3:46 PM Thursday April 26, 2007
SCENE: A cramped and messy apartment, somewhere on the West Coast. Laurie sits at her desk. The phone rings.
It is God.
God: Hey LK. What’s shakin’? You had a birthday recently.
LK: I did God..thanks for remembering. Hey, this is a real surprise. You never call me.
God: I felt like talking.
LK: What are you up to?
God: Oh, you know. I’m like the McDonald’s of redemption. I answer six billion prayers a day. I wake up the next morning and there are six billion more.
LK. We mortals are a pesky, relentless bunch.
God: Yes, you are, but I love ya. Anything on your mind?
LK: Yeah, there is. God, there’s a lot of crap in the world now. Heavy stuff happening. I just don’t understand why things are the way they are.
God: I know. Most of it’s hard to wrap your head around. Like why Eddie Murphy didn’t win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Dreamgirls”. And of course, there’s the whole Sanjaya thing.
LK: What was that all about?
God: Sanjaya? Oh for that, you can thank all the girls in the fifth grade class of the The Palmer School in Winnetka, Illinois.
God: Prayer circle.
LK: Interesting. Why then was Sanjaya voted off “American Idol”?
God: For that, you can thank all the the boys in the fifth grade class of The Palmer School in Winnetka, Illinois.
LK: That’s pretty funny. Still, it seems odd that we’re praying for Sanjaya when there are so many other things that need your attention.
God: People pray for a lot of different things. What’s pressing to some, won’t be to others. I don’t rate prayers or prioritize them. If you need something, you ask me, I hear you.
LK: But do you always answer every prayer?
LK: Doesn’t seem like it.
God: I do. Take you for example. There was that little issue of penis envy in fourth grade? Remember that? You prayed to me, asking me to turn you into a boy. I answered your prayer by keeping you a girl.
LK: But you didn’t give me what I wanted. I really wanted to become a boy. And by the way, WHAT was I thinking?
God: Please! You were eight years old at the time and no, I didn’t give you what you wanted, but I gave you what you needed. Don’t get me wrong. Sure, I could’ve done it. I could’ve snapped my fingers and you’d have gone from Laurie to Larry in a flash. But that’s not what you needed. That’s not what Madolyn Welsh needed, either.
LK: Madolyn Welsh? My college roommate?
God: If you wouldn’t have been you, you wouldn’t have gone to college, moved into the dorm and you wouldn’t have roomed with Madolyn. When her mother was killed in that car crash that fall, you wouldn’t have been there to help her. That was a very difficult and trying time for Madolyn. She needed you and you needed to be there. And the fact that you were there made a difference. It saved her life. Saved yours too. Remember? You were having a very tough Freshman year.
LK: I remember. What would the alternative have been for both of us?
God: You don’t want to know.
God: One life affects so many others in ways you aren’t even aware of. We’re talkin’ real “It’s A Wonderful Life” stuff.
LK: I’m glad I was there for Madolyn.
God: And be glad she was there for you. It wouldn’t have worked in any other way. Did you know she went on to become a doctor? A surgeon. She saves lives everyday and you helped make that possible.
LK: I had no idea. We lost track of each other our Senior year. I’m glad she’s doing well.
God: She is.
LK: You know God, there’s something I don’t understand. If you intervened with things all those years ago with Madolyn and me, please explain what happened at Virginia Tech? Where were you? And while we’re at it, let’s address the Challenger explosion and September 11th. Why didn’t you intervene then? A lot of people are asking that question.
God: I was on campus at Virginia Tech. I was on board the Challenger and I was also in New York; at the Pentagon and in that field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania five and a half years ago.
LK: But why did all of those…….
God: Those things happened because sometimes, bad things happen. For these people? It was their time.
LK: That seems so simplistic! Especially coming from you! As if I’m supposed to take that as an answer and be OK with it!
LK: Then why didn’t you prevent these things from happening?
God: I gave humans free will.
LK: That explains nothing.
God: That explains everything. For every action there is a reaction. That’s the way it is.
LK: That’s the way it is? I’m supposed to accept that? I suppose then, that Calvinism is correct? Our lives and how we live them, and end them, are predetermined?
God: Well, that’s over simplifying the point really, but there are some things that I want and need all of you to do.
LK: Now see? This is what I’m talking about!! I don’t get that! There are things you “need” us to do? What does that mean?
God: Everyone has a mission. Something they’re here to do. You’re here for a reason. Everyone is. The reasons are big and grandiose for some; quiet and unassuming for others. I changed that up for variety. You know, to add a little spice. But every life touches another. It’s part of my Divine Plan.
LK: But I don’t understand.
God: That’s why it’s “divine”. Look at it this way; do you know for a fact that when you go to sleep tonight, you’ll wake up tomorrow morning?
LK: Well, yeah unless you’ve got other plans.
God: Don’t be a smart ass. Answer me.
LK: Yes, I do.
God: Ok, that’s faith.
LK: What does that have to do with any of this? And what about Virginia Tech and 9/11? More than likely, the victims were operating on faith. They believed that they could go to class or work and be just fine . Not get shot to death or vaporized in their office after a hijacked jet crashes into their building. They believed! Maybe they felt covered by some kind of Divine Protection clause–part of that spiritual Deity/Follower privilege. What I think we should be getting when we sign up for our role as “Believers”. Where was your divine protection then, God? Those people had faith that their lives would go on just fine, yet they died horribly, tragic deaths!!
God: I told you, I was there.
LK: Then why didn’t you do anything?
God: Did it ever occur to you that I did? I was there. When and where they needed me the most.
LK: I still don’t understand why there are thousands of dead people as a result?
God: Look, faith is just that–believing that you’re covered, because you are, no matter what. Things always happen for a reason. Things are always taken care of. They always will be and so will you. You have to believe they’re always taken care of. That’s faith.
LK. Sometimes it’s really hard to do this blindly.
God: I know it is, but you’ve got to try. I gave you this ability to believe.
God: Because hope keeps you alive.
God: Hope keeps you coming back for more. It makes you want to come back for one more chance to experience life. You do this for the off chance that maybe…just maybe one day, you’ll possibly get a guarantee that something just might happen.
LK: God, with all due respect, that makes no sense…
God: It makes perfect sense. It’s faith.
LK: OK fine, but this faith stuff is asking a lot of us sometimes. I’ve had faith before. Exercised it regularly. I prayed to you for things that I wanted and needed to happen. But I was let down when my prayers weren’t answered. I’ve never been married and only came close once. You know that I really loved Nick. When he left me, my heart was broken. What happened?
God: You’re prayers were answered. You just didn’t like the results. I gave you what you needed.
LK: But I loved him?
God: Trust me, I gave you what you needed.
LK: And what was that?
God: You needed a life without Nick.
God: Nick was never the right guy for you. If you were with him, you’d never get the chance to meet the man you’re supposed to be with.
LK: So, where is my Mr. Man and why am I alone now and so miserable?
God: You’ll meet him when the time is right. You’re alone now because you need to be and you’re miserable I guess, because for some reason, you want to be.
LK: I want to be miserable?? What purpose would that serve?
God: Only you can answer that.
LK: Where are you in all of this?
God: I’m right here–where I have been; where I will be. Listen to me–I give you opportunities, Laurie. You make of them what you will. You decide how to react, how to feel. This is how it works. This is life.
LK: This is how life works? There’s pain and disappointment, God! It happens everyday. It’s happening everywhere. If this is the way it is, then with all due respect, this seems like a very flawed plan.
God: Once again, this is how life works…flaws and all!
LK: Then let me ask you this–why am I out of work and with no idea what I’m supposed to be doing?
God: I’m giving you this time to figure it out. And you will if you try. You’re accountable for some of this, too. You have some control, some say in how your life turns out. But make no mistake, I’m always in the background and will always give you what you need. It may not always be what you want, but it will always be what you need.
LK: God, you and your ways are like this huge conundrum!
God: Yes, I guess I am. I like that word, “conundrum”. It absolutely explains nothing, yet explains everything, don’t you think?
LK: You know that I get very frustrated with you and I get mad at you sometimes.
God: I know and that’s OK. I understand.
LK: Divine plan, right?
God: Sometimes getting angry and expressing it is exactly what you need.
LK: So, what we’re talking about here the difference between what we want and what we need and that we can’t always get what we want.
God: Yep and Mick and the Stones backed me up on that fact about 40 years ago.
LK: And beyond that, this is about probability and outcome. . The end result of these events in my life would have been far worse than just my experiencing the disappointment because they didn’t happen?
God: This is true.
LK: OK, you spared me, but why did you let me go through all that pain and disappointment in the first place?
God: Because you learned valuable lessons from each of the experiences.
LK: Like with Nick?
God: Especially with Nick.
LK: Then, you’ve always had my best interests at heart?
LK: I guess I never looked at it this way. You know, I feel close to you right now.
God: This is good.
LK: That reminds me…you knew my Aunt Sarah, didn’t you?
LK: She always said she felt closer to her maker whenever she flew.
God: Your Aunt Sarah was a mean old broad. Not very nice at all. Believe me, she actually would’ve felt much closer to her real maker had she traveled by submarine!
LK: You’re funny. I love that you have a sense of humor.
God: That would explain the Geo Prism.
LK: I guess I better go now. Thanks for everything.
God: You’re welcome.
LK: We don’t do this enough, God. Let’s talk again….soon. Next time, I’ll call you.
God. You know, nothing would make me happier. Sometimes, you give me exactly what I need.