Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
I expected to spend a glittering white winter’s day in solitude fasting; but I was robbed of fasting by the find of fishes. Then, I was robbed of fishes by the thief who took my solitude.
He says he makes his way by stealing from the pagans who believe in earth things too small to notice and maybe he steals from Christians who believe in the One who is too vast for human imagination.
He tells of the pagan myths of elves. They sneak into hovels where parents prepare loving gifts for their children. The children are led to believe the elves were the generous benefactors rather than the parents. The children leave milk and cakes out for these stealthy elves and the thief eats the goodies so the myth is affirmed. The myth steals the parent’s love. The thief eats the cakes.
“So how is it” I ask, “that you steal from Christians? Christians don’t leave out the cakes and milk. We make our gifts at churches.”
“You are such a Christian to believe there is a distinction. I get my gorge from Christians the same as I do from the pagans. When Christians say, ‘sure you can’t see God, but you can see the mighty works of God, and in that way you know God.’ Then the Christians themselves do the kindnesses in the name of God.”
“We are driven by empathy for the needy. We first learn of gracious abundance noticing God’s grace all around us. But that is probably hard to do for one who believes they are the most important thing in the universe. In fact God is the all of it. I can see how you miss the point. Without God it is hard to see so far beyond yourself.”
The creek is cascading from the rocks once again, and the sun is piercing holes in the ice on the water just now with droplets flowing from fine tendrils of ice hanging off twigs and rocks all around. The thief is sitting by this fire that was left and he has eaten all three of the fishes. Ice, water, mist, this fellow has no use even for the transparent waters that flow around us; he knows only the debris on the edges.
Dear God, I know you are a truth that can’t be stolen from me, thank you. I love you too.
I leave the thief to go gather firewood for us both.