A Serious Child

John Cowan S.C.

We have just finished with Christmas and its story of God coming down in the form of a little child into Bethlehem. Any scripture scholar with half a brain should know that that entire story is total fiction. Did not happen.

Nevertheless I realize that it is true.

The only thing wrong about this story is that it is too spare and narrow. The truth I realize is: “In every child, in every place, God comes down always.” We just noticed this coming more because this particular child grew up as a shock to the system.

The other day at the New Louisiana Café, (“New” since it moved fifty years ago,) I had a feeling that I was about to be stood up. This friend has stood me up before. Back when I was younger and had more energy for the worthless I would think about the situation and work myself into a stew about the outrageous disrespect involved in slighting me. Lately however I focus on my feelings and ask myself “Am I really angry?” Nine times out of ten, I really am not, so I just go on with life. I recommend this little process. Saves a lot of trouble.

So having nothing to do while I stalled the few minutes required to justify to myself and any attentive bystander that I can ignore the absence of the putative owner of the plate across the table and order my own food, I saw a nearby opportunity.

I played a game with God.

She dropped her menu from the table and I stepped across the aisle, squatted down, picked it up, and replaced it. She then dropped it again. Expecting this I had not left my place by her side and my squatting position. I again replaced it. Her father said, “I see you have been seduced into my daughter’s game”, and I said, “No, she has been seduced into mine.”

I won. On the sixth try she gave up. Take that God!

I commented to her father that she did not smile. He said, “She is a very serious child.”

I said, “So am I.”