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Me and God Having a Conversation

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 Me:  Good morning, sir, I see you’ve decided to keep me breathing another day.  Seeing how my life has been going for quite a long time now, I just have to wonder why.

God:  Good morning Mary, and heh heh, Merry Christmas.  Before I answer that question, I was just on your Facebook page and I saw all the stuff you posted last night about peace and loving each other, and I also saw you looking at the photos of your family and couldn’t help noticing  those tears slipping out of your eyes…

Me:  Yeah, as you know I was alone last night sitting in this cold and mostly empty flat, and I was remembering all the times on Christmas Eve when I was with my family, and  the house was warm, and we ate together and laughed and played, and when my girls went to bed I would get their presents from their hiding place and wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree.  What a peaceful time that was.

God:  So you know about peace.  Good.  I’ve been trying to get people to understand peace. 

Me:  How? By allowing all this war and violence everywhere?

God:  I’m not allowing it.  But don’t  forget, this is my universe, and nothing happens unless I say it happens. 

Me:  So why don’t you stop these wars?

God:  Because people don’t understand what peace is.  Once they understand the meaning of peace, they will have peace.

Me:  So what is peace?

God:  (silence)

Me:  So God, why am I having such a hard time in this life? When am I going  to stop living like this, always worrying about money, always being cold?  I think you don’t love me.

God:  (Laughing)  Oh, I don’t love you?  Who wrote on her Facebook wall a couple of days ago about the gratitude she felt for having a new shirt? 

Me:  I did.  But it’s pathetic, to be so happy about a shirt, isn’t it?  I used to have lots of shirts.  And a closet to put them in.  And a lot of other stuff, too. 

God:  Why is it pathetic to recognize a gift when it comes from me?  I was happy that you were grateful for my gift, and I’ve been thinking that I will give you more gifts.  But if you’re going to gripe about things, I might reconsider.

I was really very touched when you thanked me for the blankets, by  the way.  I gave a blessing to your young friend for bringing them to you.

Me:  I was so happy that night to finally be warm.  God, is this what you’re doing now? Stripping my life to bare bones where a blanket becomes as precious as a diamond?

God:  Maybe.  But you got my drift, I see.  An empty vessel can be filled, but one that is full of unnecessary things must be emptied out.  Would the warmth you felt under those blankets have been as wonderful if you had not been so cold before?

Me:  No, and I was very aware of that.  And I was also aware of what a precious gift warmth can be on a cold night.   God, why did you give me blankets but not give them to a lot of other people?

God:  I am waiting for those who are asleep to wake up.

Me:  Come again?

God:  Your young friend – she is awake.  She knew you were cold, and bringing you the blankets was as important to her as it was to cover herself.  She could not feel warm until she knew you were warm, too.  This is what I want.  This is what I am watching for.  So many are still asleep, though. 

Me:  God, why am I alone here and away from my family? Why did you send me here?

God:  Go back to what you said to me earlier, about the happy times you spent with them.

Me:  Yes, I spent many happy times with them, so why not now?

God:  You carry the love in your heart that keeps those happy times alive in your memory.  That is a gift from me.  Its edges are sharp but that is only so that you handle this gift with care.   

You looked with such love at those sweet photos of your family and you shared them with your friends on Facebook.  You were smiling, but I saw those tears too.  Aha, I thought, you understand.

Me:  Yes.  I saw so many deaths in Gaza last month, whole families…. And young children killed by drones, and by madmen with guns.  Why, God?

God:  I am telling the world what I want them to know.  I am being loud, and insistent, and relentless.  But I am also patient.  I put everyone on the earth, and I gather them back to myself as I deem appropriate.  I am waiting, once again, for the message to be accepted.  Every tear that is shed, every particle of anger at injustice, every rejection of evil….and every effort to forgive, to reconcile and to heal one another….is carefully noted by me.

Me:  What do you want from us, God?

God:  I thought that was obvious.

Me:  You’re right, it was a stupid question.

God:  No, not stupid at all.  The answer isn’t simple and in fact, it’s different for everyone. 

Me:  What do you want from me, God?

God:  First, stop complaining and accept your life with patience and grace.  Look at all I have given you – your beautiful family, your excellent friends (oh I know I’ve outdone myself there, I picked the finest people to enrich your life and fill your heart).  No matter how bad you felt your life was going, you always had a place to sleep and I always fed you.  I know you’re lonely, but I’m always around; just look for me. 

Look at the cool stuff I let you do – you have traveled and have met some people who carry a little spark of magnificence inside them.  Remember your Iraqi student in Amman, whose name is Abbas? And the day he showed you his arm, all twisted and scarred, and told you of the time he spent in an Iranian prison? And you saw in his eyes not anger, but peace and forgiveness?  What about the poor family you stayed with for 10 days when you first arrived in Cairo last year?  They overcome their poverty with love for one another, and faith in me. And although they had little to give, they gave their best to you, for my sake.  Don’t forget the university professor who also gave you a free place to stay.  And all the people who prayed for you – I’d show you the list, but it’s too big.

And I’m glad you’re using that compassion I gave you.  You know it’s the greatest gift I have given the whole world, but so few people use it enough.  I listened to all your prayers for the world.  I am so pleased that you care about the people who suffer in this life, that you speak up for what is right and against what is wrong.  I do keep a book of all these deeds, along with the not-so-great stuff too. 

Me:  So when will my life get better, God?

God:  When you start to appreciate how rich you already are, my dear.  Today is all that exists; I have erased yesterday, and I haven’t created tomorrow yet, so look at what you have today.  You had coffee when you woke up under your warm blankets.  There is a little money in your wallet for something to eat, and I am making the sun shine on Cairo today (yeah, I know, yesterday was a bit dark and chilly), and you have two legs that will carry you around the neighborhood. So go for a walk.  Wear your new shirt.  Today you are rich.  I may not even put you into tomorrow, or I may decide not to create a tomorrow.  So just deal with today. 

Me:  Thank you for the chat, God.

God:  Anytime.  That’s what I’m here for.



Discussion 3 Comments

  • Gary Hoover 25th Dec 2012

    Mary, how long have you been in Egypt? What brings you there?

    Your blog seems to be about achieving perspective and a sense of clarity and gratitude. I guess I like thosethings as well.

    It is frustrating when I see myself still asleep in some ways, un-enlightened. I often wonder also why everyone isn't out in the streets protesting and beginning to make new ways of life that are peaceful in relation to our habitat as well as with other people.

    Be well!

  • Mary Shepard 26th Dec 2012

    Hi Gary, thanks for reading and for your comment. I've been here 18 months, and in the middle east for almost 2 years. I am a casualty of the economic downturn and massive surge of unemployment in the US from 2008 - present. After losing my job and my home and most of my possessions, I hit the road, first going to Houston, Texas before leaving the country.

    I will be writing more about life here, and my perspectives both personal and political. Anyone who would like to keep in touch with me, has questions or suggestions on possible topics, please let me know.

    I think that we cannot begin to understand the world around us without looking first at ourselves. Whenever we look at anything, we have already decided what we will see; the more we open our eyes, the more we will find of interest and importance. I am on a journey where I do not know the destination, but it matters less than the things I do and see along the way.


  • Sally Redondo 2nd Jan 2013

    Hi Mary, years ago, from 1976 to 1979 I lived in Iran. I'm sorry to hear about all your problems. It sounds like you are doing a fine job of keeping afloat and keeping your sanity. It's not easy! Here's a poem by Rumi, called the guest house.

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A Joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
    Still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
    Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.