Saturday, June 25, 2011

one more thing . . .

What's your image of God?

Many times, I think of God as being Columbo.
You remember him, don't you?

He didn't show up until 30 minutes after the movie
started, but when Lieutenant Columbo arrived on the
scene in 'Prescription: Murder,' one of the most creative
characters in television walked into our lives.  Gene Barry,
as the suave psychiatrist, thought he could easily outwit
this rumpled detective who couldn't even get his act together,
much less solve a murder.  But he was only the first to discover
(as the viewers, who knew from the start who the murderer
was and how it was done, did as well) that this disheveled,
cigar-in-the-corner-of-his-mouth, almost naïve cop was
a genius at what he did.

Columbo didn't 'get his man' (or woman) through pyrotechnics,
shoot-outs, wild car chases (not sure his banged-up Pugueot
could get above 50), or sudden revelations.  He didn't have
some sexy sidekick, though his basset hound called 'Dog' was
cute.  He didn't solve the crime with scientific razzle-dazzle.
He simply walked and talked with folks, especially the suspect.
He watched, waited, observed, pondered.  He picked up on
little clues, and watered them with his patience until they
developed into proof.  He acted the fool, asking innocently
(and aggravatingly), 'oh, one more thing,' so often that the
murderer fell into the trap that this guy didn't have an idea
what he was doing, until he solves the case.

Like Columbo, God already knows what we have done.
We can try to come up with well-thought out alibis, finely
tuned excuses, phrased with great psychological insights
or reasoned rationale, and God will simply stand there,
listen to us, scratch his head, and before going on his way,
turn and say, 'oh, one more thing.'  We can clean up
the mess we have made, bag it up and take it a dumpster
in another neighborhood, shove it deep into those other
messes left by so many others, and God will rummage around
in the pockets of his rumpled trench coat, until he finds the
matchbook or piece of paper we didn't notice had fallen on
the ground, and hand it to us, asking, 'does this belong to you?'
We can think that God is so 'old school,' God is so naïve,
God is so out-of-touch with our world and with us that
he doesn't have an idea of the sleight-of-hand tricks we
are pulling behind his back, but then he drives up in his
dinged car, telling Dog to stay in the seat and behave,
while he walks up to us and simply says, 'I forgot to ask
you before . . .'

Simply following us around - persistent, pushy, pesty -
until we discover the truth about ourselves.

© 2011  Thom M. Shuman

1 comment:

Neale said...

I'm sure you were aware but this coincides with the death last week of Peter Faulks, the actor who played Colombo in the TV series. I was saddened to hear of his death on the radio and yet smiled and laughed during his obituary as I was reminded of his TV character.