GOD ON THE LINE
By susan q. miller
“You can’t answer the phone when you’re dead.” That was the first thing on my mind this morning even before my feet touched the floor. No, you can’t answer the phone, but when you’re dead, neither can you dance or sing or touch another human being, that is, unless you’re buried touching another corpse or one of your organs is planted in someone else’s body. What an odd thing to think, even for me.
The next thing to cross over my cortex was “God is not calling, you’re not obligated to answer the phone.” Long ago, before the invention of the telephone answering machine, these familiar words were offered by a friend. Since I always hoped She would call, I ran enthusiastically to pick up the receiver every time the phone rang.
What prompted my mind to venture through this territory in my helpless state of semi-consciousness? What does it mean “You can’t answer the phone when you’re dead?” The most obvious answer to this question is that we must connect while we can. While we’re still breathing we have an opportunity to answer, to respond to a call. Perhaps my friend was wrong. Perhaps God is calling.
I’ve heard it said that friends, both those people with whom we share a lifetime and those who pass through in an instant, are angels in disguise. They challenge and inspire, sometimes they criticize or question our motives or our behavior. Unless the lines are open, however, we will not hear or understand the value of the gift they offer. Metaphorically, we must get off the hook—break free of the old patterns of thinking and acting, pick up our receiver and answer the call.
A well-known Spiritual World leader was once asked about his communication with God. He responded by saying that he didn’t hear voices, but he did experience moments of deep conviction. Haven’t we all felt that “conviction,” that sense of “knowing” beyond our typical human understanding? Sometimes in those moments of clarity we “’know” what we must do or say or change in our lives. Will we respond by doing anything or will we try to pretend we have not heard the call? Perhaps this is what is meant by “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Is it possible that what was originally intended for this statement was translated inaccurately? Could the message have actually been “Many are called, but few choose to answer?”
Given the current state of our world, are many of us being called to make personal changes in our lives? Do we hear that ringing within what suggests we think and act more responsibly, more globally? Are we being called to speak more from the heart and less from old tapes?
My day begins with this sort of musing. If the telephone that now sets silently on my desk rings, will I answer? Most assuredly, yes! If angels come to me in whatever form and offer gifts...words or insights that require a response or a change, will I receive them gratefully? Will I recognize the messenger or the message or will my ego block the call?
The next time I “know,” will I pretend not to know so I can maintain the status quo of mediocrity? Do I really favor laziness? Oh my God, so much to think about on an empty stomach. I guess it’s time to answer my body’s call for breakfast.