove past in a newly restored '69 Mustang, a car I've been coveting since I moved into this house. He was listening to something loud, I think it was the Eagles. There was a warbler building a nest in the trees. I was thinking about the cake I was baking, worried the frosting wouldn't set. The sun was so bright I wished I had thought to grab my sunglasses, even for this brief walk through the alley. Thinking about it now, the sunny silence of the morning shattered, it must have been terribly bright--why else would that glossy black car have missed seeing the golden retreiver wander into his lane, causing him to swerve suddenly into oncoming traffic, then crumple into a rainbow of broken glass and chrome.

1 comment:

  1. Did I make it clear to you how much I love this poem? LOVE! I was reading it aloud to mom and got chills.

    What's so striking to me is how it seems like everything should be perfect: a cake (yum!), a sunny day, an awesome car, good music. But a little something is off with each of these things: no butter, too sunny, too shiny.

    We don't get the perfect in life or relationships. We get the swerve. We get the crash. That the survivor of driver and dog is unclear, bugs the hell out of me...but that's how it's supposed to be.

    I'm pretty sure this is my favorite of what you've done so far.