The Search For God

People I know and love
kept saying there was no God.
I didn’t buy it. Could have sworn 
I met God once or twice.

I went over to the former God-place.
No one was home. I let myself
in. Looked through scattered papers
for a current address. Admired

some old family photos. There was a lot
of unopened mail piled up under the slot,
though not as much as you might expect.
Nothing offered a clue as to

the present whereabouts of God. I did see
an oak tree failing out back, a garden
of dried-up stems, a pile of brush
by a cold circle of ash. Began to realize

that God must have moved on long ago from
such settled addresses. Maybe God
bought an RV on credit and took up
a nomadic lifestyle, campground

to campground, put faith in
long ribbons of road under holy black wheels
in pursuit of happiness. Maybe no one
had ever offered God happiness. Come to think of it

God was never smiling when I ran across them
on those strange occasions when we met.
There was a grimness to those
moments. I was unsettled. Perhaps 

God was as well. I don’t blame God 
for putting distance between us,
now that I recollect that appalling neediness.
I cannot imagine how long I’d stand for that.

I left the former house of God and walked
a long way down the road seeking their tracks
until I came to my senses.  Let God be happy,
I decided. If I believe anything, I believe

they’ve earned a right to restlessness
in the face of our constant pressure — 
and I’ve got a home of my own. So
I turned back. 

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

3 responses to “The Search For God

  • Eileen

    I am not a poet. In fact, haven’t ever enjoyed poetry much until I discovered yours. I wrote it during five rough years in a wheel chair, as sort of a short hand way to express what I was experiencing. But I love your poetry and have read a lot of it, so I am imposing two of mine that seem to me to relate to yours. I don’t expect a comment, just wanted to respond in kind to yours.

    GOOD FRIDAY GOD

    What kind of God are you, dying like that?
    I want a real God, a “fix it “ God,
    not one that gets himself crucified.
    You’re just as helpless as the rest of us.
    Here we are dying together.
    What a weird way to save a world!

    Such sorrow pierced your mother.
    Yet, she didn’t run away.
    She stayed there suffering too.
    Was she filled with a mother’s self doubt?
    “Could she have done anything?
    Would it have made a difference?”

    I watched my mother die by inches.
    Her dignity destroyed
    by fourteen years of Alzheimer’s.
    I’ve seen my children make choices
    that would cost them for life.
    I could only ask, “Am I to blame?”

    I listened to my friend whose mind
    had become her enemy.
    I heard her pain, yet could not help.
    I hate being helpless, not good enough
    or smart enough to help
    even the ones I love the most.

    Not long ago, you did miracles
    even in my own small life.
    Now I just see our brokenness.

    You are a Good Friday God.

    I think about the expectations
    you gave your Apostles.
    Only Judas got the picture.
    How disillusioned he became.
    He must have felt that you
    were betraying them all.
    Sometimes I’m just like Judas,
    recognizing that we
    are all sheep being shorne.

    I’m even as cowardly
    as Peter in asking
    more or less, “Jesus who?”
    But I know as well as John did
    that your love is perfect.
    That we need nothing more.
    Even though like doubting Thomas
    I fear a hard ending,
    you are my Lord and my God,
    my only God.

    So I ask the grace to follow,
    Though through the cross you call,
    my Good Friday God.

  • Eileen

    I can’t express my experiences nearly as well as you do. I am always amazed by how well I can relate to your descriptions of your reality. I used to say that God was alive and well, but living in Argentina.
    I identify with the apostle Thomas. He got a bad rap. He was a realist. No illusions about how going to Jerusalem was going to end, but willing to go with Jesus, even though it seemed Jesus was determined to get himself and probably the rest of them killed. Mother Teresa suffered terrible depression once her experiences of God stopped. Like Thomas, she gritted her teeth and kept on carrying out what she thought she was called to do, but she had times when she thought she must have been crazy or had somehow lost her way.

  • Eileen

    The Journey
    At first, it seemed as if God walked
    through the garden of my life
    on velvet kitten paws,
    gifting me with fleet impression
    of brushing soft caress,
    leaving feather light prints
    in the tender earth
    of my spirit.

    But, in later times, God climbed
    the granite mountain of my will
    using painful stake and hobnail boots
    to gain each foothold,
    bringing about His kingdom
    through the thundering voice
    of circumstance.

    Then recently, I sensed God lost,
    absent on Sabbatical
    of undetermined length,
    leaving only fading echoes
    in my memory.
    Until at last, in desert night
    and aching loneliness,
    I faced my emptiness
    and discovered Her within.

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