God texted to see if I’d be available for a get-together one Tuesday shortly after I’d finished the chemo. I clenched my jaw as I acknowledged I was free, but pointed out other options in case I could throw him off. He’s crazy, and difficult to talk to sometimes. Slow to speak, unassuming, but simultaneously requiring too much unearned adoration. Seriously. He’s almost condescending. And often he sets up these meetings and then no-shows. He runs out of money and his phone shuts down.
I called his mother later in the week, just to see if anything God said was true. “Yes,” the mother of God said. “He’s honest. Just unfiltered. He’s got a lot on his mind, you know.” She paused and said, “Say, you don’t happen to have any contact information, do you? He’s been out of touch with the family for a while.”
This set me back on my heels. Where was God? Last I knew, he was eating at the homeless shelter, picking up odd jobs and repairing bicycles. He likes to camp along the river if it isn’t too cold. How could I tell his mother this? How could his mother not know?
As Tuesday approached, I grew more and more anxious. I wished I could cancel, but with God, this is difficult. He arrived early, agitated. “Did you call my mother?” he asked, slapping his fist into his hand. He was clearly angry.
“No,” I lied. God knew. We locked eyes for a brief moment. Then he looked out the window at the apricot tree. “Looks like rain,” he said.
“Yes,” I said, sobbing. Why did everything have to be this hard? I’d lost my last apricot tree to aphids, and two sweet cherry trees to moles. I’d lost my uterus to cancer and my idealism to the nightly news. And now, God was angry just because I called his mother.
“Look,” God said, the anger abated. “Just as you are. And just as I AM.”
Then he put his long thin arms around me and bent his wild head down so it touched the top of my partially-regrown hair. “So it is, and so it will be.” His voice was as soft and dense as sleep. I climbed in, and was welcomed into the folds of that voice.
I still find rest in that thick, palpable space. There are so few places that offer any kind of shelter these days. I’m thankful, but sometimes, lately, it’s too crowded and noisy to really relax. And who knows which of these refugees might be carrying a bomb? I’ve been asked to carry one myself, but so far, I’ve refused.