God showed up in a cowboy mood this morning. It’d been a while, and I was ambivalent. I don’t love his cowboy moods very much. “Hey puny human, whatta you been up to?” he said, winking at me.
I used to freeze at that sort of question. I’d do a quick moral inventory and find myself falling short, no matter what. But now I just shrug and give a quick account of whatever comes to mind. I said, “Watching TED talks by women, trying to ignore the most frightening parts of the news. Exercising. Writing. Avoiding. You know. The usual.”
“Oh yeah, baby. Sounds good. You got any whisky or some pot?” His jeans were tucked into his boots and the hair he’d chosen to have on his head hung long and stringy.
“Make up your mind,” I said. “Cowboy or pothead?”
“No, you make up your mind,” God answered. “Mortal or immortal?”
There may have been a cock that crowed three times. The archangel Gabriel may have alighted on a Bodhi tree. Kali’s wild black hair may have whipped in the wind, sending fire to the frozen ground. I’m not sure what crashed the morning into the eternal, but something did. I sat like the temporary lump of chemicals and electrical stimulations that I am and swore at God.
“I DON’T KNOW!” I said, as loudly as I dared. (We live in a basement right now. The upstairs people already wonder about me. ) “Most of me is clearly mortal. Maybe the whole damn ball of wax.”
“You’re so cute when you’re angry,” God said.
“SHUT UP,” I yelled, forgetting about the neighbors. “None of this is funny. How dare you act like a fat chauvinist pig? You gonna shoot me with your AR 15?”
“My point, exactly,” God said.
“What? What is your point exactly? I don’t get it,” I said. “That nothing matters? That you can be anything or anyone you like? That you’re the ultimate expression of privilege? A big white idiot of a God?”
Coping with mortality makes me a little touchy sometimes. Besides, I was trying to make him mad enough to tell me something true, or mad enough to leave.
“Your doctrines won’t save you,” God said. “Nor your weapons. Nor your pacifisms. Nor your writing. You’re gonna ride outa here on the horse you rode in on.”
I put my fingers in my ears and started singing, “La la la la…”
“It’s a horse named Dependency. You can’t change that.” God often slices through denial like a hot knife through butter. “And you’re already about as saved as you’re gonna get.”
With a sigh, I stopped trying to ignore him and glared.
“Doesn’t feel like it,” I said.
“And that’s on you, sweet cheeks,” he said, with another maddening wink. “Joy is always optional. Eternally optional.” Then, hunched and bow-legged, he ambled away.
“Wait,” I shouted. “I have more questions!” But he was gone.