In Vain

God stood up in his heaven and surveyed the earth. He saw that men and women were pretending that it mattered where they prayed—against a wall, against a floor, against a strip-tease pole, against a refrigerator—and he saw that they were pretending that it mattered when they prayed—before breakfast, before siesta, after the cocktail hour, in the middle of bad comedy movies—and he saw that they pretended that prayer itself could make changes in the world and he got very angry and said, “Goddam it, you stupid fools! God, you make me sick!—Oh, I’ve taken my name in vain. Well, so what? I’m not going to pretend that it matters.”

Then God stopped pretending he was powerful, stretched himself horizontally, like a cloud, and drifted off in my imagination until I stopped and he was nothing.

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