Dear God… About my back…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s sound is that of a crystal chandelier falling from a high ceiling onto a marble floor.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, I was sitting on the upper deck of a bus yesterday afternoon; I was wondering why I had developed a pain in the small of my back. (‘Small of my back’ – what an odd phrase that is!) It felt as if I had spent the whole of the previous day laying heavy paving stones, but of course I hadn’t – it was a mystery. Speaking of things mysterious, as the bus slowed for a corner and passed a small country church I noticed a large sign fastened to its wall which said, in bolt letters, ‘Try Praying’.
Now, ever since I was about twelve years old I have been an atheist; at school we were made to attend a daily morning assembly which had a large dollop of sticky Christianity stirred into it. There was a lot of hymn singing and some very strange and oddly worded readings from the bible, which to me generally sounded a bit contrived and not too strong on logic. (I always felt really sorry for the brother of the Prodigal Son.)
The bus rumbled on its way and my mind went back to the ‘Try Praying’ sign. I should really have an open mind about such things, (but then again, someone once said, ‘An open mind is a good thing, but you shouldn’t let your brain fall out!’) – perhaps I might, just for a moment, consider the idea that I might have been wrong all these years… ‘Try Praying’… Hm…
Now, God is omnipresent, isn’t he/she? And he/she can hear our every thought?…
Alright God, I mused, Now’s your chance, I’m here, with a fairly open mind, and a slight pain in my back. Come on, impress me; just take the edge off it – if a complete and instant cure is asking a bit too much…
I sat there waiting for a few minutes; perhaps praying is like the internet, and you have to sometimes hang on a minute or two, watching the little wheel spin, before you get through.
Come on now God, be reasonable, I’ve not bothered you for anything for years and years, this is only a small thing, in fact a small-of-the-back thing, it can’t be that difficult…
I waited, and as nothing seemed to be happening my mind wandered to other things, oh look, some horses gambolling about in a field! Look at them frolic! But occasionally I would shuffle in my seat as see if there had been any mystical healing done – but no, there was no discernible change. Perhaps you have to wait longer than I had thought – he/she is supposed to transcend time and space though – you know, ‘action at a distance’ – I think that’s right…
He/she ought to have noticed a new follower (a prodigal son) by now, and should be pulling out all the stops to stop me wavering in my new-found faith – maybe he/she will be in touch in some other way, perhaps lower back work is not his/her forte?
Oh dear, the thought just crossed my mind that maybe the mysterious back pain was actually sent by God, and he/she arranged for the ‘Try Praying’ sign to be visible from my seat on the bus, a sign from God? Was it some sort of test? That’s just the sort of thing that God does, I remember sneaky things like that from the Old Testament in those morning assemblies. Whoa! Another realisation! Perhaps the pain and the sign wasn’t from God at all, but… from the Devil!… No no, stop it Dave! That’s just the sort of tangled thinking that has driven religious people loopy for thousands of years!
I decided to put the whole thing out of my mind, but to also keep an eye and ear open for any sign that the almighty might decide to get in touch later in the day…
Nothing much out of the ordinary happened; my back stayed pretty much in the same state, and the only notable thing was that the cafe was unusually pleasant and quiet, and the tea and chocolate brownies were very good; I sat at a cosy table by the window with a view of the square… and yes, here I am, sitting, writing all this down in my little spiral-bound notebook…
A footnote: (added an hour later)
Just as I was putting my coat on to leave the cafe a young Italian chap (accompanied by his bouncing exuberant little boy) arrived, sat down close by, and started to shout down his phone and bang rhythmically on the table with his fist. Phew! I was really glad to be leaving – it was all just a matter of timing, how very fortunate!
I murmured, ‘Thank you God!’ as I walked out, leaving the ‘cute’ child careering and stamping around the room pointing at people and screaming at them…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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13 Responses to Dear God… About my back…

  1. Haha! I liked that….I do hope your back is a little better today? My faith in atheism stands resolute, as when I was younger I bashed someone else’s camera I was borrowing, and prayed to god to fix it by the next morning or I would get into so much trouble. Needless to say, he doesn’t do deals, so I was all “pfft! stupid god doesn’t give a hoot’n’nanny”. 😀 I do like the idea of little notebooks in cafes – I haven’t seen anyone do that for a long time, its always screens these days. No romance this generation, none at all.

  2. shammy says:

    It’s hard to know what to say about that. Praying doesn’t seem to work most of the time, but occasionally it does, but then, that could be just coincidence.

  3. I hope your back is better. I’ve had that as a recent problem, myself. Try exercises to strengthen your “core,” read: back, chest and abdomen. Working out makes a difference! And no, I’m not assuming that you do not work out already.

    I enjoyed your post, the nature of your “inquiry,” and your writing style!

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