Lately, I’ve been having the weirdest experiences ever. I call them God, but they freak me out. Little serendipities. Parallel visions of fire. Random and small redemptions. Good things happen. Are they God? Bad things happen. Are they God? Can you pray yourself into an astounding win? Can you pray yourself out of a fatal car wreck? No wonder people yank God down into manageable formulas and comforting, though wildly implausible, explanations. Believing into an open, infinite God is hard.
“Oh baby,” God interjected. “I so hope you’ll grow up a bit more before you die.”
“So do I… And how would that happen exactly?” I said, somewhat sincerely. And then things came completely apart. The chains fell. Static and then silence. The call dropped. The line went dead. The station went off the air. The grid went down. My familiar body was suddenly defined by subzero isolation, white noise, and emptiness turning in on itself. Eternal nothingness. No self. No one.
“Can you hear me now?” God whispered. The words froze in the air and shattered. I forced my fists to splay into fingers and asked my bones if they still were there. The familiar rattle reassured me. I inhaled, filled what I assumed were my lungs, fell backward into oblivion, and flailed until I’d created an imperfect angel. Then I burrowed home on hands and knees, knowing the way instinctively.
“You crack me up,” God said as I emerged from my self-inflicted plummet.
I struggled for footing in a nonexistent present. “And obviously, you crack me up. But not in a good way,” I mumbled through unfamiliar lips.
“Emptiness is a good way,” God said. “Think about it. The fullness of time is the end of time.”
We sat for a while, breathing shared and splendid air. “Sometimes, I dream I’m weightless,” I said. “And I can fly.”
“Yes,” God said.
“And I can see forever and hear every beautiful sound ever made,” I said, lying.
“Nice try,” God said. “That’s not the kind of growth I was hoping for.”
“I know,” I said. “But you like it when I crack you up.”
“True,” God said. “There’s that. And I guess you realize you can’t really lie to me.”
“Yeah” I said. “But you let people lie all the time. I hate that. You don’t swoop in, smite them, or even clear things up.”
“True,” God said. “I just wait.”
“Okay,” I said. I’d had enough sparring for a while. “I’ll wait with you.”
“Promise?” God said, with a resigned, lonesome look.
The question didn’t surprise me, but my answer made me incredibly sad. “You know I can’t.”
God’s head dropped. I knew he was crying. I took him in my arms and said gently but firmly, “I can’t promise you anything, God. But I’ll try. I’ll really try.”