The VigilanceVoice
Tuesday- April 2, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 203

A Conversation With God About Peanuts And Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, April 2--"So," God boomed, his Voice shaking the feathers off the angels roosting vigilantly on the crown of his throne, "you're back.   Want a Diet Pepsi?"
        I sat in the small chair before Him, clutching the worn handles where thousands before had felt the same as I--infinitely small.   I could feel the knobs under my fingers where prior adventurers had clutched the chair in hope God's wrath might not blow them out of the seat and cast them flailing headlong into the heavens where gravity would once again appear, and one's body would plummet to the earth like Sisyphus' rock.
        "No thank you, sir," I responded.
        "Just call me Gee, that's phonetic for the letter G, and short for God.  I'm not impressed with salutations"  He took a big swig from the Diet Pepsi can, then gave me a soft look.  "Not that you're here to impress me with civility," He said.  "I didn't mean to imply you were out of line calling me, sir.   I just prefer that we be equal in our conversations, and you feel comfortable."
       Ha, I thought, equal?   Hardly.  God was so large I craned my neck to look up.  His chair was carved three times the size of the one in the Basically in Rome, and he would make Paul Bunyan look like a dwarf next to him.
      "Ah," God sighed.  "I forgot.  Excuse me!"
      I blinked my eyes and as they reopened, God appeared before me, my size, an older man with lots of wrinkles and a large pointed beard he stroked, more like a philosopher than a Santa Clause.   His skin was a combination of white and black and yellow and copper, a potpourri of the many degrees of ethnicity He had created on earth.
      "Peanut?"  He produced a bag of peanuts hidden from my sight beside the chair, and snapped the husk of one, offering me the fruits of his cracking labor.   I hesitated for a moment, thinking I might refuse His proffered gift, but then thought He might take offense and held out my palm as he shook the two shelled rosewood colored nuts into my hand.  I popped them in my mouth and chewed slowly as Gee snapped a couple and munched on them.
      "You're here about Vigilance again?  Haven't given up yet, huh?   Still think people will listen to you?"
      "Yes.  I hope they will."
      Gee laughed.  I grabbed the chair.  Even though He was normal sized, His Voice cracked thunderously, and the Heavens trembled as He clutched his gut to restrain Himself from toppling all the angels from their roots.
      "They haven't listened to me, boy.  Why should they listen to you?"  He laughed heartily again.  I felt the hair on my head whoosh back, as though I were standing in a wind tunnel.  My cheeks were forced back as the velocity of his laughter pressed my body against the thick high-backed chair in which I sat.    The cloud on which the chair rested shook.
      "I didn't mean to be presumptuous, Gee," I said. 
      "I know, son.  I know.  It is always humorous to me that Voices such as yours compete with my Voice...and often ring louder to more than mine.    It's like little kids in a playground...they get advice from each other and refuse to listen to their parents...what do parents know anyway...?"   Again, he chuckled.  My chair shook slightly.  I kept my grip ready in case the volume increased.
      "It's been two-hundred and two days since Ground Zero.   I need your support.  I sometimes feel my Voice is dying in the wind."
      Gee drained the Diet Pepsi and tossed the empty peanut shells onto the fluffy floor of the undulating clouds.   Two angels swooped down and picked them up, wagging their fingers at him in admonishment.
      " littering...I forget!"   Gee glanced over at me and smiled.  "Before you humans were created, I could throw peanut shells anywhere I wanted," He said softly, pretending the angels couldn't hear.  "They automatically recycled.  Mulch for the earth. Then, after I created Adam and Eve, and civilization began, all these ecological rules appeared.   Now, the angels have taken them to heart.   I can't do anything without being reminded not to be messy.  Ah, the problems of omnipotence are not simple, my son.    But enough of me--what is your question?"
      Gee tossed me the peanut bag.  I grabbed at it instinctively, forgetting that without my hands clutching the rails of the chair I might be spun like a feather into the blue velvet of Heaven's heartland.   I held the bag with one hand and grabbed hold of the rail with the other.
      "I just needed a pep talk, I suppose, Gee.   To see if I'm on the right track or not."
      "Doubting yourself again, huh," Gee said, popping another Diet Pepsi.  "It's normal.  I laced Hope with Doubt, gives it some tension, makes it worthwhile when you struggle through it.  Doubt is the engine to Hope, you know."
       "I understand," I said, having taken that lesson to heart.   "But, it seems the world is tiring of this battle against Terrorism...wanting the quick fix...the instant solution...and, what I am doing is long-range. I'm asking people to make Vigilance a way of life, not a doorstop.   And no one is responding."
       "You mean, you haven't sold any Pledges of Vigilance today?"  He laughed deeply, this time controlling the force so my chair didn't shake in the wake.
       "That's one measure, Gee.  I'd give them away if I thought people found value in something for nothing!"
       Gee stroked his beard.  "You're right, son.  People have this quirk.   If they get something like Grace for free they just expect it to keep coming.   People think something for free is worthless.   Like air.  I give them air and they smoke, and choke the air with pollutants.  Or, I give them water pure from glaciers and they muck it up with irrigation and fertilizers, or build dams to light up streets and work televisions and computers.   And toilet flushing.   Why I watched someone the other day flush the toilet six times in one sitting.  What a waste!"
        "I'm trying to get the Pledge out there, Gee.  I'm trying but it isn't working.   I need some help."
        I thought Gee was going to fall over backwards in his chair.   He roared like a lion, tossing his head upward so the shaft of air he expelled made the stars above dance and glitter in the sky.  "I gave them the Ten Commandments for free and they haven't even memorized them yet.  Go ask ten people to recite them for you--just watch the blank look on their faces after they stumble through one or two.   You want a Pledge of Vigilance, son?   Try using those!"  His Voice raised in timbre.   I thought perhaps He was going to grow huge again and swat at me like I was a noxious fly trying to steal some mustard from a hot dog He was easting.  I cowered in my chair.
      Gee's countenance shifted to consolation.  "Sorry, son.  That wasn't appropriate.   I shouldn't have done that."   He reached out took my trembling hand.
      "I understand.   It's frustrating.  You think you have this great answer to help people see the light of wisdom--to help them navigate the darkness--and they just don't see it as you see it, son.   They are too busy wrapped up in themselves.   I have to admit your Pledge has an edge over the Ten Commandments.   You made yours to the benefit of the children--directly.    I didn't.  I assumed humans would be smart enough to connect that something good for them was also good for their children, and their children's children.  I was wrong.   I should have called it, The Ten Children's Soul Safety Commandments.  Maybe they would have looked at them more closely.  So, you're on the right track, son."
      He reached for the peanut bag and broke a shell apart with a loud snap.
      "I want you to go back down to earth, boy.  You keep promoting your Pledge Of Vigilance.  You keep the Faith.   One day they will listen--not all--some--and they will use what you have offered."
     "But what more can I do?   I know there is much more to do...I guess I am getting blocked.   Can you help me there?"
     Gee had cracked a pile of nuts as I stammered out my question.  He scooped them into his mouth and chewed for a while before he spoke.
     "Promote!  Promote!  Promote!"
     I waited.  He said nothing else.
     "How?" I asked.
     "If I knew that for sure, everyone would spew the Ten Commandments at the drop of a hat," He replied.   "I only know if you believe in your Pledge of Vigilance, if you believe that Fear, Intimidation and Complacency can be fought with Courage, Conviction and Action, then promote it.   Keep pounding the keyboard. Keep issuing out press releases.  Keep shoving the rock up the mountain."
      "That's it?"  I felt deflated, expecting more from Gee. After all, he was the Almighty.  One sweep of his hand and the world could spin off its axis.
      "What else is there, son?   Isn't Vigilance about seeing past the rock?"  He leaned back and studied me, his eyes leveling at me, forcing me into myself.
      I thought about it.  I saw the rock in front of me.  It started as a pebble.   But as time passed and the responses to my web page grew nil to nothing, the rock grew larger and larger.   Two-hundred and two days later I was dwarfed in its shadow; my shoulder ached from trying to fruitlessly move it forward.   I hadn't thought about seeing through the rock--I had only thought about moving it, or letting it roll back on me.
      "I guess, Gee!"
      "What if one or two people a few months from now start reading all the things you have written?  What if they realize the depth of your message because they know you have the belief in what you say?  Maybe they will become your Sentinels of Vigilance, your scouts, your disciples and carry the Word to others?"
       I let His words sink in.
       "I wasn't very successful on my own," Gee said.  "So I sent a lot of sons to do the job.  I sent Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Nanbush--he's an American Indian spirit--and a host of others to carry the Word, to enhance the Word.   Each one presented it slightly different.   There is the Koran, the Bible, the Torah...just to name a few.   In the deep rain forests where modern religion has yet to penetrate, the villagers build the message in their own tongue, in their own way.  There is that rabbit character, Nanbush, the Indians honor as part of their Great Spirit.   There are countless messages old and new out there, son.  Each adds to the pot.  Each flavors the stew of unity, of peace over war, of Vigilance over Terrorism, of Right over Wrong.
     "New ways of fighting Terrorism are needed, son.   But like the old ways, they are not easy to promulgate.   You might need disciples.  You might need to go preach the message.  You might need to stand on the street corner and shout the benefits of becoming a Parent of Vigilance.   I don't know, son.   I only know that if you see past the rock, through the rock, under the rock, around the rock, you'll know you are on the right path.  Is there anything else?"
       "No, sir. I mean, Gee!"
      "Good.  Because the answer to all your questions, all your doubts is hidden in peanut shells."  
       With that cryptic comment He stood and scooped his big hands under my armpits, lifting me out of the chair and set me on a cloud.  He motioned for an angel.  It flew down and offered its back to me to mount.
      "Peanut shells?"  I looked quizzically at Gee.
      "Litter," Gee said softly, lovingly.  "Think of your mind being littered with peanut shells.  The harder you try and crack the nuts, the more peanut shells you create.  If you don't sweep them away, they blind you.   Maybe that's all that's standing in your way--not a rock--just a lot of peanut shells.   Which would you rather move from your vision--a huge heavy rock, or a lot of little peanut shells all stacked up to appear as a rock?"
     I smiled.   "Thanks, Gee."
    "You can call me, God," He said, His body taking on the gigantic form it originally had when I first appeared before Him.  "But you can think of me as a peanut shell, something easy to move.  So when you pray next time, pray to the nut inside the peanut shell.   You'll crack your nut--you'll move the litter of Doubt that blinds you from time to time.  Just keep on cracking peanuts, son.   Perseverance and Patience will overcome Hesitation and Impatience."
       With that He lifted his hand.  A great wind swept through Heaven and the angel opened its wings.  I felt myself rising, swirling up into the velvet blue-black of the diamond-studded sky.  
       In the distance I thought I could hear God's Voice booming, "Semper Vigilantes--Semper Vigilantes."

 Go To April 1--The Greatest Fool Of All--Terrorism

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