Years later, after I’d been in remission for a while, I would attend a very good friend of mine’s wedding. He would introduce me as one of his groomsmen, tell a few stories about our friendship, and conclude that I was the only guy he knew who could make a story about sticks interesting. I would like to share that story here about how I invented and conceived of God from a few sticks.
I was in love for the first time, I was on an educational path which would lead me to financial success, and I was in the prime of my youth - until it ended; the love, that is. I would barely make it out of third year final exams, only to return in the summer to my small, farming community, home town. Nothing could have prepared me for the mental torment I would endure that summer.
It all started with a very severe panic attack which lasted roughly one half hour. From there, by and by, I sunk into a deep depression. So deep was this state that the meaning of words and objects no longer registered in my brain. Every couple of weeks spent in this emptiness was culminated by another severe anxiety attack in which I thought the world, along with my self, and everyone and everything in it would be annihilated. It was annihilation anxiety. Between bouts of anxiety I would spend my time stocking grocery store shelves in the midnight hours. This was in no way good for my health. Along with the depression, the anxiety, and the crummy job, I ventured on with things, as I always had, assuming a light was at the end of the tunnel.
One day, as I was wonton to do, I travelled down to the river and sat on a spot at the bank. It was a muddy river; about 200 metres wide, moving slowly with the current, and very still. At the bank where I was sitting some sticks and small pieces of driftwood were gently floating on the water. Now, at this time my ability to relate words to objects had been demolished inside the depression. I was interested however in the possibility that just by looking at the sticks I might be able to cause them to move. So, for the next couple of minutes I concentrated on this bizarre endeavour.
Coming up the river was a tug boat, moving slowly. I watched it with intent and I drew an imaginary line between my spot on the river bank across the river. I estimated that given about 25 seconds, the tugboat would cross this imaginary line (something which I found vaguely interesting in an entirely nerdish manner). To my slight surprise, as the tugboat gained way, a speedboat appeared from the opposite direction heading down stream. I watched intently as the tugboat, the speedboat, and the imaginary line between my position and the other bank of the riverside all coincided at the same moment! Hoorah!!!
Now this got the gears going in my head. How could it be that all three of us had intersected at this precise moment? Imagine the odds of all three of us going about our day in such a way that, had we instead done anything even remotely otherwise time consuming during our day, this occurrence would have never had happened. The likelihood of this event alone amazed me. I thought that on a sub atomic level the intersection of three atoms at once must be occurring quite often indeed! But on a macroscopic scale?! Forsooth! I had no words to describe it. Nonetheless as the speedboat quickly continued onwards downstream, and the tugboat slowly upstream, I sat in my spot with the amusement of this happening starting to fade.
What now caught my attention was the wake in the water, produced by the boats. I stared at it intently without realizing what would soon happen. The first wave of wake approached the banks, followed by another, and another, and within a few moments it was right upon me. When that first wave of wake crashed against the bank of the river, right where I was sitting, I gazed in utter stupification at what was happening. The sticks on the bank were now moving up and down with the crash of water. It was all happening quite violently. One wave of wake after another crashed against the banks of the river. This collection of sticks which I had set out to move with my intention was now moving on its own. Suddenly it occurred to me that this very rare, and improbable event had been ordained by the Universe to show me that, somehow, it was possible for me in ordinary time to approach a certain location in space and form a certain intention - but that, for the Universe, it was possible to instantaneously arrange such a series of events that the extreme finitude of my own volitional power would be utterly put to shame by the timeless and dimensionless volitional powers of GOD!!!
Now, I had conceived God. That was to be sure. No other explanation would suffice. And I quickly took my leave from the riverbank with this idea still foaming in my mind. Out of the nothingness of depression, I had been given a tool, also designed by nothingness, which would add an even emptier layer of nothingness to the already stifling madness I was enduring at the time. And that is the story of how a floating collection of sticks and driftwood gave me the ability to invent the conception of God out of a very rare and improbable event.
Now, I know many of you will think, “as rare and improbable as that event may have been, no ordinary person in their right mind would assume the existence of God based on that occurrence!” And many of you would be right. However, I was so desperate for something to mean anything at all, that this improbable occurrence opened my empty and depressed mind to the possibility of a Universe which could predict my intentions and predict my location and time, and - out of thin air - send me a message - so very clear and far reaching. Needless to say, within a couple of weeks I was noticing sneezes and coughs on the bus and was tying them back to an irritating twitch I’d developed in my solar plexus. It wasn’t long before that summer of intense anxiety and depression would cascade into full blown psychosis with a headache of such proportions that it would last four consecutive years. In the place of heartache I had, through no effort but my own, substituted a psycho-somatic tension headache which I knew was there in my mind, but hurt so much that I could not feel it. And for that very reason it lasted four years. Later on, when I would come out of the mind-fuckery, I would talk to the devil and say, “For God’s sake Lucifer! Why did it have to last four years?” And Lucifer would merely remark, “Try seven. It’s worse.”
Most of us are three monthers. And some of us treat what we know is a conceptual mind fuck with cannabis, alcohol, or pain-killers to help us deal with what is a mild sensation of evil and dirt combined. I was a four year man. Most of us (those who can admit it. Those who have the life experience) will have endured a year, or a third of a year. Never talked about. The key was to not let the children know about it. The reality was that the time you spent there was roughly proportional to the intensity of the Grip. I would later call it “The Grip”. But we don’t talk about it. It’s off topic. And besides, there are some of those out there who will never be released from the Grip. And there are some of us who will endure it for seven years, come out of it, and soon reach full enlightenment. Besides all that, I hope you have enjoyed my little story about the floating sticks as much as my happily married friend did. Through pure delusion, I invented a very real, a very potent, and a very external, omnipresent Being.