Chisme, oh that succulent dish sold and served with a side of snide words wrapped in caring concern for your health. People urge you to unpackage your heart. They slop it, boiled or roasted, on a plate of I-told-you-so’s, sumptuous and steaming. They plunge their teeth into chile picante comments, those juicy and spicy words. They wound and scrape, sticking to forks, pitching tongues. People munch their meal, this food. You, too, relish it. Each morsel you savor. Until the flavor floats and reaches your stomach. You chew and wonder why the special of the day tastes so familiar.
Not that you couldn’t reach Him if you tried (maybe you couldn’t) but that you no longer try. Your last real prayer? In a plane, beseeching Him, don’t let me die. How actual He seems at 30 thousand feet, how passionately you love Him in your hope for solid ground. Not unlike that day you first felt Him ripping through your heart, you driving fast, believing you’d foiled gravity, dendrites of rain flowing up your windshield, the sting of joy like spearmint in your mouth, and now how improbable He seems. That Whoever made the stars would even notice. You! A word in His mouth? And yet you miss Him. If it could be true! You think of trying to reach Him, tell Him you’ve reconsidered.
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).