A Talk With God
One day I awoke early in the morning to watch the day start. The sun had yet to make an appearance, but like a light peaking around a dark corner its proximity could be seen. The sky was a deep indigo in the west and brightening quickly in the east with lighter hues of blue, reds, and oranges. I watched the sky change and the stars as they began to fade away. I praised the creation for all its glory. And as I sat there, I felt god’s presence around me.
I waited but god did nothing to breach the stillness. We sat there together and we waited. The sun broke through the horizon and started to climb and we still waited. We must’ve sat there for hours. I began to wonder if he’d ever say anything to me. It should’ve been obvious that his patience was far greater than mine. I began to wonder if he wanted to know if I loved him. After what seem to be an eternity I finally cracked. I finally asked god if he wanted to know how much I loved him.
Not at all, was his quick, short reply.
I was taken aback. Here I was with a prime opportunity to impress god with my devotion and he acts as if he didn’t care. As a young Christian I was always taught that god not only wanted but needed my praise. I started to sulk. God must’ve picked up on my funk. He asked me why I was suddenly moping.
I told god that I wanted him to know that I accepted him as my lord and savior. He asked if that was important to me. I said yes and asked if it was important to him. He said not really.
But I love you, I said. He immediately replied with do you really.
Yes god I love you. You are my lord and savior. If I was physically handicapped I would love you even though it would be difficult for me to do all the things that I take for granted. If I was blind I would love you even though I couldn’t see another sunrise or watch the stars twinkle at night. If I was deaf I would love you even if I could not hear your word. I love you lord because you are the one true god.
God was not impressed. That’s nice was all I got for my declaration.
I asked god what he wanted from me. God said nothing. It was not that he didn’t reply to me. God actually said he needed nothing from me. He continued.
Does that surprise you? Listen, I don’t mean to burst the little bubble of an ego you may carry around but I need absolutely nothing from you. I don’t need some lame profession of how you love me so much but then forget about me the minute you leave my presence. I’m not so insecure that I need to hear you tell me how much you adore me every single time you get ready to stuff food in your mouth, every time you go to bed, every time something wonderful happens in your life. Just because I’m the supreme being doesn’t mean I have the supreme ego.
But don’t you need my worship in your epic struggle against the devil, I asked.
Who? God feigned ignorance through his laughter. I felt like I was being mocked. But god continued. Listen, I can appreciate your gesture. But honestly do you think I spend my time fighting some battle of good and evil with somebody who’s supposed to be, at best, my former protégé. You say you understand me to be so great but then turn around and say god’s having a little difficulty getting rid of that satan guy. What kind of faith does that sound like to you?
But that’s what I’ve been told. I’m just trying to do what’s right. I don’t want to be damned to hell you see. Don’t I get some kind of acknowledgement or dispensation because I’m trying, I asked.
Would you feel better if I said that you’re not going to hell, god asked. I replied immediately with a resounding yes. God laughed and told me not to worry because I’m not going to hell. In fact, god told me that no one was going to hell because there is no hell with a lake of fire or demons with pitch forks wreaking misery on everyone. God asked me how I felt about that.
But aren’t there people who deserve to be damned? Aren’t there people who commit really bad sins who deserve damnation? People like murderers, pedophiles, thieves, you know, real criminals.
Who says they’re criminals?
You did! It says so in the bible. These people committed sins that hurt people.
When did I say that I ever wrote that? And even if I did write it so many thousands of years ago do you know how many people have rewritten it, translated it, explained it, and interpreted it into a mere shadow of its former self? But for the sake of argument, let’s say that it is what I said verbatim. Have you ever hurt anyone?
Well, I guess I have. But not like that. I meant serious hurt.
The people you hurt probably thought it was pretty serious enough to tell you to go to hell. Besides, in that book you say I wrote, does it not tell you to believe that a sin is a sin regardless if it’s a big sin or a little sin?
I lowered my head and said a little yes under my breath. I could hear god’s humor in his voice as he asked me if he condemn everyone to hell who would be left.
But don’t you care, I asked.
God made a sigh as if he was talking to an imbecile. He started talking. You know that tree you planted in your backyard a few years ago. There’s a birds nest in the upper branches. Did you know anything about that? I answered no. God asked if I bothered to make sure the birds were righteous and lived a good life the way birds do. I answered no. God asked if I found out that the birds in the nest were not the original builders, but some interlopers who pushed the original eggs out and let them fall to the ground to be killed would I go into the tree to punish them. I said no. God asked me why not and I answered I didn’t have the time. I have a job and a family to look after. Why would I bother to interfere in the lives of some dumb old birds.
God laughed for a moment and then continued. Didn’t you get the analogy or do I have to spell it out, he said. I’m the supreme being of the universe. Not just this universe but more universes than you could possibly know. The word infinite doesn’t do the actual size of the numbers justice. Each universe has its own set of physical laws and realities that must be shaped and formed. Each universe contains uncountable galaxies and each galaxy has countless planets and each planet can have a population that will run into the millions, billions, trillions, and zillions. And I’m supposed to take my time from what I’m doing across countless universes, galaxies, planets, continents, cities, and people to come back here and make sure that you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
But you’re here talking with me now why don’t you do something that might make a difference in our lives? God replied, and you’re sitting here talking to me right now why don’t you do something to make a difference in those birds’ lives.
So what’s the point in you creating me, us?
What was the point of you planting the tree?
I wanted a nice garden. I wanted a view. I wanted to plant some life to make things better and the yard less barren. I don’t know. And god replied, I wanted a nice universe. I wanted a place to visit. I wanted something that might grow life in harmony with nature. In many ways you and I are very similar. But don’t believe for a second you can understand me or what I’m accomplishing. I really don’t have time to monitor you, your family, your planet, whatever. There is just way too much that has to be done and even a god has his limits. Besides, why should I have to explain myself to you?
You created me in your image.
Slowly god said the single word nooooo. He dragged it out for what seemed like forever. It was more of the I’m talking to an imbecile speech. God continued, you created me in your image. I have no real form to speak of. I created the birds in the tree in your backyard as well. You think they look like me too?
But you created me. I’m your child.
I created the birds too. Are they not my children as well? Do you refer to them as your brothers and sisters, he asked me.
That’s ridiculous. I’m nothing like them. They don’t love you like I love you.
That may be true. But I must say that they don’t need me to constantly stroke their egos like you do either. Instead of constantly looking for some kind of confirmation they are content to just be.
And they don’t bother to improve themselves either, I said with a boast.
And you feel that you can improve what I’ve done? You think your technology and your bank accounts can do things better for you than what I have provided through nature. He let out another huge sigh and he continued with disappointment in his voice. There goes that ego again. I really do need to do something to get that under control for you. Suddenly the disappointment in god’s voice was gone and replaced with a cheerfulness as he said, I know! Now is just about as good as a time as any. He snapped his fingers.
It only took a moment of seconds for it to develop. It grew into a loud roar like a hundred locomotives running at full steam. The wind blew with a force I never knew possible. My heart pounded from the unexpected dump of adrenaline into my blood. I put my hands and arms up to protect my face. The earth started to shake violently and I fell to the ground. I rolled on to my back and looked up at the world around me. Incredibly thick clouds had gathered blotting out the sun and darkening the sky. Flashes of lightening pierced the heavens that were so tranquil just seconds before.
Suddenly a blue-white column of fire from the clouds slammed into the ground not far from me. My reflexes tried to react and get me away from the blast. But I was like a turtle on its back. Instantly I was deaf and blind. My ears rang from the hot explosion of thunder as the air was super heated around me. My eyes burned from the brightness of the lightening strike. Although I was deaf and blind, I could still feel the wind’s pounding and the ground’s rumbling. I tried to scream but I had no idea if I was successful or not.
My ears may not have worked but I heard god’s voice in my head. Where’s your technology now, he asked. How much money can you pay to convince me to stop?
Not bothering to give me a chance to answer either question, the world began to tilt and I started to slide. I couldn’t see but if felt like the ground was opening up and everything around me was being swallowed in. I rolled over to my stomach and tried to climb over whatever I could to get to higher ground. But the wind was pushing against me and I was struggling just to get my arms extended. All of a sudden, as if I had climbed over the edge of the world itself, I started to fall head first into the abyss of darkness waiting for me below. God had lied and I was on my way to hell.
There was an eruption of pain as my vision was restored in a burst of stars.
My face had absorbed the majority of the energy from my impact with the floor. My arms and legs were tangled in the sheets. I was babbling. Random noises came from my throat. The bed clothes were wet and I struggled to escape them. Once clear I staggered to my feet and kicked the sheets aside. I looked around the room as if I was seeing it for the first time. I noticed my pajamas were wet. I pulled at them. I had pissed in my sleep. No real surprise there. My dream felt so real and the world was coming to an end. I was breathing heavily and my pulse was racing. I was having trouble keeping steady on my wobbly legs so I sat on the edge of the wet bed. I started to rub the side of my face trying to massage the pain of my landing away. I looked up around the room again. The dream was all so real. I looked out the window and I saw the tree I planted a few years back. It was if I was seeing it for the first time since it was planted. I heard birds cheerfully chirping their song. I had never noticed them before. I looked around the room a third time. It could have been my imagination, but I would’ve sworn I heard someone laughing.
**** Originally posted March 2007 ****