It seems I am no monk. It turns out I cannot sit with suffering without saddling it with an ill-fitting God. Who knows what tipped me over, another Christmas and its neon grin, the living dead at Wal-Mart pushing their loaded carts through the aisles, the class I taught on child soldiers in Uganda, the way the Lord’s Resistance Army kidnaps boys and forces them to beat another child to death. Each day a new boy in the camp is chosen. I sat there, after the lecture, wondering what happens to the body: is it pounded like steak until it is limp and soft, and how do they kill a child with such small fists and feet? As the boy looks up through the pummeling does he see a kind of God waiting for him, smiling? Does he know instinctively, like the bee and the hummingbird, how to find nectar? I need to know — one day, will it happen; will I swallow a God who can handle all of this, my eyes watering as I hold Him down? Will the bitter potion turn to wine and I feel warm and giddy, sitting in the front pew of the Church of the Holy Light, the sun’s giant paw resting on my back? In spring, my mother will die. I will smell another impossibly thick fist of cherry blossom. When I take her body into the woods, when I think I can’t bear the loss, the light fading, and I sink to my knees, will there be a God that I move toward like nectar, or will a God surface from within? What I want is this: after they lower her body into the earth, I won’t believe my good fortune when a God shows up and lets down His rain of reassurance, and I sit in awe, like the first time my milk came in, and I lay there in the moss, my whole blouse sopping.