Moments in Morton

I live in Morton, Ill. – a village of roughly 16-thousand people that’s ten miles east of Peoria. We moved here almost a year ago from a western Chicago suburb. It’s a nice town. I have no complaints.

It is a very religious place. There are many churches, and people here often drop religious language into their everyday conversation.

I am not a religious man. But I don’t mind religious expression, or beliefs for that matter. As long as they respect me, I’ll respect them. And as long as we all behave like decent human beings, I think we can get along. I consider that kind of tolerance and mutual understanding a proud American tradition.

But sometimes I just don’t get religious folks.

Yesterday I had occasion to be away from my desk. I went to a local coffee house – Eli’s – to get a mug and do some work. I walked into a side room where a woman was sitting quietly with her eyes closed, resting. We were the only two in the small room. I set up my laptop and started working.

Her cellphone rang. She answered. I didn’t set out to overhear her conversation. But it was quiet, and she spoke in a normal tone of voice to whomever was on the other end.

She mentioned she had walked down to Eli’s while waiting for something. Then she mentioned that some people were evaluating something and that it might need a “flush” and some other work. Ah, I think I got it – car repair. She was getting her car serviced, and it needed a coolant or transmission fluid flush. The way she spoke it seemed like the other person on the end of the line agreed that it might indeed need a flush. She expressed some concern about it, and a little later in the conversation said something like, “Well, it’s in God’s hands now.”

God’s hands?

This is likely a deeply religious woman – quite sincere in her beliefs. Many such people believe in a personal lord and savior – a supernatural entity that’s looking out for them at all times and giving them strength.

But does she really think that the almighty creator and monitor of the universe is supervising her car repair?

Does God have time to think about a coolant flush?

She hung up and left a short time later. I hope her car is running smoothly.

Now, to be fair, it could be that the person on the other end quickly changed subjects and mentioned that a close friend or relative was sick or had some other such personal calamity.

Maybe. But from the flow of the conversation, it sure didn’t sound that way.

And I like to think I’m right.

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