bees and elephants and dogs piled up in squirmin’ mounds like Loma’s dang cats tryin’ to keep warm in the wintertime. Does all this make any sense, Will Tweedy?” “Yessir, Grandpa.” I wanted to go lay down. But I also wanted some more answers. “Grandpa, uh, why you think Jesus said ast the Lord for anything you want and you’ll get it? ‘Ast and it shall be given,’ the Bible says. But it ain’t so.” I felt blasphemous even to think it, much less say it out loud. Grandpa was silent a long time. “Maybe Jesus was talkin’ in His sleep, son, or folks heard Him wrong. Or maybe them disciples tryin’ to start a church thought everbody would join up if’n they said Jesus Christ would give the Garden a-Eden to anybody believed He was the son a-God and like thet.” Grandpa laughed. Gosh, I’d get a whipping if Papa knew what was going on with the Word in his kitchen. “All I know,” he added, “is thet folks pray for food and still go hungry, and
I have learned to quit speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day’s doings. I think I always thought of real living as being high. I don’t mean on drugs – I mean real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody, . . . In between the highs I was impatient – you know how it is – life seemed so Daily. Now I love the dailiness. I enjoy washing dishes, I enjoy cooking, I see my father’s roses out the kitchen window. I like picking beans. I notice everything – birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain.
Life bullies us son, but God don't. He had good reasons for fixin' it where if'n you git too sick or too hurt to live, why, you can die, same as a sick chicken. I've knowed a few really sick chickens to git well, and lots a-folks git well thet nobody ever thought to see out a-bed agin cept in a coffin. Still and all, common sense tells you this much: everwhat makes a wheel run over a track will make it run over a boy if'n he's in the way. If'n you'd a got kilt, it'd mean you jest didn't move fast enough, like a rabbit that gits caught by a hound dog... When it comes to prayin' we got it all over the other animals, but we ain't no different when it comes to livin' and dyin'. If'n you give God the credit when somebody don't die, you go'n blame Him when they do die? Call it His Will? Ever noticed we git well all the time and don't die but once't? Thet has to mean God always wants us to live if'n we can.
Ask and it shall be given you,'" I began. "'Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' We have the same message in the Book of Saint John," I said, sounding for all the world like a preacher...."Well, but how could I just stop there? Those words were worse than nothing if I didn't tell what they meant to Grandpa. Looking at the long rough box, I spoke timid, in a mumbled voice. Not preachified at all. "Grandpa didn't think Jesus meant, by that, that we should ast God for things, or for special favors. He said we could trust that in the nature of things, without astin', we'll get lots of blessin's and happy surprises and maybe a miracle or two. When Jesus said ast and you'll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now for instance, I could ast, 'Lord please raise Grandpa from the dead,' but it wouldn't happen. But I can say, 'Please, God, comfort me,' and I'll get heart's ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all that. Ast, 'Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy, give us courage to try." I was really carried away. "Ast any such and God will give it to you. But don't ast Him not to let fire burn, or say spare me from death. At least, uh, that's what Grandpa said.