God used to be no more than a few flights up from The Floor and I gladly did the climb to visit. Many called on Him for one reason or another, came regularly and left in a hurry. Unable to settle on a tangible reason for being there, I often lingered and at times, frustrated by my indefiniteness, took long absences. God always listened and never turned anyone away, yet he seemed to me quite aloof in his interaction with humans who went to great lengths to express their esteem and affection for Him.
When I chanced to be alone with God one night I was burning to ask Him about the reason for His seeming aloofness. He read my thought as usual and answered me before I opened my mouth. He is understandably very adept at that.
‘As much as humans like to think it is about their love and esteem for me,’ God explained, ‘it is more often about my power and their needs. They come here because they believe it is in my power to do one thing or another for them. Humans are eager to stress the esteem with which they hold me and their utter trust in my judgment, and yet I am often relegated by them to the role of an eternal handyman who must stand by to help them fulfill their wishes and realize their schemes. The few like you, who resist thinking of me as a purveyor of goods, do notice how unenthusiastic I feel about the role bestowed on me by my creation.’
‘Now, that You have mentioned the subject, God,’ I said with a smile, ‘I must say, I have been dying to ask a favor of You but I am by nature too reticent and there always seems to be such a long line to You.’
I never remembered hearing God laugh before. I was glad to see my attempt at humor thaw the ice He experiences with humanity.
‘Believe me,’ He said when He finished laughing, ‘without humor, humans are unbearable.’ ‘If I didn’t believe God, whom should I believe?’ I continued my humor, encouraged by His hearty laughter.
He laughed again, but this time He gave me an affectionate tap on my shoulder. His touch seemed to last an eternity and make me lose all sense of locality. ‘That wasn’t funny, I nearly vanished,’ I breathlessly protested.’
‘Calm down,’ He said pacifying, ‘now you know why humans don’t let me get a hold of them to fix what went wrong.’
‘I have been dying to ask You what went wrong,’ I said, ‘please, God, explain it to me, if You will, from the very beginning!’
‘To make a long story short,’ God went on, ‘when I finished making the human molds I left them to dry in the new sun prior to infusing them with my ether. But when I went back to do the infusion the molds were already moving and getting into all sorts of mischief. Some of My ether must have seeped ever so slightly into the molds as I was making them. The tiny bit was enough to power the molds but not to give their ether balance with their insatiable matter. I called upon them to stop what they were doing and come to me forthwith so I could complete the infusion but they kept stalling.’
‘In time, humans have come to love being in their individual molds and increasingly cherish the illusory sense of locality they provided . With so little of My ether in them, their sense of identity with the molds has become all too alluring in spite of their empty talk about their yearning to become one with me.’
‘Because they weren’t made to last or allow humans to merge with the ether they unconsciously aspire to, the molds have become for humans an endless source of concern. They invariably come to me with all sorts of issues they beg me to fix. But when I tell them that their illusory sense of locality created by their attachment to their molds is at the root of their dilemma and offer to correct that once and for all they shun Me.’
‘They pray to be close to me but it is often about begging me to help them continue with in ways. Some approach Me with prayers while others don’t waste time and get right to begging and even bargaining, offering promises they would fulfill if I carried out first what they designate as my end of the bargain. Some become too demanding and a few downright threatening that they would lose all faith in me.’
‘Even God can’t come up with a remedy to fix what went wrong with us humans,’ I secretly marveled at our resourcefulness! ‘Is God so infinitely capable as to give rise to a problem God can’t fix?’ I mused at the paradox.
God must have guessed my thought before it entered my awareness but He kindly overlooked my creeping human doubt. ‘As long as humans have that one drop of ether in them they are essentially one with me,’ He answered my thought readily. ‘Their mold identity is an imagined illusion that must eventually be unimagined by humans themselves. In the mean time, I am stuck with their mischief. When they needlessly go to war I retreat into my primordial oblivion, though, sooner or later, I do come to their rescue as the ether in them seeks refuge in my ether everywhere.’
‘Humans have been getting their hands on all sorts of destructive power. Some suspect I must be getting senile to let air, land and water become so ravaged by humans and allow such stockpiling of destructive power as to threaten with extinction the very life I took care to bring into being. Yet, if humans were to blow up their molds or undermine them by degrading their surroundings to the point of no return, wouldn’t that get me off the hook once and for all?’
I didn’t dare answer; who am I to give God advice, I thought, dwarfed by His immeasurable responsibility? I took the safe way out treating the question as merely rhetorical. God smiled appreciatively at my humility.
On my way home I couldn’t help feeling God’s immense secret weighing on my paltry human shoulders. To ease my burden, I experimented with carrying it in light verse:
When God goes to sleep His humans go to war
or, to put it more correctly, when humans wage war
God finds it best to lose Himself in sleep.
When He is awakened by the anguish of the weak
His heart again would soften, forgive and forget
as He starts another chapter He is bound to regret.
Some say God with age must be growing senile
as rudely ravaged Earth and vast nuclear stockpiles
threaten with extinction His image on this earth.
Perhaps, He is fully wise to be standing idly by
as He now sees an end to a never ending chore
when He won’t have to tend His image anymore.
Our puzzling resistance to becoming aware seems to have originated at the moment of creation from an accidental oversight by God, as I understood Him to imply. God’s fleeting unawareness at the moment of creation must have entered humans to become part of who they are: entities meant to become aware but can’t help resisting their destiny. When they step into awareness they often make sure they keep one foot in illusion.
Unawareness suggests an incapacity, in contradiction with the all-capable image assumed of God. But if God is all-capable, can He make Himself unaware to serve a purpose if he chooses to! Was it an accidental oversight or a meaningful twist inserted by God at the inception to give rise to a creation evolving in space and time? After all, creation has to have a beginning in space and time, unlike God’s assumed infinite and timeless nature.
Did God give me a story or did I concoct one due to my insatiable need for explanation? I did the most serious climb to find out but all my reflection on my close encounter with God achieved was to leave me helpless in the face of my own conjectures and puzzles.
I watched my keen interest in the climb wither in the face of my impasse, leaving behind it a void I proceeded to fill with many serious involvements on The Floor. I was swept by the powerful explosion in information and the genius of the technological revolution that succeeded in reducing communication to defined bits hardly elevated above The Floor.
As much as I tried to stuff the void left by God, its chasms grew paradoxically bigger. Unexpected invasion by the void one night made me realize that I had been left with an emptiness impossible to fill. My repressed desire to climb exploded with much vengeance pressing me to ask God for the meaning of what had been happening on The Floor and its utter failure to bridge the gulf I experienced.
When I finally got my overwrought ganglia to scale the once plain and familiar but now luridly decorated stairs, I was greeted by a brightly lit sign that read: God Moved To The New Horizon! A pretentious sentence at the bottom mentioned something about a new universal web through which God could be reached.
It is natural to think in terms of a web to connect the Universe, I thought, but it seemed doubtful that the gaudy sign could have been referring to something so lofty. I labored to locate the site but the information I encountered described how God was much too busy doing all sorts of valuable things for humans to be contacted directly, and added that for a fee one would be officially included as a beneficiary.
I well remembered what God had said to me about begging. Nevertheless, I decided that I would be fully justified to beg for God’s help if my concerns were to be purely about Him. I felt genuinely worried by God’s mysterious withdrawal and wanted to hear from Him directly that He was still there, somewhere! And so I went on imploring until somewhere in my prolonged entreaty I perceived a faint sound that grew to become audible. I listened attentively and got the strangest answer to my call:
For a balance of your deeds, press one.
To see if you have secured a site in heaven,
press two, give your name and reference.
If you believe you are on a registry to Hell
and you wish to offer tangible atonement,
press three and have your amends ready.
If you wish to redeem a credit you accrued,
press four and wait calmly where you are,
an angel will appear shortly to assist you.
Press five to ask a metaphysical question,
then press six to get the relevant answer.
No direct contact, our menu has changed,
the option was deleted. Press seven to exit!
I am sure, you too would have found such a gross interference with so private a yearning very troubling. Having heard the stark message, all I can think of now is that God, whose image inspired us for millennia has been isolated from all contact and is in dire predicament. As displaced as you and I may feel, should we continue to wait like fools for God to save us when what we must urgently do is band together to save Him.