Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Sign from God?

A story from years ago when I was dating C and working at some Upper East Side private school for rich kids. I worked in the theater department, and after each play, the kids gave a gift to each of the teachers who worked on the production. After one show, the kids gave each of us teachers a bouquet of flowers. How very sweet of them.

It wasn't until I got home before I realized that I had nothing to put them in. I've hadn't received flowers often in life, and I don't have a vase. But, I had a blender sitting happily on my counter, so I filled it with water, and made a half-assed attempt at flower arranging. Problem solved.

At work the next day, C and I got into a foolish argument about something, as was our habit. So, instead of going to her house after work as planned, I went home in a foul mood. Putting my key in the lock, I realized that I could hear a motor whirring away. It sounded like someone was vacuuming my apartment, which was odd. I didn't even own a vacuum cleaner. I opened my door ready to meet this kind soul cleaning my apartment, but, no, it was the blender, roaring away at full speed. Flower guts covered the cupboards, and a greenish goo was sloshing in the blender itself. I just stood there a moment, dumbfounded, until I noticed black smoke coming out of the base. I pulled the plug out of the socket and saw that the base was blackening.

I blamed the cats. One the boys, munching on a petal must have stepped on the power button. I should of had the good sense to not leave the damned thing plugged in. The boys do like flowers, after all.

And, eventually, I realized that if it weren't for the fight with C, I would be at her place smoking weed as my apartment, and the rest of the building, burned down. For once, C's volatile temper proved useful.

So, I called her and told her the tale. I was hoping that a good laugh about my close call might end the fight. She took it a step further, and declared the whole situation a miracle, a gift from God. God, you see, created our argument just so I could get home in time to prevent my place from burning. C was a born-again Christian, and tended to see signs from God.

I, being an atheist, didn't buy it. I believed then, and still do, that one ought not run around calling every happy coincidence a miracle. That's all our fight was - a fortunate coincidence. Besides, this particular "miracle" was in direct conflict with the Christian concept of free will. If God is so determined to give us humans free will that he'll not strike down a man like Hitler, why the hell would he make C and I argue just so I can unplug a blender? It makes no sense. If God insists on giving us free will, he would let me use a plugged in blender as a vase and go off to work with two flower munching cats in the house. He wouldn't then prevent a house fire by violating free will and manufacturing an argument.

It would have been much simpler for Him to flick the circuit breaker.

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