Issue Thirty-Two - Summer 2018

A Little God in my Coffee

By Janet R. Kirchheimer

God dropped by last Tuesday morning, sat right down at my kitchen table, introduced Himself, and asked if I wanted to have coffee and some conversation. Believe me, I was thrilled He decided to come to my apartment, but all I could think about was why didn’t He remember that I don’t drink coffee. Perhaps God was using it in that generic way – let’s meet and have something to drink.

Once when I was about eight years old, my mother let me try some of her coffee. I didn’t like it. She told me that I’d like it when I got older. But I never did. I drink herbal tea. Wouldn’t God know this? I couldn’t let it go. And how did I know for sure this was God? He didn’t look much like George Burns or Morgan Freeman, but He did have the requisite long, flowing white hair and beard and, to top it off, was wearing a robe and sandals. Actually, he was looking quite Biblical.

Should I have tested Him? Asked Him to part the seas in my bath tub or produce a burning bush? But I decided to set all my concerns aside and treated God like any other guest. “Would you like something to drink or eat?” I asked Him. I was trying to be a good hostess. “On occasion, I like to drop in on one of my creatures and let them ask Me a question,” He said.

This was my big shot. How many people get a visit from God, never mind get to ask a question while He’s sitting at their kitchen table? Why me? What made God come to my small one bedroom, third-floor walkup? Not rich, certainly not a good housekeeper, I wasn’t doing anything that special with my life unless you count volunteering at a nursing home once a month, wheeling patients to bingo. Just a bank teller, and not even all that busy these days – most people bank on line.

Think, girl, think, I kept telling myself. You’ve got to come up with a really great question. Don’t blow this. There’s the theodicy problem, something that has kept philosophers busy since, well, the beginning of time. And what about illness and death? These were all good things to ask about.

God got up, started pacing and looking pretty antsy. Not a good sign. I was really getting nervous. What if He was trying to trick me and wanted to see if I picked up on the coffee thing? What if I wasted my question on asking something stupid like, “Any chance for thinner thighs?” Even though that was high up on my list.

Maybe God was testing me like He did with Abraham at Sodom way back in the Bible. Told him that He’d destroy the city, and Abraham said something like, “Wait a minute. What if you can find fifty righteous people in the whole bunch?” There weren’t even ten to be found, but Abraham spoke up. He asked a question. Is that what God wanted from me? Lord, I wished I’d paid more attention in Hebrew school. Starting to crack under the pressure, my palms were wet, not to mention the several beads of sweat racing down the curve of my back. So I decided to speak up.

“God, excuse me for a minute; I have to make a quick phone call. Make yourself at home, the La-Z-Boy is really comfortable. It’s new,” I managed to squeak out.

So I did what any mature 34-year-old would do. I called my mother. And where was she when I needed her? Not answering her phone. She always has great words of advice such as, “God has a very big zoo, and you’re just one of His many creatures,” and my personal favorite, “Why be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be impossible?” She would have definitely known what to ask. Maybe I should have asked God to visit someone else, to give me a little more time to think and then come back. But I figured that wasn’t a smart idea. He’d just move on.

Trying to calm myself down, I paced back and forth, took a few deep breaths and walked back into the living room hoping He hadn’t left. I had to speak, after all that’s what God did when He created the heavens and earth. “Let there be light.” If He could speak, and I was one of his creatures, so could I.

“God, here’s what I’ve always wanted to –” He interrupted, “I knew that’s what you’d ask me.” I should have seen it coming. That’s exactly what my mother would have said.

Copyright 2018 Kirchheimer