Who would want God’s job
Who would want the
job of being God? I found myself asking that question more than once
as we sat on the tow path being entertained by one of his slightly
more demanding, not to say eccentric disciples. Let me set the scene.
An old friend of
mine, we’ll call him John, because that’s his name, had phoned out of
the blue and asked where we were and we had made arrangements to meet
him at our next stopping place. Along with Bob and Marie, our
boating, and now travelling companions, we were all enjoying the
sunshine and whiling away a pleasant afternoon sitting on the tow
path, drinking tea and generally getting in the way of the many
locals trying to enjoy a relaxing walk. One such local smiled and
said hello in a pleasant enough way as she strolled past. She cut a
striking figure dressed all in figure hugging black and sporting
white crew cut hair and bright red lipstick. She was easily
recognisable as she returned about ten minutes later and this time
she decided we were beyond a casual greeting, she was ready to talk.
And boy, could she talk.
Delighted to have
found a captive audience of five with no obvious means of escape she
launched into the story of her husband’s lost mobile phone and God’s
part in it’s return without wasting any time on introductions or
small talk. She seemed to possess a rare ability to talk for long
periods without pausing for breath but with the unfortunate side
effect of producing a continuous fine spray of spittle which cascaded
down onto poor Marie who happened to be in the line of fire.
Eventually, after going off on many complex tangential narratives we
arrived at the explanation of how the mobile phone was found and
handed in to a local shop and subsequently returned to her husband.
The kind person that had found it had left a message explaining that
they had no means of contacting it’s owner but sincerely hoped it
would find it’s way back to them via the shop. This, apparently, was
all God’s work and he was rewarded with twenty quid on the following
Sunday for his efforts. She went on to tell us other reasons why she
had had cause to slip God a twenty now and again and of the many,
many times she had called on her long suffering deity for his help.
By now we were all
crying helplessly with laughter and wiping tears from our eyes as
poor Marie mopped herself down and assured our excited story teller
that she was just enjoying being lucky enough to be in the front seat
for the performance. Over the next half hour we learned in some
detail about the domestic disputes that regularly occurred between
our new friend and her husband who was, apparently, waiting for her
back at the car “because his legs weren’t too good and he couldn’t
walk very far”. I am ashamed to say that the thought crossed my
mind that he probably had the legs of a long distance runner but had
carefully cultured the story of his worsening legs over the years as
a means of escape. These disputes, she told us, led to long periods
where she refused to speak to him. It must have been torture for her
and a brief but blissful interlude for him. There were many other
stories involving loss and bribery of the Almighty but she finally
ran out of steam, and bodily fluids, while I was in the boat taking a
much needed natural break. When I came back out she had gone,
returning to her patient husband who was, no doubt, hoping for a
fresh falling out. We never learned about his religious standing but
if he did believe in God I strongly suspect that he may have been
quietly praying, telling God that there was a hundred pounds in it
for him for the unsafe return of his wife.
If, in the extremely
unlikely event that the star of this story should ever read this, I
would like to emphasise that we all thought you were absolutely
wonderful and if there is a God in heaven we have no doubt that he is
keenly anticipating your eventual arrival at his side.