"No longer do I call you servants... but now I have called you friends." (John 15:15)
Wandering through the Winter forest, I came upon God sitting in the moss under a cedar, weeping, palms pressed over ears to drown out the din of human prayer.
I sat down and put my arm around God's shoulders. "I'm sorry," I said. "I hope I'm not disturbing you."
"I'm so tired," God replied, "and nearly deaf! So many beggars asking me for things, things, things, but not one Friend asking me for me. "
"I didn't know God needed friends," I said.
God replied, "Disciples want my discipline. Worshipers want my attention. But friends just want to hang out. I have billions of disciples and devotees, but not many friends."
"I can be your friend," I said. "Let's hang out here awhile."
"All right," God answered.
So we sat on the mossy cedar roots, gazing into wondrous layers of green on green in the deep and ancient forest. Then I said, "God, thank you for creating all this."
"Actually," God said, "I didn't create any of it."
"O?" I said.
"I just let it happen," God said. "It's more interesting that way, never knowing what comes next."
"O," I said.
And God replied, "I like that. That's a good prayer."
"What?" I asked.
"O," God said. "The sound you made, just that one little O."
"O is enough?" I asked.
"O is all I need," God said. "They're always whining, O Jesus do this, O Jehovah do that, O Allah give me this, O Lord take it away. No one just says, O."
So we both whispered O a few times, until its echo dissolved into zeros of silence inside us. God and I sat together for an hour in that empty O as shadows lengthened, spilling their darkness among the ferns. Evening stole over the fir and cedar and hemlock. Night came.
"I have to go," I told God. "But I'll come back and meet you here, if you want to hang out."
"I'll be here," God said. "Just make me one promise."
"All right," I said.
"Promise not to ask me for anything."
"Deal," I said. "Now you make me one promise."
"All right," God said.
"Don't give me any rules to follow."
"Deal," God said.
We turned, each to our own way, and wandered home.