Bear Up, Ye Of Many Small Heart Attacks, Thou Shalt Be OK
If I were to write in Biblical terms of a conversation with God, with a bit of Hollywood, this is how it would go.
And Lo, the Heavens parted and there unto my eyes were Angels of Light and in the midst was a Light more bright than any I have seen. "Thou," said the Light in a thundering voice that rattled my teapots on their shelves, "thou art in a proper mess."
"Oh tell me who you are, Light that is too bright for my eyes," I said in a whisper, quaking with fear. "Are you God?"
" I am." Said the voice. "And I have words of comfort and wisdom that wilt be of enormous benefit to thee. Hast had enough? Thought so. Make thyself comfortable, oh my daughter, it is not just thee that hast loads to cope with, thou joinest an enormous throng of parents that despaireth that their offspring will ever be normal." And with that, each of the multitude of Heavenly Angels lifted up their instruments and played a fanfare of terrific joy and then - and then - was that a piano? Was one of the Angels playing a piano? "As a token of my personal attention," said God from the midst of what was now a wonderful virtuoso display of music, "I have commanded that we conduct this interview to music that you adore. My seraphim and cherubim will play Scott Joplin for you." And it was true. We were speaking to the gentle but syncopated rhythms of Fig Tree Rag played in harmony by a thousand Heavenly Hosts.
"Now," said God. "I knowest that one of thy offspring is off tripping the light fantastic. He will return. It is written that he will do this thing. I have made him with love and free will, and I will be beside him even at the crummiest of night clubs; I will be with him. His soul is never lost, I have it in my hand, but his way may be dark and dangerous. Fear not, oh Artist Lady, for though his path is many forked, and there are many choices he could make, at no point is he alone as I am there with my hand on his head waiting for him to work it all out."
There was a pause and the angels started to play Maple Leaf Rag. "Feeling better, oh thou of huge need of a lucky break?" said God.
"I think so," I replied.
I gazed with wonder around me. I had been standing in my kitchen which was transformed into a place of wonder and light and love and Scott Joplin; I was enveloped in the light that was pouring into the room from the vision of glory that filled my entire line of vision. I was in awe, I was both afraid and unafraid, I was longing to hear more.
"Thou art longing to hear more," said God from the centre of the joyful throng of Angels and pianos. "And now I say unto thee, listen up and thou wilt have peace. Thy son who is 14, he who they call Boxing Boy, he who is of a golden heart but mighty of fist, he who is now in a pickle and mighty are the consequences. Courage!" the voice boomed. I jumped and spilt my tea. "Courage! He has only the semblence of a mountain troll, in truth, thy son is nice fellow. I have given him the ability to do many things, many wonderful things, and as yet, he cannot see them. Thou hast found a piano teacher for him? Good. And he will, I say unto thee, go back to rugby and boxing and all will be well, he will pulverise others in a controlled and legal manner. And lo. These children are yours, remember that, they have quite a few of your genes and thus may become nicer as time goes by. Thou hast a daughter too. I have shown that all will be well, thy daughter has an ISA and a pension and has pulled herself back from the abyss. She is training to be a nurse and is a jolly good one too."
A pause. We both remained silent. The Angels broke into Magnetic Rag. The light beamed and filled the room and I heard God shifting and clearing his throat. He was right. Beautiful Daughter, she who fell as a teenager headlong into a hell of chavviness and drink, is now a force to be reackoned with. She is now working and studying at the same time, and is living with Dolly Parton as a role model in Brighton.
"It has been tough," said God quietly, " and it is not over yet. But Hey! I am with you and I hold all of you deep in my heart."
"But everything is so goddam hard," I said from the kitchen. "I don't know what to do next and nothing is being done and I can't think clearly."
"Oh My Lovely Artist Lady!" said God with a chuckle. The Angels broke into the Entertainer. "All things are possible! Much is being done, much is being achieved, you cannot see it and you do not expect it, but all is good and all is being done that needs to be done, and Lo! There is time! Why not trust me, love your ghastly offspring, and get an Indian Takeaway. Take thee to London and see a show! Thy painting work is ongoing and a whole different kettle of fish, trust me that thou art a good painter but right now, it is not the priority. Get thy lads sorted and take it from me, I have you all in my sights and know well what you feel, and somehow, it will all sort itself out."
And with that the Angels upped the volume of Heavenly Rag Time, and a hand came from the sky and wrote in the white board I have for notes in my kitchen -
Bear Up, Ye Of Many Small Heart Attacks, Thou Shalt Be OK.
The vision cleared, and silence fell. My heart felt light and the room looked brighter and cleaner. Wow, I thought. I have been given a thumbs up from On High. I am not alone, it is not all a wasteland of gloom and dreadfulness, though I have to say it feels like it. I looked up to where the glory of God had been, in the centre of such a wonderful light, up in the ceiling of my kitchen. And as I looked, the faint chords of Scott Joplin could be heard echoing in the distance and fluttering down to my feet was a piece of paper. "Special Offers At Your Local Indian Takeaway" it said. Thank you God. A sign indeed.