Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sisyphus Speaks

[The reporter arrives in the underworld shortly before Sisyphus begins pushing his rock up the hill.]
S: I wondered if I was going to see you again.
R: I brought some biscuits straight from the oven. They're from my mother's recipe and I cooked up some country ham. Thought they would make the day go a little better. And I stopped by McDonald's and got you some coffee.
S: I'm afraid I don't have time for the biscuits and ham, maybe on the way back down. I will take a slug of the coffee. If it's too hot, can I sue?
R: Cute. Cold biscuits and ham it will be.
S: Oh well. Here goes, one more time. [starts pushing the rock up the hill]
R: [He walks along side of Sisyphus. He can talk to the old man but cannot help him in anyway.] You'll never believe the trouble I've had, getting permission to continue these interviews. At first, my editor thought I was delusional. She didn't believe my story about falling and finding myself in the underworld and she really didn't believe that I had arranged to interview you. In order to convince her to let me stay with the story, I had to write a proposal and have it approved by the editorial board.
S: [grunts] How'd that go?
R: I'm going to call the series, “Thank God It's Monday.” Here, I'll read you what I submitted:
“In our 24/7 culture, one's work week doesn't necessarily begin on Monday and end on Friday but we all understand and are impacted by the Monday-Friday work routine and respond to a time of rest. We all know the refrain, “TGIF.”
Here's a word for the people of faith who are fortunate enough to have a job. If God is truly the Lord of all Creation, we should give thanks for Mondays as well as Fridays. Monday, whenever it happens, calls us to productive work. The hungry are fed, the sick restored to health, the homeless housed, the despondent encouraged in the Monday world. Love and justice, grace and peace, joy and fulfillment are translated into reality in the Monday world.
Your work may not seem to make all that much of a difference. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. But if we look for grace notes in what we are doing, we may find that even the boring and mundane can be redeemed. Sabbath is a time of reflection, celebration, healing, and preparation. Sunday is a time of renewal of vision and strength. A forgiven and rested people can be a forgiving people. The Gospel is validated by how we do business and make love. Monday is the chance to do our job and to put love and justice into action. I am aware of the pain and suffering that happens when folks have no job. But whether we are employed or not, Monday gives us all the chance to reflect of the Grace of our loving God.”
[The Reporter had more to say, of course, but this is the gist of it. He waited until Sisyphus tried once more to push the rock over and when he failed they started to walk back down the hill.]
S: I'll take a ham biscuit now. You said this is your mother's recipe?
R: My mother made the best biscuits. My Dad was a man of few words and he rarely complimented my mother or anyone else. But I heard him say, more that once, as mother was taking the biscuits out of the oven, “Son, take your elbows off the table, cause when your mother puts her biscuits on the table, if you bump it, the biscuits will float up and you'll have to catch them.” Mother wouldn't say anything but I could always tell how pleased she was. On occasion I would say, “Mother, your biscuits are absolutely perfect.”
S: What did your mother say to that?
R: She would always say, “Thank you, but you need to understand that there's no such thing as a perfect biscuit. Don't waste your time looking for perfection.
S: I think she's right. But I have to tell you, these biscuits are good.
R: So, what do you think about “Thank God, It's Monday?”
S: I have to admit, it makes a lot of sense to this old pagan. I predated Christianity and I'm not sure my character would make me much of a disciple anyway. I tried everything I could, not to get into this predicament. But the reason Camus calls me an absurd hero is that I will not let Zeus win. If I have to push the rock, I'll not only push the rock, I'll embrace it. And I simply will not become a grumpy old man. I control my disposition.
R: And on that note, we're at the bottom of the hill and I'll have to leave you. Thanks for the day. [The reporter leaves with more to think about.]

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