It’s Christmas, my favorite time of the year. Jesus Christ is never far from my thoughts and for those that knew me in the good ‘ol God-denying days, well, they might consider my Jesus statement mind-boggling.
You see, back then I was a materialist in that I loved, no, I worshipped… things! The creator of MY universe sold me stuff. Gear of the Year? I had to have it all. The more expensive, the better. Houses, cars, clothes, watches, cappuccino machines, dishes, dogs, tequila, electronics, shoes, furniture, more shoes, even my mouthwash was the pricey holistic made-in-the-redwoods-drink-out-of-crystal stuff.
But what if the Hallmark channel was producing a Christmas special and they needed someone to play God and they wanted God to teach someone a lesson about wanting stuff rather than wanting God. Well, method actor that I am, sign me up. I know exactly how He’d restructure reality to enlighten a consumerist Lothario. He did it to me.
Please, pour yourself an eggnog and let me tell you a story. It’s all true.
We’ll go back in time and hear the ramblings of a misguided soul. The place is Colorado, I’m the main character and the events that follow triggered my spiritual journey to God. You see, I first needed to be humbled.
Act one. Mr. Steele is reflecting.
Today is a day of mourning. Wearing as much black as I can muster, I’m officially, solemnly, and with great melancholy declaring that one of life’s great pleasures, especially mine, has left the proverbial building. The master bedroom mattress, my nocturnal confidante, has died.
All right, it didn’t really die; I sold it because I have to eat. It might as well have gone to the great beyond because I’ve been misty-eyed all morning. The sense of loss is not like losing a parent, no, I would equate it more to getting a limb amputated. I would give my older brother’s right arm to get my beloved bed back. He’s a great athlete, he could adapt better with one arm.
Could a man possibly love an Italian, seven area latex medium mattress more than I love mine? Worst of all, it loved me, especially when draped in sensual European wood-fiber sheets that are light years softer than over-hyped satin sheets. We were so right for each other. Lord, how much hardship must I endure?
My dog even respected this love between a man and a mattress and knew that the bed was off limits.Although jealous, she allowed the affair to continue and grow unchallenged because she knew I loved her more; she accepted my weakness, my lust, because that’s what unconditional love is all about.
All morning I’ve been struggling with the realization that never again will I experience the sensation of floating on God’s gentle hands serenely cocooned and surrounded by protective angels. Tonight, my friends, it’s a new era; the sagging, drool-inducing couch awaits. No other choices for repose.
Wait a minute. The option of retiring to my air mattress is doable but it’s no wider than a Popsicle stick. It doesn’t promote sleep; it jump-starts scoliosis. I’ll spend the entire night balancing on it as if it were a 4” wide balance beam.
What about guest room number one? Its main inhabitant, the faux leather, micro-fiber foldout sleeper was sold. Those proceeds will likely retain a bankruptcy attorney, assuming survival necessities don’t eat up all the funds. Regarding guest room number two, the rustic log-frame and pillow-top mattress was also sold. Those funds will either pay for the beginning phase of my nasty letter writing campaign to the 106,000 employees of the IRS or a crate of whiskey in case I decide to become an alcoholic.
On my desk is a wicker basket full of coins. I’ve been staring at it for a couple of days. Sometime today or tomorrow, I’ll make a trip to the grocery store and dump the basket’s contents into the change machine. Most likely, the proceeds will buy a week of food for my dog and me. Oh yeah, and beer. The good imported stuff. I have standards.
Not wanting to draw attention to myself, I haven’t talked to my lender regarding the foreclosure process. I’m hoping they’re buried in default hell and up to their eyeballs in razor-edged paper. Maybe they’ll forget about the notice they sent me.
Looking at my dog, I can see the bubble over her head. And maybe UPS will deliver a butchered steer to our door.
I’m not clear how the whole asset seizure plays out. Most likely, it’s going to have immeasurably unpleasant consequences starting when I check into a motel––after I’m thrown out of my house––with a maxed-out credit card. I hope my new friend at the front desk is up for the barter game because my trunk will be full of household junk. I’m going to pretend I’m trading with the Iroquois.
“Hi there. Can I have a room, please?” I ask with affluent authority.
“Please fill this out. I’ll need a driver’s license and credit card.” A large woman hands me a registration card, she’s impatient. Probably needs a smoke.
I take out my Colorado license. “Here you go. I’ve looked better. And the weight is way wrong.”
She gives me a half-smile. That’s better than no smile. Maybe I can pull this off.
“You’re not 190?” she asks.
“Nah. I was wearing a lot of clothes that day.”
“Sir. Credit card?” She’s focused like a laser.
“Listen. I’m in kind of a bind. Think maybe I can trade for a room? Do you like to sleep? Because I have some dynamite down pillows in the car. Maybe you ski. My boots are killer, just wear extra socks because no way are your feet as big as mine.”
“Mister, I just work here, I can’t—”
“You like to eat, right? Keep the pillows and boots and I’ll throw in four eggs, three kinds of mustard and a large bottle of Tabasco.”
It sounds like I’m hosting a game show.
“I think you better leave.” She means it.
Okay, I expected that. She’s wearing a wedding ring. Good.
“I know this is out of the blue and I apologize for making you uncomfortable but please give me one more minute,” I said.
I run out of the office, quickly open the rear hatch, find what I’m looking for, and rush back in. When negotiating, don’t be afraid to give away the farm.
“I’d like a room with a view.” I break out the big guns; my nine thousand-song iPod sitting squarely on top of my luxurious wood-fiber, satin-feeling, fun-inducing sheets. Now the fun-inducing part hasn’t done me a bit of good, but since the motelier is wearing a wedding ring, I’ll remind her of her honeymoon and that the good times will roll again like there’s no tomorrow.
Well, that’s at least how the motel encounter played out in my mind.
Here’s the point to my story. I did lose everything. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My entire life needed a reordering and a re-grounding. I was incorrectly tethered to stuff and not to God.
That has all changed. Seems like a Christmas miracle.