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Trouble in Heaven
And on Earth
The Method
The Fall
Symbols of Self
Hard Problems
Flesh of the Gods
Free Will
Ever Beginning
Never Ending

Chapter 9

To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

                                                                                William Blake, 1808


Lovejoy was dazed. Gods upon Gods. And life in the ethereal realms. Why was this so important? To Jehovah or to his psyche. All he knew was that there were lots of specifics that he didn't recall thinking about before. Maybe he was combining unconscious information in new ways. If so it must be meaningful to him at some level.

He pulled on his sweats and went outside. The dew refracted the morning sun, creating a green field full of sparkles. The air was sweet with the smell of cut grass. And his landlady's nephew was already up, playing in the beige stone gravel driveway.

"Theo, what are you doing?"


Lovejoy approached. It looked like Theo was building walls with the little pebbles. When he looked closer Theo was placing lines of stones at cross purposes to an ant line.

"Seems like you're blocking the ants."

"Yeah. They were trying to clean up this crushed grasshopper."

"Why are you stopping them?"

"I just wanted to see if I could."

"Did it work?"

"Only for awhile. Then they found a way over them."

Lovejoy thought. Theo was a God to them. For no better reason than curiosity, he was making their job difficult. He could be more troublesome. He could stand up and wipe clean their entire playing field with one sweep of the foot. Today he didn't do that.

Theo noticed one ant having trouble climbing over one larger stone he had put in the way. He took a small twig and tried to help the ant over it. Initially, Theo wasn't too accurate with the twig. He either broke the poor ant's back or knocked a leg off. Lovejoy couldn't quite see, but the ant suddenly seemed a bit lame. Finally Theo helped the unfortunate subject up and over the stone. It was not at all clear if it would be able to benefit from its new position.

What a strange twist of fate from the ant's point of view. The God had tried to help it. But in his lack of experience with the ant world, this God had tortured it. Why did Theo turn his attention to this particular ant? Did Theo answer a prayer to help the ant over the stone? Lovejoy didn't think so. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed to Lovejoy that it was unusual for the Gods to focus in on one subject's problems. And of course, if they did, the help may not be too welcome.

If prayer seemed to help, and their were studies to indicate that it did, it must be through some unseen force emanating from the person who prays.

It also seemed that if Theo was somewhat impersonal to the ant, he was undoubtedly completely impersonal to the layers of bacteria, fungi and other microscopic inhabitants of the stones and soil below his shoes. The question of whether the Gods were personal or impersonal had something to do with how big the gulf was between the life forms. If the God was relatively close in size, power and level of complexity to the subject, then we could imagine a personal relationship. But if God was more supreme, more universal in relation to the subject, their relationship was impersonal and much more theoretical in nature.

This is what Jehovah had pointed out. But why? Wasn't this the same God who said in the Bible, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." Maybe he wanted to control things in a very direct sense.

Buddhism seemed to have an intellectual approach to the universe. There was some concept of a universal energy, but all the personalities were lesser Gods and delusions of a sort. Maybe Jehovah's Buddy was trying to teach a bigger picture.

Lovejoy wanted to talk to those who were Gods to Jehovah and Buddy. But maybe that wasn't possible. Maybe they didn't even think in ways which Lovejoy could understand in any normal sense. After all, how could Lovejoy interact in any meaningful way with a bacterium.

It was time to refocus. He had to fly to Boston today. He was looking for a new job, a new town and a new future.

Lovejoy bade Theo "a Dieu."

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