LC Van Savage
One Good Deed Deserves A Green Check
I’ve written about my grandmother before; you know, the daughter of a fire-breathing Presbyterian minister named, yes, Angus King, who insisted all my young life that the world was made up of only two factions; Presbyterians and The Heathen. I always wondered if she considered me The Heathen since I was raised in the Episcopalian church but I think dear grandmother forgave me, although she was disinclined.
One other thing she sternly advised me about was the issue of the Big Book. “God,” she’d say when she caught me in a falsehood (back then they weren’t blatant lies, they were falsehoods) “is watching you constantly and each time you lie or do any of those bad things you think I don’t know about young Elsie, he puts great big red Xs in that Big Book he stands guard over and he puts them right next to your name. If however, you do some good things, and I notice you’re not doing an awful lot of those lately young Elsie, he’ll put big green check marks on your pages. Now then, when you die and there are more Xs than checks, well my child, you won’t be visiting me or anyone else in heaven.”
Wow. Pretty heavy stuff. That Big Book used to hang in the sky over my head like a stealth bomber, and while I never actually saw it, I could describe it perfectly. Extra large pages, around 4’ x 5’, my name scrawled in huge letters on lots of them. Enormous, heavy black cover with “THIS BELONGS TO GOD. KEEP OUT OR HEAD SOUTH,” hammered across the front in big Gothic golden letters. His pen is huge, heavy gold, encrusted with big, gaudy diamonds (hey, even God enjoys the occasional decadence) and it simply never runs out of celestial ink.
Now don’t go all sputtery on me. Do I know if this is true? Do you know it’s not? Anything’s possible and when it comes to Big Books in the sky, I keep a very open mind just in case.
I’m in my 60's now and fear there’s perhaps a serious dearth of check marks in that dreaded Big Book I may gaze into sooner than I’d like, so I’m working on stacking the odds in my favor by trying to do at least one good deed each 24 hour period. Doesn’t matter what it is really. Doesn’t have to be a big noble thing.
I picked up a shirt off the floor of Sears the other day. That took care of Thursday. When I took granddaughter Jordan to a tennis lesson recently I patched up the skinned knee of a young beauty named Madison. That nailed Friday. Monday I saved a Wooly Bear from being squished on my street and yes it is going to be a very bad winter. I’ve cut way down on my cussing and don’t have to pour so much money into the big ceramic Swear Pig on our hearth nearly as often as I used to. Does that merit a check mark?
I suspect I earned an X for eating 3/4 of the Hallowe’en candy I’d just bought but cancelled that out by stopping short of running over a bad tempered red squirrel in uptown Brunswick. That’s a check earned, right?
I wish I could say I recently saved a baby from a burning building because surely that’s worth at least five checks, but it’s hard to find that situation happening too often, although I remain hopeful. And pulling a puppy from a frozen river has to merit multiple checks too, especially if I fall in during the saving process, but I never seem to be around when those pups go down.
It’s hard to do big, noticeable good deeds every day. No one much remembers when you do ‘em anyway, but The Big Book Dude apparently does. At least according to the Presbyterians.