Saint? More Like an Ain’t

FYI, the first two paragraphs of this post have absolutely nothing to do with the actual subject.

the ain'tsLately, I’ve struggled here at But Not Yet. Topics have been hard to come by, the words have flowed haltingly (if it at all) and the numbers have sucked. Basically, I was burning out. Last week, I even began to wonder if this thing had run its course and it was time to find another avenue for the tiny bit of creative spirit I am possessed by. It was all a bit depressing.

Then, Terry Smith posted a Facebook status about something called NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month. According to the website, NaNoWriMo “is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing” where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write fiction and it seemed like this was as good a time to start as any, so I decided to take some time off from But Not Yet and do it. I mean, it’s like things were going that all great here. As usual, almost as soon as I made that decision, things started looking up. I had a couple of days with great numbers and ideas started coming out of the woodwork. So, I’m going to try to keep things up here as well as working on some fiction.

One of the ideas that popped up this weekend reared its head at church during the All Saints Sunday service. As I listened, I started wondering what, exactly, is a saint?  With my definition fetish, you know I had to look it up. Like most words, there are several meanings. Of course, there’s Catholic version where the individual is formally canonized and there’s the way the original Christians used the word: any believer who is “in Christ” and in whom he dwells. There were a few others and it seemed to me the common denominator in all of them was holiness. As in, “a person of great holiness, virtue or benevolence”. If that’s what it takes to be a saint, I am most certainly not one. If anything, I’m an ain’t.

Years ago, when I was in the Air Force, I had a friend named Sid who hailed from New Orléans. This was back in the bad old days of the New Orléans NFL franchise when fans wore bags over their heads during games to hide their shame and said they weren’t the Saints, they were the Ain’ts. Like, they ain’t no good, or they ain’t ever going to win a game. I’m an ain’t instead of a saint because I ain’t ever been holy and virtue and benevolence ain’t in my bag of tricks. Of course, the New Orléans Ain’ts never gave up. They kept the faith and one day, they weren’t the Ain’ts anymore; they were the New Orléans Saints and nobody wears a bag over their head these days. Does that mean if I believe and keep following Jesus, one day I’ll be all holy and virtuous and benevolent? Who knows? But, they do say, with God, all things are possible…