At Burning Man 2006, there was a phone booth where you could talk to God. That’s what the sign said. You could just pick up the phone in that payphone booth in the middle of the desert and God would be there on the other end.
I had a lot on my mind that week. I needed to talk. I had to wait a minute – there was a line forming – but I got my turn.
“Hello, this is God.” It was a friendly voice that sounded nothing at all like James Earl Jones.
The first thing I said, after ‘hello’, was “I miss you.” And I meant it. I had been searching for God off and on my whole life, but had almost given up the last ten years.
“I’m still here,” She responded. “I haven’t left you.”
“I know,” I said, glancing over my shoulder to see if anyone was eavesdropping. “It just feels that way sometimes.” (At this point I felt more exposed than I had in the crowded community shower.)
“You can talk to me anytime,” She said. And I said I’d like that. I wanted to get to know God again – not the fire-breathing judge in the sky who smiteth people unto the eleventh generation, but the friendly God in the desert, who talked with me in human words, who said we could be friends.
She said, “I love you,” and I said “I love you too,” and we promised to talk again soon, and then I hung up and got back on my bike.
I talk to God more now than I used to, but it’s hard, because I can’t hear Her voice.
And then I wonder: If we are all God’s children, is it possible that God could use our voices to talk with each other? And would we need a phone booth on the playa, or could we just say “I love you” and “I accept you just as you are” in person, in human words, and be God with each other?
Even though I knew that day that the phone booth was hooked up to a receiver in a nearby tent, and the operator was quite human, I still felt like I was talking with God.
And maybe I was.