I Called My God and No One Answered

I Called My God and No One Answered

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

    “Hello? Hello? Are You here? Hello?”

    These were my thoughts as I lay in the Intensive Care Unit.

    “Aren’t I supposed to be bargaining with You? Begging for my Life?”


    “Aren’t you supposed to be telling me why I need to stay here, go with You, or at least be with me while I choose?”

    Still nothing.


    There was no light. No tunnel. No comfort.

    I was pissed.

    “OK, fine. Well, if You are here, just make up Your mind what to do with me. I don’t care.

    If You aren’t here….

    Damn it…

    …I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

    What happened happened, and here I am.

    I had spent years trying to “be a Light unto my God,” while attempting to figure out what that meant. At one point, I had even wanted to be a religious leader. I studied. I prayed. I attended services. I paid dues. I volunteered. I engaged in activities. Hell, I had even led a few. I had associated myself with this Faith Community to the best of my ability for 20 years. At some point during the last 10, the best of my ability was no longer good enough – not that anyone had bothered to tell me. Then again, what did I expect? A letter?

    “Dear Ex-Congregant:

    Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed your progressive illness. Because of your inability to pay adequate dues or participate in activities, you are no longer entitled to the benefits of membership. This includes the support of our Care Committee. We are referring you to an agency that helps people like yourself, who through no fault of their own fail to meet the physical and financial standards of this Community. We wish you all the best.”

    No matter what a person is experiencing, there is a common perception that you can always turn to your Faith Community to help you. The members are your extended family. That is why the first question counselors, social workers and case managers ask is if you belong to a place of worship or affiliate yourself with any religion. Many people phoned my Community. It was the ICU all over again, except instead of waiting to hear a voice, I was waiting to hear the telephone ring. I had left messages for My God, and no one had answered.

    I was bewildered. What had happened? It turns out that the unconditional love purported by my Community isn’t so unconditional after all. I am worthy of time – as long as I can participate. I am worthy of service – as long as I can pay dues. I summoned every ounce of energy I had, and made the journey to my House of Faith; my place to call home, no matter what the circumstance. I was exhausted. My reward was to be a touch of human kindness, accompanied by the renewal of my spirit. I rang the bell. While waiting, I meditated on the “Come in! Welcome!” sign, meant for strangers. I was greeted with silence. I rang the bell a second time. Nothing. I had gone to the House of My God, and no one had answered.

    None of this reflects the doctrine we are supposedly following as members of this faith. It certainly is not gentle, compassionate, loving, or forgiving. I am devastated. These people had represented the qualities of the God I have been trying to understand and emulate my entire life. I am embarrassed for expecting things to which I am not entitled. Humiliated. I feel abandoned and rejected. Stupid. Ashamed. Worthless…and very, very alone.

    A Faith Community is different than the organization behind it. The organization is an institution, with guidelines and requirements. It is up to the affiliates (members) of this institution to flesh out the definition of community, and how it will be expressed on a practical level. In my Community, the Care Committee is not forbidden to care about me; members will not be ex-communicated if they visit. It is a matter of choice. The Priest, the Rabbi, or the Minister cannot do everything. No one person, no matter how educated, intelligent, healthy, sensitive and beloved can meet the needs of an entire Congregation, much less of every individual. The job description of a religious leader includes writing sermons, leading services, visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry – and those are just the basics. They also lead classes, plan events, and are active in the community at large. There are meetings to attend; paperwork to be done – and God alone knows what else. I certainly don’t.

    I refuse to dip my hand in blood and leave its print on parchment to be framed by a dictator. That is why I have chosen a Congregation based on Community. Members relish the freedom to participate. Unfortunately, no one has partaken of their freedom to interact with me. I wish I could just say “good riddens,” but I can’t. I can’t stop crying. I am feeling sorry for myself, and I don’t care who knows it. I’m human. I know that my ability to forgive, coupled with the passing of time will heal this wound – for the most part. However, I am also crying for who and what was once my Community…or at least, what I perceived it to be.

    When people are afflicted with chronic, terminal illness is when they most need a support system. Over time, friends, co-workers, etc. are lost, since they go on with their lives while the afflicted person is left behind. Depression ensues. The isolation is truly excruciating. My appointments are conducted by phone. Ambulances are my primary means of transportation. I am starving for human contact and affection. Humans were not created to be isolated. Otherwise, we would have each been born inside a pod, like the ones in the hospital; the ones encircling you when people become less important because you are close to meeting your Maker.

    What am I going to do? I am going to see what this agency to which I have been referred has to offer. However, I am going in thinking of it as an institution, with rules and regulations that may discourage the very purpose for which it claims to exist. No matter what the title or affiliation, the true test of character is how one treats a person who appears to have nothing to give in return. I would have had tons to give back – buckets and buckets of gratitude. If I were the Treasurer, that would pay my dues, and I would definitely be a member in good standing.


Leave a Reply