closing papers and the letter of the law

city building

“sign here and initial here.”

there are many papers to be signed.  we are buying a house, we are selling a house.  the closer across the table has a wide smile and glasses halfway down her nose.

“this paper just says that if there are any typos that you’ll come to the office and resign those documents.”

it’s strange what i’ll sign my name to.

binding contracts with clauses and fine print – one sheet after another.  i’m taking her word for it.  i’m listening to what’s being said out loud.  i’m not taking the time to read through it all myself.

not that it would matter anyway.


the letter of the law is malleable depending on the state of the reader’s heart it seems.

i’ve done that before.

when what i want to do is confirmed around every corner.  i have been so sure of what god would have me do with this one life at one time or another.

when i wanted the approval of my teachers, my friends – of god as i understood god at the time – i signed on the dotted line with my life.

every word agreed and every sentence said what i knew it would say.  there was dew on every fleece.

it’s true, hearts can hold sway over the letter of the law.

and that’s okay, too.

sign here

i run my fingers over dry, cracked lips.

being a human being is a fragile business.

the small points, the tiny white blossoms of queen annes lace of living, feel driven over the past days and months.

we can never be sure of the integrity of our choices and yet we must make them.

how to live an honest life then?

i’ve got some ideas.  do what you love.  get away to the quiet places as often as you can. give away money.  worship god with the upright when possible.

these things seem best to me these days.

finishing touch

“this page shows what you’ll actually pay over the entire 30 years of the mortgage.”

it takes my breath away to look at the totality of what i’m signing my name to.  better just to live today.  this one day.  first today and then tomorrow.

but we sign and initial a little differently this time around.

for one thing, i’m not so sure of myself or of the future.  i sign knowing that houses and places don’t make people happy.  i’m signing aware that god doesn’t readily share his will with humanity, no matter who nods along when you share your plans.

so we sign anyway.  we sign with our lives, carried by the grace that marks us, right on the dotted line once more.  and it’s going to be alright.  i think it really is.

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