by Roger Poppen

Once upon a time, God was sitting on His throne in Heaven and He was bored. Oh, the cherubim and seraphim and archangels were nice enough, but He'd known them, like, forever. Lucifer was an interesting fellow but things had gotten out of hand and He'd had to cast him into outer darkness. Darkness. Now there was an idea. He'd make the opposite of darkness, call it Light. He stretched forth His hand and there were suns and moons and stars, and spiral galaxies and nebulae of all colors and shapes and sizes. It was good. But even the most spectacular light show gets old, so God selected a planet, separated water from dry land, and made animals that swam and flew and ran and crawled. As a crowning touch, he created beings in His own image. It was all good. But then Lucifer showed up, like a reptile drawn to a sun-warmed rock, and offered God's special creatures another way of looking at things. Ha, thought God. Game on.

Well, things rapidly went downhill. After a while, God tried giving the planet a good scrubbing and starting over with Noah. Then He sent a short list of rules to Moses, such as don't worship idols or lie or steal or kill or covet your neighbor's wife. This attracted only a small following. He went mano a mano with Lucifer over Job and won big-time, but Job was only one guy. Finally, He paid a visit in human form with a simple message of love: love your neighbor, lift the downfallen, care for the sick and weak. You know how that went over.

But He did one other thing. When He made the planet, He tilted its axis so there would be seasons: Summer - long, hot days for growing; Autumn - a time for harvesting; Winter - dark and cold and barren. And Springtime - light and warmth gradually return, and hope for better days stirs the heart. Hope. Some say hope is a joke, a foolish wish that cannot withstand the clamoring forces of greed and envy. Screw your neighbor. Get all you can while the getting's good and let the Devil take the hindmost. But every year, when a green haze brushes the trees and tiny shoots break thru hard ground, God whispers - keep trying.

Roger took up creative writing after a career as professor and researcher in psychology. He finds making up people more fun than dealing with real ones. See some of his published work at: http://mypage.siu.edu/drrock/
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