Sunday, November 04, 2007


I don't think I've told you about how my faith was nearly crushed by a balloon. If I have, please bear with me. It's worth repeating.

The past two years have been filled with uncertainty, questions, doubt, rejection, and even death. And then this past summer brought with it an extraordinary drought and blazing temperatures. August was not a good month. The A/C went out the night before one of the hottest days of the year. Our vehicles bitched and moaned incessantly and protested vigorously. And I did my share. Our home seemed to be falling apart around us and we had no resources to address the entropy of our lives.

And I was tired. And I was losing hope. And the Lord, great and powerful, awesome and mighty, rent the heavens, came down upon clouds, and gave me a swift kick in the seat of my pants. I was able to repair the A/C. But then the ceiling fan broke, which is very effective in helping the heat pump deliver the cool air. So after a few days, I choked up $50 for a new fan and installed it. It worked beautifully. And, I suppose, it became a symbol of hope for me. It was a sign that things would be OK. It showed me that while things wound down in life, I had the ability to wind them back up again - some things, at least. And the next day a child (my child, my wife assures me) walked under the fan with a balloon and stopped the fan dead. Tore clouds out of the sky. Ripped hope from my heart. Made me question everything. I sat down at the dining room table and roared and grumbled, and, finally, I wept. I removed my crucifix and placed it in front of me. I removed my glasses. I wondered if I would wear both again. I was angry and full of despair because of a stupid balloon and a cheap ceiling fan.

That, my friends, is the measure of my faith. That is the extent of my hope. That is the depth of my love.

I wiped my eyes and blew my nose. I put my glasses back on. And my crucifix too.

An idea struck me. I flipped the switch to turn the fan in the opposite direction and turned it on again. It began to move. I turned it off. I flipped the switch back to where it had been and turned it on again. And it worked. It has worked since.

I don't know why it worked, though a simple explanation, I'm sure, could be given. I am not claiming any great miracle here. But I do know that when that fan came to life again after I thought it was dead, it was as if the Lord had removed His heavy and terrible hand from me.

And it begins to rain again. And Catholic Frogs unbury themselves and shake mud from their eyes. Flowers bloom where no flowers had been, and rivers flow in once-barren river beds.

There will be other droughts in my life. But, my God, this is beautiful.

Our hearts were made to hold that which the heavens cannot contain. But they grow clumsy when we try to grab lesser things, like fans or cars or even deserts that green. They are the wrong tools for holding lesser things.

I am a man of little faith. I am a man not unlike St Thomas. And God, as He draws me into His life, is merciful to my weakness and offers me His hands and His side. My Lord and my God!


alison said...

Great post, Scott. I understand weakness and little faith and God's love and mercy tin the midst of and despite both.

truevyne said...

I hope you don't mind me interjecting my goofy humor. I pictured putting your saint statue next to Saint Anthony with the boy Jesus and you with your balloon and ceiling fan...
On a more serious note. I was touched by your sincere words. Somehow I've let my husband forgettting to check my son's science homework test my deepest faith.

Jennifer F. said...

What a great post. And thanks for the links, by the way.

Mary Poppins NOT said...

Oh, my, this is so good.

And so true.

Thank you.