Sounds Messed Up

"I believe Mr. Crealock had people in the Flint Hills," he remarked.
"Who's Crealock?" Hood asked.
"Preacher I knew once. Not a regular preacher - he had no church is what I'm saying. He'd had two or three but kept losing them. He'd drink too much, or forget himself and go to a dance, or play cards. I owe a lot to Crealock," Glendon added.
"Sounds messed up," came Hood's voice from under the car.
"I suppose he was," said Glendon. "He was kind to me, though, and taught me to read - that's worth something, I think."

- Leif Enger, So Brave, Young, and Handsome

I don't know if I ever was or ever will be a regular preacher. Not sure I ever even aspired to such a descriptor. I still believe God has something in the cards for me in regard to writing. Now there are days when that seems like a full-blown mirage and that Greek chorus in my head sings Crazy. But then there are also days when a gaunt figure on an old nag rides through the middle of those Greeks and belts out: and the world will be better for this, that one man, scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to reach the unreachable star. Such is the drama in my noggin'. Not a trace of "regular."

But, I started out a preacher; that's how my fabric was cut. One man told me, "John, even if you're baking cakes, you'll do it pastorally." If I remember correctly, someone told Thomas Moore the same thing and he puttered around until he was almost broke and then wrote Care of the Soul which gained him a little exposure and he "preaches" his gospel nowadays. But more than a few folks (a Greek chorus) thought that book was "messed up" - the implication being so is Thomas Moore. I liked that book. It helped me fight more than one windmill.

So, maybe if I'll keep writing, keep being faithful to string words together into sentences that make paragraphs that lead to chapters that sometimes grow into books, I might yet get the opportunity to preach a little. Then again, maybe that's an impossible dream. Still, I wonder sometimes if someone like Glendon Hale will say something like this about me:

"I believe Mr. Blase had people in Arkansas."
"Who's Blase?"
"Preacher I knew once. Not a regular preacher - he had no church is what I'm saying. He had three, but walked away from them for one reason or another. He'd doubt too much, or forget himself and spout poetry from the pulpit like it was scripture, or hint at maybe Grace trumping all cards in the end. I owe a lot to Blase," Glendon added.
"Sounds messed up."
"I suppose he was," said Glendon. "He was kind to me, though, and always reminded me of old Quixote - that's worth something, I think."


  1. Lemme quote another dear friend, "Sweeeeet!"

  2. Yep, Messed up dear preacher who I dearly love and miss. Messed up or perhaps just plain real.

  3. Lindsay, I don't have a credible email address for you. Not asking you to post it here, but the OBU one's not working.

    Regardless, thank you.

  4. Hello, my name is Gretchen, and I'm messed up, too. Praise God.