Milky way: Dana Smith’s Thought for the week
‘We swung the fridge door open...’
It was Sunday and the rain rained and the sun shone. Light spangled where rain and sun mingled as we bustled into Meeting for Worship. When it came time for tea and biscuits, Jane paused by the fridge and asked, ‘Did anyone get the milk?’
Mitch, standing alongside, said, ‘Don’t worry Jane. God gets the milk.’
Opening the refrigerator, they found rice milk, cow, almond and even cream waiting inside.
Mitch smiled. Kay said nothing. She’d been to the shop last night and placed the many types of milk there early that morning.
As we readied to leave, Kay asked, ‘Who’ll get the milk next week?’ Daisy the anarchist painter, who didn’t like to worry about these things, looked heavenward. ‘God will get the milk just like this week. Remember?’ She winked at Mitch. So that was that.
Next week came.
The wind blustered. The sky spat sleet; umbrellas were pummelled into bat-winged tines. Friends sat in worship, teeth chattering as the Covid safety team threw open the windows.
After Meeting, we were ready for a cuppa. As we approached the kitchen, Kay spoke tentatively: ‘I hope God got the milk.’
The painter didn’t say anything. We swung the fridge door open to find a block of mouldy Parmesan, a carton of cranberry juice, and behind it a jug.
Attached to the jug, a tag in flowing script read, ‘This milk is good until today.’
As we washed up, Sally the socialist asked, ‘Shall I get the milk next week? Save God the strain?’
‘Good idea,’ said Kay, hiding a sigh of relief.
So that was that.
Next week came and Sally tested positive for Covid, so no milk arrived. When we went to the fridge to check, just in case God had, well, remembered the milk, an emptiness yawned blue, cold and wide.
But then Sally’s friend strode in, bike helmet still on, cradling oat, almond and dairy, all swaddled in a sack like a small child.
Mitch, pondering to himself, said ‘Reality is so much more than we’ll ever be able to think. God gets the milk. Though the flowers fade and we wither like grass, milk arrives. In many forms. Time after time.’
I bowed my head.
Kay said nothing.
While wiping down trays, a few of us noticed some spilled milk. It looked like a cameo of Elizabeth Fry. We took a photo. Later, when Eve examined it, she felt she saw a greater likeness to James Naylor. Mitch said Margaret Fell. Maybe.
Walking home, Kay added milk to her grocery list. Eve decided that in the new year she’d drink only herbal tea. Light, which humans sometimes saw as a milk, continued to stream through the galaxy.
The fridge hummed on in a song akin to silence.
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