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By Mary Ann Moore, in Hide and Seek with God (Boston: Skinner House Books, 1994). Based on tales from Zen Buddhism and Hebrew scripture. Used with permission.
Once there was a man who wanted to know what God was truly like. Other people had told him about God, and he had many ideas himself, but he wanted to see what God would tell him. So he set off to find God.
He searched and searched. Finally he thought he had found God. He said, "God, I want to be sure I know what you are truly like? Some people say you are like a woman and some people say you are like a man. Other people say you are like the sky and yet others say you are like the earth. What are you truly like? Will you tell me, God?"
But God did not speak. God was silent.
So the man went on speaking. "Some people say you are in animals and trees and mountaintops. Other people say you are in the sun and the moon and the stars. What are you truly like? Will you tell me, God?"
Again the man spoke: "Well, I think you are there in all these things, in earth and sky and animals and people. And I even think you are in me, too. God, why aren't you answering me? God, why don't you tell me what you truly are?"
But still God did not speak. Still God was silent.
Finally, the man stopped talking. He waited to hear what God would say. At first he only heard his own words blowing through his mind like a strong wind: "Man ---Woman---Sky---Earth." The words blew around and around and the main waited, but God said nothing.
Then the wind grew stronger and the words began to break into little pieces and fall away from him: "M—an, WO—m—an, S—k—y, Ear—th." More and more the words broke up and fell away. The man waited and God still said nothing.
When the words were all gone, the man still waited, but God said nothing. And then there was only silence, a calm and peaceful silence, and in the silence he knew God.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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