Freedom of Choice
“If it involves swimming, I should tell you I don’t have a bathing suit.” Heads turned to check whether or not we wanted to see her in a bathing suit and then went back to minding their own business.
I took another sip of my Americano and looked over at Yaweh.
“Ouch,” said Bishop. Carstairs nodded.
Yaweh continued. “Three days later he was murdered, but he must have started moving them toward Mexico City before then.
We were all shocked silent for a moment; then I put the thought out there.
“It seems that way. I’m not certain yet.”
“It’s hard to believe.”
“I know,” agreed Yaweh. “What should we do?”
“I’m in First Chapters,” said a woman ending with an up-tilted note, clearly indicating that while she knew she was in First Chapters, she didn’t know what to do next. The receptionist told her to go upstairs and turn right. We listened to her clomp up the stairs as we contemplated our dilemma.
“O then the Baron forgot his age / His noble heart swelled up with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesus’ side / he would proclaim it far and wide.”
Carstairs was looking at the Baron with a gleam in his eye. It was hard not to exclaim in verse when dealing with the Baron. He had a classical education and declaimed pronouncements as if Boswell was trailing after him, writing down his every word. He tended to drag in quotes whether they wanted to come or not. Carstairs made fun of him quite mercilessly.
The Baron scowled at him, recognizing the mockery but quoted away anyway: “Or, if the music sticks, if the anecdote is false, if Crispin is a profitless philosopher, beginning with green brag and concluding fadedly, if as a man prone to distemper.” he said, between his teeth, pointing out to us our information source was a jealous, spiteful old man who may not be telling the truth.
We looked at him. He caught our stares.
“Well, we all thought Lucifer had such promise, a shiny light in our firmament. It’s quite hard to believe he would try and keep anyone hidden, away from the light, and encourage murder.” he finished sadly.
We did have high hopes for Lucifier until he stopped believing in the common good and decided individuals had a right to do what they liked. *That was all very well; but it was his timing that was off. It was one thing to grant everyone free will; it was another to keep them in the dark so they never knew they had a choice.
We had a report he was trafficking in human misery, and had gathered to discuss what to do. We angels had various techniques in our toolkit, ranging from a mass visitation seen by many to the still small voice in the ear. But the more we altered events, the more we poured flame into someone’s heart to get them to do what we needed doing, the more we risked taking away their free will. Fortunately, there were still those who said “yes,” and “yes,” again when they heard those voices, but it was always a fine line between getting someone to do what we needed doing and having them do it at the expense of their life. Being an angel to a martyr was not an easy task. We saw them in glory on the other side, of course, and their joy at being in the presence of God; but still, how much choice did you give someone when you poured the Holy Spirit into their heart? I had seen men and women leap into the fire and embrace their own death at its merest touch.
I shook my head. It didn’t do to over think it. Jesus showed God’s sorrow at the cost, and the joy of the reward. Love glued the universe together, I was certain of its worth.
We went back to discussing how to rescue another lost sheep, how to give another soul the choice between life and death.
---Carla Blaschka, 7/14/12 Written at Richard Hugo House alongside PurpleMark Wirth.
- “O then the Baron forgot his age / His noble heart swelled up with rage; He swore by the wounds in Jesus’ side / he would proclaim it far and wide.” General Editor Richard Wilbur. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Christabel” in Coleridge: Laurel Poetry Series. (Dell, 1959) Page 75.
- “Or, if the music sticks, if the anecdote is false, if Crispin is a profitless philosopher, beginning with green brag and concluding fadedly, if as a man prone to distemper.” Wallace Stevens. ‘The Comedian as the Letter C” in The Palm at the End of the Mind: Selected Poems and a Play. (Vintage Books, 1967) Page 75.
- “Lucifer?” “It seems that way. I’m not certain yet.” “It’s hard to believe.” “I know,” said Yaweh. “What should we do?” Steven Brust. To Reign in Hell. (Ace Books, 1984) Page 75.
- “Ouch,” said Bishop. Carstairs nodded. “Three days later we was murdered, but he must have started moving them toward Mexico City before then.” Dorothy Gilman. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. (Fawcett, 1966). Page 75