Rabbits Running in the Ditch

Here is one thing you did not know about Hecate, but which will not surprise you. Late, late, late at night, so late you can almost smell dawn coming, she still sneaks into Donovan’s bedroom and sits on the bed next to him. She runs her fingers through his curling hair, like a grandmother doting over her first grandson. He grows older and she whispers, “Soon.”

Some days, he wakes up feeling unsettled. Some days he wakes up feeling great relief. But often he wakes up like any other normal day. He seems to have no idea she visits.

And yet, what would Jimmy Page give for that? Do you have any idea how many pairs of pants he has with incantations and prayers to Hecate sewn right into the seams?

Okay, me, neither. But I bet it’s more than one pair.

But before you feel too bad for Jimmy Page, never visited without knowing it by Hecate, keep this in mind: While he was at Boleskine House, pitch black daisies with yellow eyes—like inverted Black-eyed Susans—grew along the back wall in the shade. Among their many peculiar properties—a scent like puppy’s breath, the slight moaning sound they make in a strong wind, the toads that congregate beneath them, etc.—the most upsetting is that, if you play “S/he Loves Me, S/he Loves Me Not” with these black daisies, the last petal is, inevitably the truth. Even if your loved one is with someone else, a black daisy that finishes on “s/he loves me” will bring that loved one to you. Fifty-years of faithful marriage? A last “s/he loves me not” petal is an ending unavoidable.

It is said that Jimmy Page is the only person who ever got these black daisies to go to seed and that he has a whole peanut butter jar full of those seeds.

Every time Donovan runs into him, he asks Jimmy for just enough seeds to start his own garden. Jimmy always says no.

So, you see, it’s fair, in a way. Each has something the other would love to have.

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Talking to My Dad

So, as soon as my dad got me in the van and got going 40 miles an hour, he brought up the Methodist Reporter piece. I was hugely nervous. I know it probably seems silly because I’m all the time fighting with my dad about this or that. But I don’t like to and never want to have a fight with him about religion because it is so fundamental to who he is as a person. I don’t want him to think that I think his life’s work is stupid or useless or to be mocked, especially because one of the things I most admire about him is his commitment and passion to ministry and his belief in a God so radically better than you’d think a guy like my dad would believe in.

But it turned out that he really liked the piece. He was just upset that I was upset at the ways he’d been treated as a minister. He quoted the Bible and tried to reassure me that, if, as a minister, you’re not pissing someone off, you’re not doing it right.

He said those things when I was young, too. But again, I think this is a place where we’re just going to differ. I think it’s fine for God to say to a grown person (or, hell–and maybe you’ll think this is weird, but I believe it–a child who He wants in the ministry eventually) that it’s going to be a rough go for him or her and sometimes the very people in his or her congregation are going to hate him or her. But God can’t expect me, as a child of a minister, to be okay with that. God can make that arrangement with my dad–This part is going to suck, but I need you to do it. God cannot demand that I watch the suffering of my father and pretend it’s cool. I can accept that my Dad has made an arrangement I would not and I can respect that and not try to talk him out of it or work to undermine him from doing it, but no, I cannot warp my heart so that it doesn’t pain me when the bad things he knew were going to happen happen.

It’s not fine and it never was. But I appreciate my dad trying to make me feel like it is and was.