Growing up the whole idea of a God-shaped hole in my heart worried me a bit.
Like: a Santa Claus cookie-cutter hole?
But like: God?
So like: Jesus?
(Or maybe like: the Holy-Ghost-as-Halloween-Ghost cookie)?
God’s sharp tin edges palm-jammed straight through the tender meat of my quivering aorta?
Where so much juicy blood flows?
My dad got out of Vietnam for having a tiny hole in his heart from rheumatic fever as a child.
My dad’s dad died of a heart attack the year I was born.
My mom’s dad died of a heart attack the year my brother killed himself (my brother having taken the cookie-cutter approach to slitting his wrists).
My mom died of a heart attack the year I finished my 1000-page auto-biographical novel about her dying of fictional cancer.
My favorite part of Christmas was always my mom and me making the frosted cookies with different Christmas cookie cutters.
My favorite was always the Christmas tree.
Eating Santa Claus was never my favorite.
I am not an Atheist.
But at 45, I’m more than a little lapsed in my Minnesotan Lutheranism.
At 45, I’m more than 300 pounds with bad blood pressure, high cholesterol, and about eight stress disorders.
I don’t have to talk to God to know how I’m gonna die.
I just want to know who’s gonna frost the God-shaped cookie when I go.
BENJAMIN DREVLOW is the author of Bend With the Knees and Other Love Advice from My Father, which won the 2006 Many Voices Project from New Rivers Press, and the author of Ina-Baby: A Love Story in Reverse, which was released by Cowboy Jamboree Books in 2019. His latest story collection is A Good Ram Is Hard to Find, released in 2021 by Cowboy Jamboree Books. His novel The Book of Rusty was released in October 2022, also by CJB.