Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Great Sabbatical: God's First Vacation

On the first day of this last New Year, God – long overdue for His first ever vacation and very weary from his labors – was anxious to head out early before the snow started. He sat at his laptop, glasses propped up on his head as his long, white flowing beard draped into the keyboard like some cheap chenille scarf and started to type:

TO: Everyone
FR: God

RE: Vacation

This is to notify you that effective 12:01 A.M. cosmic time, I, God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, The Father, The Big Guy Upstairs, El Shaddai, Adonai, Most Holy of Holies, will be on vacation. This memo is to suggest that you figure things out on your own for a while. I have provided you with good sense, humor, free will, the internet and opposable thumbs so Me damn it people, USE these gifts to help one another.

I am counting on everyone’s complete cooperation or there will be hell to pay, I promise and I should know because I created hell!

Now I know that last time something like this happened was when that kvetcher Nietzsche started spreading rumors about my death. This caused untold panic and great harm. I expect nothing of this sort to happen again. You are hereby on your own. I will return in exactly one month.

If there are any prayers, leave them on my voicemail. I will not be answering email or voicemail while I am away. For those with little or no faith, you will assume that this reinforces your belief that I do not exist. This is only temporary. Trust me when I tell you this: I do exist.

Be good to each other and take care of my animals. I created them long before you and there is a reason why. Could it be there is anyone who does not know that I, God, am an avid animal lover? I would think the PETA bumper stickers on my car would be a clue.

Remember to keep praying: it works even when I am away, just not the way you think it does.

Sincerely,
God

P.S. Will someone please put out my recyclables each Monday while I am gone? Much obliged.

So God hit the send button and you would have thought He’d just created another tsunami to flood the world. Humans everywhere were buzzing with the news. The New York Daily News headline read: “GOD TO WORLD: SCREW YOU!” and the Daily Post had similar bold headline in large, defiant typeface: “GOD SEZ DROP DEAD!” with the word “says” spelled S-E-Z.

But God was way overdue for this vacation. He had been at it for an eternity and was just burned out. The last few millennia, all he could think about was sitting on the beach with His IPOD Nano, sipping on one of those funny drinks with tiny umbrellas in them, getting sand caught in his beard and even getting a little sunburned. He figured he’d invite Jesus, Mary and Joe and the kids for a few days and they could rent mopeds, build bonfires on the beach and play hearts or pinochle until the early morning hours. If ever a deity was primed for a little R & R it was He!

So He left and the world faltered a bit. Traffic lights went crazy for a while changing randomly. The sun and moon decided to start rising and setting together leaving neither day nor night but rather a mix of the two for which no one could give a name. Poets went mad trying to write about the “something-set” or the “thing-a-ma-jig-rise”. Food started to grow scarce as wheat and other grains stopped growing without God’s presence. All the TV programming, for some reason, suddenly started turning into 24-hour news stations.

It was horrible.

But then, a crazy thing started happening. With God on no one’s side, sitting on a beach soaking up the rays, Muslims had no name to call out at soccer games. Christians no longer felt so self-righteous realizing they had no other advantage over other people. Jews stopped davening at the Wailing Wall since they knew no One was there to listen.

And since neither Jews nor Muslims had claims on any holy lands, the situation in the middle east grew less tense. Before too long, Muslims and Jews and Christians were breaking bread together, talking about Abraham, and Ibrahim and Jesus like they were long lost brothers, for in fact, this is exactly what they were. Soon they were saying things like: “Yahweh Who?” and “Allah Who?” and “Jesus Who?” and laughing about how each could have been so wrong about the other.

It was strange, but after the initial shock of God’s absence, people drew together to see their commonness more than their differences. Oh, there were troubles of course, even God could not, would not change this. And there were people who tried to use this opportunity to their own advantage too!

One guy in New Jersey using a Holstein dairy cow as his icon, tried to gather worshippers in God’s absence. They were called the “Holy Order of the Hoof and Udders” and they believed salvation was only possible in the recognition of the Bovineness of Human Life. Butter, cottage cheese and yogurt were sacraments and they performed rituals around the homogenization process. This did not catch on, however, since a large number of humans are lactose intolerant. (Rule number one when establishing a religion is to make certain most of your followers are not allergic to the sacraments.)

Another guy in Zimbabwe was proclaiming the divinity of the mosquito showing off bites as some sort of holy stigmata, until a small outbreak of malaria and encephalitis broke out in the region quickly putting the kibosh on that religion. The “Holy Order of Erythromycin and Quinine” soon started up after this and garnered many converts.

When the month was up, God, swinging in His hammock, flipping through his Franklin day planner, realizing that He had to go back, was just a little bit sad. He knew everything that was going on. I mean, He was omniscient, how could He NOT know? He tossed His clothes into His designer Ralph Lauren suitcase on wheels with an extra long handle, monogrammed with His initials: “G”.

He tossed His flip flops – gifts from Jesus long ago – into his bag. They were still gritty with some moist beach sand on them. He went back and when He did take His rightful place as the ruler of everything, things on the planet Earth began to return to normal. Unfortunately.

Soon – too soon in fact – the old prejudices and bigotries flitted back like they had been on vacation too. Soon enough, Muslims started hating Christians again. Christians started hated Muslims. And they both started hating the Jews. Everything was back to normal.

God booted up his laptop and listened to His voicemail: “You have 7,653,432,433 voicemails” the automated voice said. He just hit star-forward-426 on the phone buttons and forwarded them straight to hell. (Hell as a repository for voicemail was one of God’s best ideas, He thought, as He pressed the buttons.)

He popped a couple of aspirin as He already had a headache. He looked at the Great Calendar of Things hanging on His wall and wondered how He could ever make it through the next eternity. He counted the millennia until early retirement. It was so close He could taste it. Just for kicks, he pulled out the Book of Revelations and started thumbing through it, giggling as he did.

“Yeah,” He said aloud to Himself, “Not too much longer now.”

M C Biegner

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