My septuagenarian friend and I were sitting under a massive live oak during the hottest Floridian August on record. We were into our second six pack from the olde Coca Cola ice chest when he finishes his fourth or fifth beer, leans forward on his over tanned knees and whispers, “Do you believe in God?”
I sat back in my camp chair and took a nice slow draw on my long neck Bud while I decided whether to answer his rather rude question or tell him to “fuck off!” I don’t know whether it was the heat or the beer, but I decided to answer him and tell him the truth.
It was quite a few years ago; about the time I went from knowing everything to realizing I knew nothing. I decided that it was time God and I had a sit down, a meeting of the minds, a discussion.
My friend looked at me hard, grabbed another Corona from the cooler and sat back in his lawn chair. I grabbed myself another beer and continued:
“God,” I said, “I am well aware of all you have to deal with. You’re dealing with wars, famine, genocide and all. In addition, I cannot even imagine what is like having all those people whining, and begging and praying to you for favors. I’d have blown somebody’s head off by now.
I don’t know if you exist or not. I don’t think what I believes matters. It seems to me that what matters is whether you believe in me. Here’s what i suggest. I’m not going to bother you with prayers or adoration. Your psyche is certainly not so fragile that you need my or anyone’s adoration or sniveling prayers. You, for your part do your thing; and I won’t complain and will try to do what is right.
Do I believe in God? I never decided. He did what he thought was best; I did my best. He never asked if I believed in Him, and I never asked if He believed in me.”
My septuagenarian friend looked at the untouched sweating beer in his hand, looked me hard in the eye, chugged his beer and said, “Bullshit!”
I chugged my beer, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well, maybe it was more of a soliloquy.”