Anyway, one side effect of all these oak trees is a million billion acorns, many of which pelt the house as they fall, which they do this time of year by the hundreds. And with acorns come squirrels. Oh, do I have squirrels. On my property alone there are near 100. Different clans, too: I have a family of black squirrels living back there among the grey ones. But they don't bother me, and I don't bother them - I kinda like the idea that I'm sharing the joint with critters who believe just as firmly that this is their property as I do. So they've long since ceased to cower at my presence, and will usually continue what they're doing with half an eye on my until I go back inside or reach my car.
Imagine my surprise, then, as I was standing outside the other day, enjoying the fair weather, when one of the furry little bastards walks right up to me, looking directly at me with neither fear nor hostility. He had an acorn in his little hands and he held it out to me.
"This is for you," he said, in perfect English. It was a voice I'd heard before.
"A squirrel?" I asked, incredulously. "Really?"
In the blink of an eye the squirrel disappeared and there before me stood, yet again, the Almighty. He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, crisply pressed, and an Oxford shirt with a thin red pinstripe. His Italian leather loafers were completely spotless, despite the fact that He'd just been a squirrel.
"Wanted to blend in," He said, and smiled. "Besides, it's a nice day to be in the woods."
"Well, come on in," I said, trying to sound hospitable. "It's been awhile. You find someone else to torment?"
"Been dealing a lot with the hurricane. You children named it Irene. What a funny habit, to name your natural disasters."
"That's what You've been doing lately?" I asked, with an edge to my voice. "Concocting natural disasters? What, You need to thin out the herd or something?"
He looked at me for a long second.
"Cleanup," He said slowly. "I was helping with cleanup. You think I like these things? But maybe you don't want an atmosphere with moving air, so that what you breathe is fresh and clean, despite your best efforts to foul it. Or perhaps you don't want moisture in your air, so it doesn't rain and you all perish for lack of clean water? Or is it that you don't want it to be warm ever? Just say the word, big boy, and I can make that happen too."
"Ok, it's not Your fault, I guess, but You sure as hell allowed it to happen."
"Allowed it to happen?" He asked with eyebrows raised. Hey, I invented the system. Sometimes, things happen. You know, that's so you, that attitude. You know what your problem is?"
"No conversation ended well that began with 'Do you know what your problem is,'" I said with a half smile. "But I suppose You know that too."
"Your problem," He continued, "Is that you can't let anything go. Ever."
Momentarily at a loss, I responded in a voice that trembled a bit, "I...I let things go..."
"Please," spat the Lord. "Name one thing. A member of your family wrongs you, twenty-odd years ago, and you're still harboring that. It's affected your relationship with his children, because of the walls you've put up. Your father died three and a half years ago and you're still reeling from that. Three and a half years, child! Everybody loses their parents. Would you have it the other way around? And you've lost other things too, some things you hold to be just as precious as losing a family member. More so, if I read your heart correctly, which by the way we're going to have to have a chat about that some one of these days. You think that every good and true thing, everything that ever made you laugh, everyone you ever loved, every great pleasure or tiny joy, should stay with you forever. And even considering the blink of an eye that is your time on this planet, forever is way too long a concept for you."
"So what do I do about it? I've noticed that You're pretty good telling me what's wrong with me - and by the way it's just fantastic that someone else besides the wife does that - but how do I fix it?"
His eyes softened and He motioned for me to sit.
"It has to come from within you, child. I can't help you. Just being here I'm violating my own rules. But you're hurting, you are hurting so badly, and you really have no reason to. You dwell on the wrong things, to your detriment."
"You violate Your own rules?" I asked with an upturned eyebrow. You're Your own scofflaw?"
"See?" He said with a smile. "Dwelling on the wrong things."
"Listen," I said. "These...things that I've lost. They're - they were - precious to me. More precious than anything else I've ever had or will have. You have no idea. Or maybe You do. But it really doesn't matter. Knowing what my problem is - and thanks so much for pointing it out to me - doesn't help me much."
"I know," He said sadly. "I wish I could snap my fingers and make it go away. Actually I can do that, but I'm not going to. This is something that you're going to have to come up with an answer to all by yourself. And while you sit there and stew on it, your life is running away with you.
"Look," He continued. "I have to go. But you need to hear this: It's not critically important that you fix this today. Things take time - I know that. I invented the whole idea of time. I invented things. So I guess I invented the notion of things taking time. That was actually pretty clever of Me. You know, it's been awhile since I invented anything big, like time, or things, or tapioca pudding. Yeah, that was Me. I should get back into the lab..."
"You're digressing," I said wearily.
"Right, right. Sorry. Anyway, yes, it's going to take time. But the important thing is this: You've got to start trying. What you've lost - those things are gone. They're gone forever, and no amount of moping around playing sad songs on your guitar is going to help."
He patted me on the shoulder and stood up.
"But now I've really got to go. It's almost winter and these acorns aren't going to gather themselves." He opened the screen door and in a flash He was a squirrel again. "Last thing, some of the squirrels are deliberately pelting your house with acorns. I'll try to get them to stop. THAT won't be easy, either." With a wave He turned and scampered back into the woods.
"What do you know," I thought to myself. "God scampers pretty well."
"Dwelling on the wrong things..." I heard from far away.