Jackie's a nurse: She understands service. But the thing in her heart doesn't. The thing crouching in her is the most important thing there is, a tiny king with a tiny kingdom, and the real world is not as real as the world in there. And I mean, we're all like this, it's why people pray, so they can get away from the responsibility of being God for a second. To remember we are small. And to remember that there is something bigger, that loves us more than we can ever properly understand. Kings can't kneel before that.
So when the person breaks down and goes to rehab, or hits rock bottom and goes all Jesus, or joins the Army or priesthood, that's the same as prayer. Even nuns washing the flagstones do it in Christ's service; everything that rises must converge, especially if you're on your knees. There's a reason for the recurring language around this stuff: "break," "rock bottom." The will of the thing within you has been broken for the good of something greater. Whether that's your life, or your family, or society, or God, I don't really see a difference.
Even the greatest rational atheist has to understand that your personal perception of things is not the sum total of things. Even addicts have regrets. Even the biggest Ayn Rand asshole has noticed that the decisions you make in the heat of a Monday start looking pretty stupid by Friday. Those are the places where your little ego, the tiny king, isn't standing at the moment: Those grey areas where you could have done better, and didn't.
If you add them all together, that's everything: Everything you think you know plus everything you don't know right now. And in that chaos is the best possible you, struggling to get out. And you're a lot closer to that once you realize the kingdom's bigger than the king, and that he owes his life to it -- not the other way around. But until you are broken, or something breaks you, or you dive in there, you're not going to see them, and you will not find peace. Because in those grey places, in the shadowy sweaty angry places we're too afraid to look: That's where God resides.
Now I ask you, does any of that sound like something Jackie Peyton would ever be interested in doing?
Zoey and Lenny are right up to third base when Eleanor and Jackie hear them, and investigate. Zoey leaps to her feet with her hands in the air, like she's sticking an Olympic landing: "Fully clothed!" Eleanor and Jackie nearly salute her. "In a chapel? Really trashy!" Eleanor smiles, and they vanish.
Coop has decided to get Sam fired after all. Gloria is not having that; there's a nursing shortage across America, thanks to a bunch of factors having to do with money and gender and status that we all know about. "But he broke my nose!" Gloria points out it was already broken, from the War of Zoey's Boobs. Sam mentions that Coop slept with his girlfriend, and Gloria's incandescent: "Really, Dr. Cooper. You get to be a doctor, isn't that enough?" Awesome. The judgment is that Sam's probation is extended -- "You can thank me by not assaulting any more of my staff" -- and Coop's imaginary chain of command doesn't come into it. Sam shoves by Coop, who whines, and Gloria presents him with the bill: Six more weeks as the Face of All Saints. Apropos of nothing, she shouts, "Someone! Is smoking!"
Oh, Kevin's hot on the trail. He finds the post office box, and the bill for all the pharmacies, and puts it together.
Gloria's in pursuit as well: She climbs up into the ceiling at Emergency, far above their heads. The something smoking, the something Coop heard. Last year it was rats. "Jesus Christ, it's God," she grits. Cramped in half, smoking a cigarette, watching his flock from above. "You're smoking!" she gasps, and he promises her he can do two things at once. He's God, after all. She tells him to go home, across the street, and he says he can't: They're fumigating his place for vermin.
Up here, "It's cozy, and I can keep an eye on shit. I'm not ready to walk among you. There's a lot of pain down there." But in her office, she promises, there are on the other hand candy bars. And a TV. God has needs, but they're pretty simple.
"Now you tell me where and when to meet you because otherwise, I'm coming down there and you can deal with me then. Your choice." Oh, Kevin is so mad!
God asks to smoke a cigarette, taking down that chocolate bar like it done him wrong. Gloria says God's landlord said he can go back in the morning, and God's free to stay at All Saints -- "below the ceiling" -- until then. "You are good," he says, and it's a benediction.
Jackie's mugging victim appears, still toting that bouquet (and those teeth!), and Gloria sends him to the nurses' station. "I got a bad feeling about that guy," God says when he's gone, and shushes him: "Now is that any way to talk about one of your flock?" God promises her Mr. Martin is not one of his. But is Jackie?
Coop stares longingly at the Face of All Saints, ten feet high, mourning what was once his nose. Jackie's in the bathroom, snorting a bunch of drugs into hers. Outside the stall is Sam, barely standing; she's terrified for a moment, but he slides to the floor. She drags him inside to figure it out, and leans him against the wall, hushing him as he starts into a diatribe about how she doesn't like him. The door opens, sending Jackie's heart into another tailspin, and Zoey enters.
"Lenny, this is my mom. Mom, this is Lenny."
Hello, Mrs. Barkow. What's up?
"Isn't she great?"