Like many writers, I am constantly unearthing random words which I have scrawled on scraps, cryptic ideas that will certainly bloom into a garden – or so I think in the moment. Today I found one that said, “Romans 8:28.” Looking for inspiration, I asked Reverend Google, brother of Doctor Google, for help. The Rev offered many different versions but I found myself drawn to the old guy, King James: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

I clearly remember the day I received the Bible that was all mine, a gift from Lakeview Presbyterian Church upon my confirmation. I was excited to fill out the family tree (foreshadowing) and my childish script bleeds over those pages. It was a Revised Standard Version. Years later, my mother gifted me the traveling Bible of one of my grandfathers, leather bound and zippered, with a special spine to allow it to lie flat regardless of what rough lectern was underneath; King James, of course. Both of my grandfathers were Presbyterian ministers so perhaps theological curiosity runs in my blood.

As a radical eclectic, my beliefs fit no prescribed system. I steal from all with abandon. What resonates as truth for me – and me alone – I take to heart. I ask no human on the planet to share my ideas. I do ask for the freedom to be left in peace with my beliefs. I won’t force mine on you; I appreciate the same respect in return.

My only issue with old King James (reiterated and further qualified in more modern revisions), is the assumption that “all things work for good” only for “the chosen.” The Frozen Chosen, my mind substitutes from all those years in Presbyterian pews. In the Laura Revised Version, the idea is that “all things work for good” for those who actively try to live their lives as good, honest, decent citizens. I’m fairly certain the contents of our hearts, and the evidence of our actions, are more important than lip-service in a prescribed setting.

Maybe the LRV goes like this: “All things work together for good for them who are called to live, love, and act selflessly.” Maybe it’s not letter-of-the-law but I’m aiming for inclusion over exclusion.

There I go again. In the kernel of my soul, I want to believe this. Especially when times are gloomy and sinister and it seems as if all the light has been vanquished. No, somehow, someway, all things work together for good. Still. Even now.

Depending on whether you find this simpatico or blasphemous might dictate if you want to hear what I’ve done with The Lord’s Prayer. I’ve been chewing on that one for decades. I’m very happy with my version but it takes three rounds to complete. Curious? Come to my funeral. Hopefully, many years from now but as the last few years have taught me, “you never know.”

PS: If you haven’t already done so, you should plan your own funeral. It’s freeing and feels good. Just like making out a will, another mandatory.