“I need a break,” God said as we walked gingerly down the icy sidewalk in the gathering dusk.
“Me too,” I said. “Those beaches in Aruba look pretty enticing about now. Why’d you let my ancestors settle in Montana anyway?”
“Ha ha,” God said sarcastically. “They were as stubborn as you. And there weren’t a lot of options, since they’d barely escaped the potato famine in Ireland, right?”
I made a noncommittal snort and we kept walking.
“No, really,” God said. “I’m thinking about leaving for a while. You know. Engage in a little self-care. Sharpen the old perspectives.”
“You can’t,” I said with my usual unearned authority. “You’re God.”
“And you are…?” God said. Three words.
Panic surged through the atoms that comprise this thing I call myself. I began to deconstruct. I told myself it didn’t matter. Wholeness is an illusion. I have a vague memory of being stardust, and yes, golden. But the path back to the garden is littered with grotesque distortions, slick with blood and oil. Far too treacherous to consider. Not humanly possible to traverse. The gates have been shut for a long, long time.
Even so, I suspected that was where God was going. This is exactly the kind of break God would take. A morning stroll in the Garden of the Beginning. Alone. Contemplative. Enduring the solitude of the imagined and the dead.
God seemed unafraid, but I was terrified. Swimming through illusions of myself in an existential whirlpool. Nose barely above the surface, clinging to a singular vision of companionship. Grinding my teeth against the uncharted terrain of not-self, not-ego, not-my-way.
Amazingly, even in such disarray, I remembered my manners. I knew I should wish God safe travels. That’s what friends do. Suck it up and extend a sincere fare-thee-well.
We walked a bit further. I searched for words. “Well, bon voyage, God,” I said, pushing aside the primal scream lodged in my throat, ignoring the bereavement washing over me. “If anyone deserves a nice vacation, it’s you.”
“Well done,” God said, and smiled. For a minute, I hoped maybe it was all a joke. A test. But God continued.
“I’ll send messages in the evening, or deep in your dreams. You’ll be fine. And I won’t be gone that long. Carry on.”
The words lingered in the solitary air. “Carry on,” God had said. “Carry on.”