When You Don’t Have Ruby Red Slippers

“I’m in no shape to make decisions or small talk today,” God said. “So leave me alone.”

He was doing a very bad job of hiding under the daybed. Drawers were askew, and his feet extended past the base like the protruding feet of the wicked witch of the east, but there were no ruby red slippers, and his socks had holes.  It was laughable.

“What’s up?” I asked in the phony, solicitous voice I use to hide disdain for signs of weakness.

“I’m old,” God said.

I stood silent for a minute and then said, “Ah, yeah. So?”

“And you’re older.”

Again, I stood silent. A great sadness twisted his face. The slippage of time thickened the air and dampened the Christmas gifts and wrapping paper strewn around the room. I don’t like this season, but I force myself to make an effort.

“Stop moping,” I said. “You’re ruining things.”

“Not my fault,” God said, and turned his head toward the wall.

“Yes, it is,” I said. “When you see how bad things are and feel sorry for yourself, you swallow entire star systems without realizing it. People go blind. Mold and mildew thrive. There are great displacements and unsettlings, and no one knows which way is up.”

“No one knows that anyway,” God snapped, still quite out of sorts. “Please just leave me alone.”

I shrugged and eased myself out of the holiness.

Clearly, God needed to lick his wounds, but he’s got the entirety of time and space at his disposal. Why hide in the middle of my half-hearted holiday preparations? Why lash out in such a childish way? So I’m older than God? Ha! It’s true that I often feel that way…

“HELP!” God shouted, interrupting my thoughts. “Come back.”

Like a mother whose child calls out in the night, I ran instinctively toward God’s voice.

“It’s too cold in here,” he said. “And too hot. And I can’t see you. I’m afraid.”

My insides clenched and my familiar internal battles flared. He always asks the impossible. The world is so hot and so cold and so afraid, I often back away, hands raised in denial and defeat.

But here’s the worst of it; he backs away with me. He seems to enjoy the surrender. The picnics, the doodles, the badly wrapped second-hand gifts. He joins in the revelry and drinks all the wine. He laughs with his mouth full, and bits of food twinkle in the holiday air like strings of light.

Such intensity, such accompaniment has to be exhausting. Maybe that’s why I find God hiding under the daybed occasionally. I should probably be more patient.