Wednesday, 8:21 pm
The phone rings.
God: Hey there, kiddo!
LK: Hello God.
God: Hey, what happened? We were having regular conversations for a while there and then all of a sudden, I didn’t hear from you anymore. I’ve been wondering what happened to you.
LK: I’ve been wondering that myself.
God: What do you mean?
LK: Well frankly, I don’t feel like you’ve been around much lately. I feel forgotten.
God: Oh LK, you’re a child of all that matters! You know that’s not true!
LK: Do I? In recent months a lot of stuff has happened to me and I’ve tried talking to you, but it often felt like one-sided conversations.
God: So, because I didn’t acknowledge you as you wanted me to, you let that dampen your faith?
LK: I didn’t have that much faith to begin with. To put it in your terms, I do feel rather forsaken.
God: And I’ll put this in your terms; you are soooo totally wrong!
LK: I don’t talk that way.
God: And I wasn’t ignoring you.
LK: Then why does it feel that way?
God: I’ve been with you the entire time. You just didn’t feel you needed me. That was your decision. You’ve been trying to tackle all these issues yourself and that’s OK. I love your determination and yes, you’ve been handling your affairs as well as can be expected. Even so, I know you have some family issues…you’re under unemployed and there’s no special man in your life. You’re what 63 now?
LK: Uh, 52, God. I would think you’d know that.
God: I do. I was just making sure you were listening. Vanity has 20/20 hearing, you know.
LK: You were saying?
GOD: Well, you’re human. Your situation scares you. That’s OK. Inf act, it’s a normal response. It SHOULD scare you. But sometimes, all I can do is sit back and let you sort it out yourself. Even when you ask for help, sometimes, I have to allow you to help yourself. This has been one of those times.
LK: Why in your name would you do that if I’ve asked you for help repeatedly?
God: Because sometimes you have to go through certain things. It’s called “life” and it’s your duty to live it good, bad or indifferently. Intellectually you know this. We’ve talked about this before–I won’t always give you what you want, but I’ll always give you what you need. And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about prayer for a second, can we?
God: I love the fact that you guys pray, I really do. It warms my heart and I hear every one submitted, but come on, pray wisely, will ya? By that, I mean give me the really big stuff that’s so burdensome, you can’t handle it. I’ll deal with it, but I need you guys to understand you are accountable for your own actions, too. Don’t waste your time asking me to allow your team to win the big game or asking me for the courage to find the right kumquat in the grocery store as you enter the produce aisle. I’m not Samantha from “Bewitched”.
LK: I know that, but some people believe you’re magic.
God: No, I’m God and furthermore, your team either wins or looses, because one team played better and wanted the victory more. The fact that you picked the right veggie or the wrong one, is the luck of the draw and lastly, begging me to let you ace that college physics exam because the hunky, Jack Sumner ONLY dated women with a 3.0 GPA or higher was wrong. You flunked or passed that test because you either prepared for the quiz or not.
LK: Wow, that was almost 30 years ago. You remember that one?
God: Of course. And what happened?
LK: I struggled just to make a C in that course.
God: And then what happened?
LK: I fell head over heels for Robbie Patterson.
LK: A lot of reasons, I guess.
God: I will repeat myself– why did you fall in love with Robbie?
LK: Because he loved me.…without stipulation.
God: And were you happy?
LK: It was bliss on a stick, but it took a while. I didn’t really have feelings for him at first. Emotions evolved and it turned out to be a very happy time for me. For both of us, really.
God: And yet another prime of example of what you wanted versus what you needed.
LK: Why did we break up then?
God: Because you and Robbie wanted and needed each other at that particular time. Then, when you broke up, that was your cue that you no longer needed him. He no longer needed you, either. You went your separate ways until it was time to do something else….to be with someone else. It’s really quite easy if you think about it.
LK: And the fact that I really haven’t been with anyone since then….means what, exactly?
God: Only that you haven’t found the right one yet. You will.
LK: Gotta date and time?
God: That’s up to you.
LK: But you just said “you will”. That sounded emphatic to me. Does that mean I’m definitely going to meet someone ?
God: You can if you want to. You have free will. That’s a human gift that’s divinely inspired.
LK: Gee, thanks, Supreme Conundrum.
GOD: I’m not a simple deity.
LK: Then let me ask you this: what about the poor father who lives in a lean-to and prays to you daily that he and his family of eight be delivered from poverty? How can he “need” to endure that existence? God, it seems inane to keep believing and praying for your intercession and be…
God: Wait, wait!! Do you actually talk like that? I swear to Me, this is like talking to “Frasier”!!!
LK: As I was saying, it’s hard to maintain faith in the intangible when so many things we ask for are withheld.
God: Laurie, we’ve gone over this before many, many times. Once again, nothing is withheld. You have more control in this than you think. You make decisions based on options that I present to you. You pray…I offer you options…you pick the route you take. Personal accountability and choice really are the glorious part of this human experience. As for that impoverished father? The power lies within his heart and soul. If he really wants to remove his family out of those wretched condition, I’ll present him with opportunities, but HE has to take advantage of them….or not. That will be his decision.
LK: How can not being able to feed or cloth a man’s family or in my case, not finding a job for months and months and going broke be something I want but don’t need or need but I don’t want or…
God: Yeah, wait a sec. Hold up. Don’t strain yourself, I get it what you’re asking. Nothing ever happens in a snap. Everything takes time. There’s Earth time and there’s my time, OK? The two are exponentially different.
LK: With all due respect God, I always thought that God’s time stuff was such a cop-out; something that was man-inspired to explain why most prayers aren’t answered.
God. Hardly, my dear….hardly. Things have to happen in my time because there are certain things you have to experience. If you constantly get everything you want, how can you learn to appreciate it when you have it? Or when you don’t? I never wanted a spoiled flock.
LK: Well, it sure seems like some people are very spoiled and they have it awfully easy.
God: You just answered you own question! It only “seems” like some people have everything. They don’t. Not in the way you think.
LK: How so?
God: Take your standard-issue beautiful actress who pulls in 12 million a picture. Her life is glamorous and she’s rich; on magazine covers, billboards; walks the glitzy red carpet before awards show. It looks like she has it made. The fact that she’s hounded by the press, in every gossip column are bad enough but keep in mind she went through a very painful ordeal when her husband cheated on her, in public, on a movie set and he eventually went on to have children with the other woman, sans a ceremony or certificate in the eyes of..well, me. Her beauty, her wealth, her celebrity didn’t make her exempt from heartache or rampant insecurities.
LK: You’re talking about Jennifer Anniston, right?
God: Yes and the mere fact that she’s wealthy will never buy her real happiness…not in and of itself
LK: Yeah, but having that kind of money would certainly allow you to rent some.
God: It’s all about what she does with her money, really. And what she does with it, is her option. Jennifer is a sweet kid, but her marriage to Brad was a mistake that had run its course. She had to figure that out and by doing it with some pain involved, she’s less likely to do it again. At least, I hope she is. By the way, that “Brangelina” stuff tickles me. Is there any portmanteau that the American press won’t conjugate?
LK: If Jennifer’s marriage was a mistake, why did you let it happen?
God: I do love that crazy ass, walking Benetton ad they call a family, though. Adoption is a nice thing and while they have a very unconventional approach to it, Brad and Angie are philanthropic and generous. Their hearts are in the right place.
LK: Please answer my question.
God: What question?
LK: The one about Jennifer’s marriage. If it was wrong, why did you let it happen?
God: Okay, here’s what I really want everyone to know, Laurie. People have it wrong when they think that I, as you put it, intercede on a regular basis. That’s not to say I never have, because yes, I most certainly have and I always will when warranted, but the way this whole thing was set up was to be all about you. Your choices; your decisions; your options. You know, that pesky “free will” stuff you guys love when it’s convenient and loathe when it isn’t. Jennifer and Brad married because that’s what they chose to. Brad then chose to have an affair with his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” co-star. Jennifer then had to choose how to respond to Brad’s decision. Brad had the option of continuing with the affair… or not ….and 37 children later, I think we all know which path HE chose.
LK: But sometimes we have no options.
God: That’s not true. You always have options. Deciding to do nothing at all is also an option.
LK: What about the doomed passengers on board the hijacked planes on 9/11 or the ones on TWA Flight 800 that exploded in mid-air? What choices did they have? And another thing…what about those people who jumped out of the windows on the burning floors of the World Trade Center? You’re gonna tell me they had options?
God: To be honest, yes….they did. If you think about it, they got to decide how they’d die.
LK: What? How was that a decision? They had no idea when they entered the World Trade Center that morning or boarded any of those planes that they’d all die in such a horrible way. I don’t see that as an option at all!
God: Look, I know you grapple with me and what I am on a regular basis. Most people do and I’m okay with that. I like it when you think. I take great pride in the fact that you have doubts and ask questions. Contrary to what a lot of people think, it’s also okay to question me. It’s okay to be mad at me. I created you. I know you’re heart. And the fact that you’re all so wonderfully human is something I adore. Hey, the reality is Disney created Automatons, I didn’t.
LK: The Hall of Presidents completely creeps me out.
God: Me too. Besides Lincoln’s real voice was far less butch than Walt and the boys made it out to be.
God: Oh yeah, it was shrill and rather high. He sounded like a male gymnast. Back to my point, as I told you the last time we spoke, I was at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th. I was on board those hijacked planes and TWA Flight 800 when it exploded just off the New York coast a dozen years ago.
LK: I didn’t get that when you said it me then and I still don’t get it now. God, those people on Flight 800 and at the Pentagon and the Twin Towers died horrible, fiery deaths!
God: There are going to be things you’ll never understand.
LK: Because???? That’s the best you can give me?
GOD: No, but it’s the simplest explanation I can give you. It’s like this– I look at things from an eternal standpoint, whereas you can’t. As a human, you have a defined beginning, a middle and an end. You look at things from an earthly perspective because well, that’s all you’ve got, but that’s because I made it that way. You know…term limits.
LK: Is it true what the nuns all taught me in Catechism…that you’re omniscient?
GOD: You couldn’t know everything I know. You wouldn’t want to. If you did, it would confound you to the point of spontaneous combustion. I think it was Isaiah who once scribed, ” “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”. That pretty much sums it up. So to answer your question, I am omniscient. I’m also omnipresent. I’m everwhere, all the time including the World Trade Center….that TWA flight…the hijacked airplanes on 9/11…both recent tsunamis….even when the Mavs won the NBA Championship. And lastly, who’s to say I didn’t take the jumpers’ lives before they hit the ground or before the passengers on board those jets, including the one that blew up in mid-air, realized what was happening?
LK: Then why did any of those things have to happen? Why do bad thigns have to happen at all?
God: Because they had to happen, Laurie. Things have to happen. Look Doll, as a species, you…and by you I mean the collective… have a shelf life; an expiration date. Understand that every human being who’s ever walked on this planet has had a special purpose..a job to do, if you will… and you all have a certain number of days in which to accomplish that mission.
LK: But I still don’t get it!
God: And you, my little mortal humanoid, never will. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. But here’s something I’d like for you to focus on instead. Yes, there was heartache on 9/11, but think about the miracles that happened on that day. How about the New York City firefighters who survived the collapse of a 110 story building in a stairwell? And what about the good things that came after that day? Air travel was made much safer. We stiffened immigration laws that had been laxed. We started rethinking national security. Tragedy unified you as a nation; for a while anyway. And what about the people who for a myriad of reasons, didn’t go to work or missed their flights on that day?
LK: Was that your handiwork?
God: No, not exactly. It was a matter of timing and it wasn’t their time. Those people who missed their flights or came to their World Trade Center offices late, did so of their own doing.
God: They could have left for the airport earlier, taken a different route or freeway that wasn’t as congested. Maybe that extra cup of coffee at home-made them lose account of time or they dawdled because they window shopped and those things made them late arriving at the subway or bus stop. They had errands to run or maybe someone stopped for a bagel and service took longer than they anticipated. And what about that radiator that over boiled? Had the car been taken to a mechanic the minute the owner first noticed signs of trouble, the story would’ve been very different for that person on September 11th. The owner elected, for whatever reason, NOT to take the car in. So, what was a smoking, steaming pain in the ass parked on the side of the freeway three miles from Boston Logan at the time of departure, instead became an event that saved this person’s life. You follow me?
God: You’re all mortal. You will all die. That’s the one thing you guys know for sure. How and when is all up in the air. Your time in this existence is finite and in your time here, you live your lives based choices; options; exercising your free will. Sometimes, you’re oblivious that your decision to either turn left or right can alter the course of your existence. There will be times when you’ll make these life or death decisions without even realizing it. You’ll only become aware of the impact of your decisions after the fact. That happened countless times on September 11th. Everyone on Earth has a mission. Perhaps those that died accomplished theirs by the morning of September 11th.
LK: Then they were sacrificial pawns?
God: No, not at all.
LK: Then why did it have to play out so horribly? And why did you create evil in the first place?
God: It happened that way because 19 religious zealots chose to take the evil route and they did it my name, which is bull…..well, bologna.
LK: You almost cussed!!!
God: Yeah…sorry. I invented colorful metaphors right after that whole Babel thing. Wanna know what steams me to no end? People who use Me and claim to to thing in my name. Wars…jihad…call it what you will are never fought in my name or rather, I don’t give anyone persmission to go to war. A “holy war” is the biggest oxymoron there is. Anyway, the roughly three-thousand people who died on September 11th, did so because it was their time. How they died was luck of the draw. And let’s get something straight, I didn’t create evil. It exists as it always has and actually, it’s as nebulous as I’m often perceived. It isn’t anything incarnate and honestly, neither am I. I’m not this bearded guy who wears white, flowing robes and lives on a cloud with a lot of harp music playing in the background. And consequently, evil doesn’t look anything like that little red guy with horns on a label of Underwood Deviled Ham. The human mind needs to humanize things. This is what some call matrixing. The brain needs to recognize similar, corporeal images in order to fully comprehend and make sense of the chaos and confusion.
LK: Why does there even have to be any evil?
God: Simply put, balance. Good/bad. High/low….happiness/sadness. You live in a world of compare and contrast. You can’t appreciate one without the other. As for evil? Well, with the exception of those who legitimately deranged, evil is a choice. That’s all, but somewhere along the way, you mortals have gotten the mistaken impression that evil is something palpable. As if one can reach into a Louis Vuitton purse and pull out a big, old handful of it. Can’t be done. Evil is an intangible; so is good. You can’t bottle them or package them. They’re often the result of a split second decisions. It’s a path you choose to take. It’s consciousness. Should I steal that apple or not? Should I burglarize this house or not? Should I help this poor woman in need or not? You choose how to act and you have two options: to act responsibly…or not. It really is just that simple.
LK: Simple for you maybe. But for me, this stuff is hard for me to wrap my head around. Death is too. How infinite is death? Is this life the only one we get? That would seem like such a waste if it is.
God: Let me put it this way and you take this any way you choose, but there is a reason for the word “afterlife”.
LK: Does that mean th–???
God: Right now, it means what you need it to mean.
LK: Is that one of those subjects that will make me combust if I try to understand it?
God: More than you know.
LK: Then asnwer this–earlier, you said every human has a mission. What does that mean?
God: When I said that everyone on Earth as a special purpose, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will win the Nobel prize for Chemistry. It may not be discovering the cure for cancer. It may not be anything grand at all! Sometimes, you don’t even know how or when you do it, but by connecting with others, you can change someone’s life in a heartbeat. Take you for example: you were very funny on that radio show you used to be on.
LK: We had great ratings.
God: Yes, but you also had no idea how many times what you guys said or did made someone laugh and perhaps in doing so, they put down the gun, the razor or that bottle of pills. Laughter is powerful and restorative. You’ve made a huge difference in many people’s lives, even saved a few, as good if not better than any heart surgeon. Every person has. No life is ever wasted, no matter how brief; no matter how seemingly trivial.
LK: You know, God? Perhaps, I have been ignoring you lately.
God: It’s OK. You’re imperfect and I love you.
LK: May I ask you two more questions?
God: Please do.
LK: The Mayans claim the world will end on December 21st, 2012. Will it?
God: Those Mayans were a brilliant and enterprising people, but horrible with dates. Next question?
LK: Will I be OK?
God: Do you want to be OK?
LK: I do
God: Do you want a great job that’s fulfilling, a life of abundance and abiding love?
LK: Very much so.
God: Then, I’ll provide the opportunities, you provide the results. Remember, it’s all about free will.
(A call waiting beep is heard)
LK: Sounds like you’ve got an incoming call.
God: Wait a sec. Let me check my ID thing. Oh, it’s Barack Obama and all things considered Sweetie, I really need to take this call.
LK: Then go ahead. Say, I’m curious about something….what does the Big O call you: God or Allah?
God: Now Laurie, don’t start with that!! If you must know, he calls me God… but I answer to both.
LK: I see. Then I would imagine he has a lot to talk to you about. How’s he doing, by the way?
God: It’s early July right now, right? Let’s discuss that in about 17 months.
LK: I’d like to think we’ll talk before that.
God: Then we will. It’s your call.