Tuesday, in case you didn't know, was a full moon day. Nothing out of the ordinary. A full moon appears with great regularity. If it didn't, we'd be in a boatload of trouble. Tides wouldn't occur as scheduled. The whole rhythm of the planet would be off, and time wouldn't occur as we know it. The moon has such an effect on the Earth that the rate at which we are spinning around the sun is slowing ever so gradually while the moon's rotation is accelerating. According to this site, nineplanets.org, it's only about 1.5 milliseconds per century, but the moon is ascending to a higher orbit at the rate of 3.8 cm per year. The Earth is in a constant state of torque, thanks to the moon.
As SAM was leaving for work Tuesday morning, the sun's appearance on the eastern horizon was heralded--or was it eclipsed?--by the setting of the moon in the western sky. The sight of it was just too beautiful to ignore.
Tuesday evening, I was sharing a meal with a group of people. We were celebrating the end of one term and looking forward to the beginning of another. One of the women in the group asked me how I had done on a test the night before. I had missed one question. I hate you, she said. Really? No. She laughed. She didn't mean it. Still, the words somehow stung. Should I fail so that someone else can feel good about herself?
Last week, another woman in our group started a lively discussion with one of those "what if" questions. She asked us if we (the women in the group) would be willing to carry someone else's baby (an implanted embryo, previously frozen) if the mother of the egg and the father of the sperm were unable to conceive in the usual fashion. While we puzzled over the question, she added that allowing the pregnancy to proceed would keep the embryo from being discarded. Various opinions were voiced, and even the instructor chimed in. An Arab-American and devout Muslim, he agreed with me that life is sacred but added that it would be foolish and just plain wrong for a woman to carry someone else's baby inside of her womb. If the real parents could not have a child in the normal way, it must be some kind of test for them. Warping their usual orbit around each other. Making life just a little less harmonious, synchronicity askew. Causing them to ask. Why?
Life does that to us. Torquing, twisting, testing...1, 2, 3. I remember my dad, with a wry smile, asking, Why me, Lord? whenever something bad happened to him. He used to tell a joke about a nice guy named Marvin whose whole world began to fall apart around him. Marvin would ask the Lord why? but was always met with silence. His friends had plenty of reasons why and weren't shy about sharing them. They thought Marvin had become such a loser because he had done something wrong. Marvin kept denying it and proclaimed his innocence. No one believed him. According to the joke, not even the Lord did. Finally, the Lord spoke to Marvin and his friends. There's just something about you, Marvin, that really pisses me off.
My dad usually had a great sense of humor, but I never thought that joke was funny. It's a perversion of the book of Job in the Bible. The part about the friends is true and so is Job's claim of innocence. I guess it's difficult to believe that anyone could be that righteous. Unstained. Faithful. Impossible? Why?
If I have put my trust in gold
or said to pure gold, 'you are my security,'
if I have rejoiced over my great wealth,
the fortune my hands had gained,
if I have regarded the sun in its radiance
or the moon moving in splendor,
so that my heart was secretly enticed
and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
then these also would be sins to be judged,
for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune
or gloated over the trouble that came to him---
I have not allowed my mouth to sin
by invoking a curse against his life---
(Book of Job, 31:24-30)