Skip to main content

Let the Light of Heaven Shine on Me

Garrison Keillor: I live in a prosperous and civilized land and I thought that four men and one woman in black robes might bring democracy to a shuddering halt. Forgive my cynicism.
light of heaven

I’m ashamed that I imagined the Supreme Court might overturn the election. It goes to show how far down the river of unreality a man can go, even a man who has authored books. (Okay, fiction, but still.) I imagined they might go on to overturn Newton’s first law of motion but instead they turned the president upside down and held him by his ankles until, despite powerful spray-on adhesives, his hair hung down.

I confessed my self-deception in church Sunday, which now I attend in my pajamas, sitting in the kitchen, watching on a screen as clergy in vestments process around the sanctuary and ascend into the pulpit. It makes me feel more like a penitent than when I dressed up as a bank vice president to attend in person — here I sit, O Lord, unwashed, uncombed, undeodorized, in a T-shirt and sackcloth pants, cup of black coffee in hand. I live in a prosperous and civilized land and I thought that four men and one woman in black robes might bring democracy to a shuddering halt. Forgive my cynicism.

I live in a prosperous and civilized land and I thought that four men and one woman in black robes might bring democracy to a shuddering halt. Forgive my cynicism.

The rector stood in the pulpit and reminded us that it is Advent, not yet Christmas, a time of waiting and repentance, a full about-face U-turn if necessary. The Gospels are not secretive. “Love your neighbor as yourself” suggests that no child should go hungry or suffer lousy schooling, the sick should be tended to, the trash-talkers should think again. Pajama Man, who doubted the Supremes, is resolved to be hopeful. Change is possible. The newspaper lands in my Inbox now, and there is oat milk in the fridge. My phone lights up and a friendly face appears, my daughter is FaceTiming me from London. We never had that verb before, just two-timing and mistiming.

I read that on December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so close to each other in the sky that they’ll seem like one bright star, a conjunction that hasn’t occurred since the early 17th century and won’t occur again until 2080. I would be 138 in 2080 and so this month appears to be my one chance to reap whatever benefit the bright star might confer and who can say what that might be? I wish it would make us smarter. Clear thinking is one thing a great many of us need. We’re all feeling a little smug because we had a president who set a low standard. The man couldn’t even tell a joke. Humor was not in his toolbox. So compared to him, we felt rather good about ourselves. Now we need to work a little harder to ratiocinate. I am going to go outside on December 21 and let the light shine on me and think about algebra and see if any of it comes back to me or if I remember the Sermon on the Mount.

Time to refresh our understanding of the basic building blocks of adult life:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

There is only so much you can do and you ought to do that much and if you do you’ll find there is more you can do so try that too. The way to get something done is to do it. The way to stop is to stop. When all is said and done, there is plenty to be done and that goes without saying.

Don’t stick beans up your nose. Acts have consequences. Step on a crack and break your mother’s back. Life is too short for that and it’s getting shorter every day. On the other hand,don’t buy cheap shoes.

Lighten up. It could be worse. Be grateful that it isn’t. I could compile a Worse list but you already know what’s on it. Granted, it is a challenge to live intimately with your best-informed critic but do your best. The cure for a horrible day is to go to bed early and start over in the morning.Long walks help, so I am told.

When you are defeated, concede gracefully and go on to the next order of business. Your friends are fond of you but they have other things to do than deny reality in your behalf. Do what you need to do, go to Florida, and hire better lawyers.

GARRISON KEILLOR

And go outside next Monday night and let the light shine into our skulls. We were made in the image of God and it is time to start doing better. Care for the children, save the planet, stop hallucinating and pay attention. 

Garrison Keillor
Prairie Home Productions