The Finger of God

“I have touched the very finger of God.”

It seems an arrogant statement to make, I know. Yet it is true… I have.

I was not responsible for the touch. Man is always reaching up to touch the hem of God’s robe, but to experience a touch from the Almighty requires divine grace on his part: an act of reaching down.

There have been many times throughout history when he chose people to be his instrument – where he reached down and nudged someone with instruction or direction. We chosen aren’t always the model of propriety or what humankind would necessarily expect to be God’s vessel, yet we have received an undeniable touch and must share his message.

I didn’t seek it or expect it. I stumbled into it – almost like a bully-poke in the chest… not aggressive, but certainly firm and meaningful. If I had heard his voice, I think he would have said, “This way, dummy. Don’t miss this thing I’ve created.”

I believe that when we step outside our mortal bodies and enter heaven, limitations are removed. While earthbound, our ability to understand the world around us is confined to that which our five senses can perceive. For example, on this earth, we deal in a pallet of viewable colors. In heaven, the supply of colors is endless – 1,000,000 crayons to name. But in that rare instance when God chooses to lay his finger on a mere mortal, he allows us to experience the joy to come when we will no longer wear mortal blinders. That is the full-sensory extravaganza I enjoyed. It was a luxurious, indescribable bliss which has made me yearn even more for my heavenly home.

Of course, it happened in the South – that place still described as the Bible Belt. A place given to beauty, manners, and charm where God leans a little closer. While I must admit that the “belt” is nearly rusted through and Southerners are becoming as hedonistic and immoral as the rest of the heathens, there are still enough churches per square mile that God can skip from place to place without touching the ground. That’s gotta count for something.

When you receive a touch from God, you also receive an immediate call to share it with others. I don’t mean to insert myself in the same conversation as St. Paul, Martin Luther, or Gandhi. But I now understand their unselfish need to write a few Epistles, start the Reformation, or lead the Indian people to freedom. God’s touch is an urging, a stirring within that cannot be denied.

I have felt that touch… from the very finger of God and he has asked me to share this word with you mortals walking the earth:

“Thou shalt not miss the opportunity to indulge in a deep-fried Oreo!”




On a recent trip to Stone Mountain, I stood next a shop selling funnel cakes, when God nudged me with a childhood memory of a Denver amusement park. He pushed me into the little shack where behold, the heavenly choir sang and an ethereal light brightened around menu item number 6: Deep Fried Oreos. I bought two orders to share with my people… That which is important to God must be shared.

I’m telling you, the most decadent, unbelievable party for your taste buds you will ever experience this side of heaven.


Deep-fried Oreos, people!

My work here is done. I’m spent. I wonder how big the deep-frier is in heaven?



The Start of the Parade

In the distance I hear the band warming up – not a single note piercing the air sounds right. Each is singular, isolated, and the sound of them issuing from so many instruments almost hurts the ear. It is not melodious or rich. It sounds a mess.

People young and old run and walk around me, depending on their ability. The youngest citizens are aided by the hands of parents who steady their wobbly steps. The elderly are aided by their children, their children’s children, or a kind neighbor. No one is alone.

Excitement is high. I can see the shopkeepers giving out red, white, and blue buttons, pinwheels, and balloons on sticks to anyone who wants them. Somehow, today isn’t about profit or loss. Those cares will wait until tomorrow. Competition forgotten, today they smile together and serve.

The entire of Main Street is lined with flags – 48 white stars, seven red stripes, and six white. My own native flag boasts the same colors but in a much different configuration. I never saw it displayed so much when my home was there. Of course, as countries go, mine is old and gray while this one is but a newborn. In the latter years, one doesn’t celebrate birthdays with quite as much vigor as a youngster. One hundred and fifty years old today, I’m reminded.

This little town of Portsong is like any other in the country. It boasts nothing outside its borders that make it unique. It is known for nothing, remembered by few, and can’t seem to grow despite the mayor’s efforts. Yet there is something special here. While I cannot put my finger on it or label it properly, there is something that made this old Brit stay and set up shop.

I believe the allure is in the small details.  For instance, I have been asked to join the festivities no less than seventeen times since I came and sat on this bench. Five of those offers came from people I do not know and four more came from people who saw me at a distance and went far out of their way to make their inquiry. I have been here since just after sunrise and it is now nearly eleven o’clock. In that time, I have counted forty-three people of various ages who have passed me. Forty-two of them shared a smile and kind word with me. The only one who did not was little Esther Parsons and being two, she was in the middle of a fit about her bonnet, I believe.

In most places I have been, an old man on a bench can blend in… be anonymous… simply fade away into background. Not here. In this place this old man has been knitted into the fabric of the community so tightly that I believe I would be missed if I left. Yes, I believe there would be a hole in the quilt if I or anyone else took flight. And that is the loveliness of Portsong. Does it exist in other small towns? I am certain to some degree. It is certainly here to stay. As am I.


The parade is about to start. As I leave my seat aided by the hand of a beautiful child with golden ringlets, I hear the marching band leading the way. No longer are they clanging individuals striking off on their own notes. Now they play as one group. Their sound gets closer. It is beautiful, melodious, and wonderful. Like this place, it is a collection of people working together in harmony.

I truly love it here.


-Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle

July 4, 1926