2004.12.04 Chatting With God
I'm at home, spending a quiet evening sharpening my staples. While I'm working away with my tiny little file, I hear someone coming up my front stairs. It could just be my neighbour that lives next to me, because we share a flight of stairs. But no, presently there's a knock at my door.
I let out a displeased breath through my nostrils, and go to the door with annoyed tact. I bend down and peer through the little fisheye lens to determine if this might be someone I actually know, and see a pleasant-looking bearded gentleman of dubious fashion sense. I mutter, "Oh Jesus Christ" under my breath and reluctantly yank open the door.
"Hello!" says the pleasant-looking bearded gentleman. "I'm Jesus Christ, your saviour."
"Look," I say in my most reasonable-sounding but impatient tone, "I'm just not interested in joining any religions, OK? Please just go away." I then deliver my usually-devastating glower with a touch of brooding eyebrow action.
The pleasant-looking bearded gentleman wrinkles his face with a frustratingly patient an benevolent expression. "I'm not merely some mortal messenger, but the actual messiah, here to talk to you."
"Yes. I saw that when I looked through the door. Don't you think that dragging that great bloody cross up the stairs was lacking a little subtlety?"
A bemused twinkle in his bright eyes make me want to kick him in the shins, and I would, except he continues the conversation in an effort to distract me. "I'm here to talk to you Clayton, because you've always said that you would not believe in me until you actually met me."
"Did I really say that?"
"Yes, you did."
"Well, I lied. Bugger off."
"You should know that I would not give up on you so easily, Clayton. Why will you not accept the Truth?"
Have you ever wanted to paper-cut someone to death with a copy of the Watchtower? I feel sort of like that. Except, of course, copies of the Watchtower don't readily exist in my proximity. It is then that I begin to succumb to that most dreaded of feelings: a desire to explain my theological orientation. I lower my glower to the worn sandals poking out from under the pleasant-looking gentleman's robe and say, "I can see that you mean well, but let me explain a few things to you."
Bemusement rings in his voice. "I understand everything, for I am the truth."
I cut him off. "See, that right there is the cusp of what you're doing wrong. I have no interest in being a wretched little repository of truth. I am a seeker of truth, but it is the seeking that gives meaning and purpose to my life. I need truth to be a direction, an asymptote, or second star from the left and onward until death. I've rejected all religion my entire life, not because I think it's wrong - though I do strong suspect it to be mostly wrong. I've rejected all religion my entire life because it misses the whole point of my existence. I do not need or want some easy answers. Especially easy answers that I think are mostly wrong, but even easy answers that are all correct are anathemas."
"Do you not want happiness and peace? What about love?" He sounds really concerned, which makes me doubt how omniscient he really is.
"Yes, I want them. But again, I need to seek them. They become meaningless if they are just given to me. I become meaningless without the seeking."
"How can the seeking of something be more important than what you seek?"
My enthusiasm wanes. "Well, it gives me a way to spend time doing something. If I knew all truth, felt utterly happy, at peace and loved - why not just lie sprawled on my back drooling?" I give a sigh of resignation, knowing that this wasn't really a satisfactory answer. "The search for the goal is more important than the ultimate goal itself because it is a more consistent compass. Whenever it seems possible, or probable, that the goal might not be reached, the seeking keeps me going in the correct direction when otherwise I might give up or flounder."
The pleasant-looking gentleman contemplates me with satisfaction while I shift uncomfortably. "Have you thought about telling other people this instead of just making fun of their beliefs?"
"Sometimes. Most of the time I'd rather just make fun of their beliefs though."
He grins at me, "You're such an asshole, Clayton."
I grin back. "You know it." And I slam the door in his face. Smug bastard.