Robyn Elliott, who my wife Susan and I used to hang out with during our time in Miami Beach in the 1980s, wrote the following story in response to two of my posts.
The first post was an irreverent satire about me being on a phone call with God who gets angry when I say something he doesn’t like and hangs up on me.
The second post was about a 70-minute phone conversation Robyn and I had after she contacted me out of the blue upon hearing, belatedly, that Susan had died.
Robyn is a woman of deep faith and she tried to tell old pagan me to try and find the faith to believe in God, that when the time comes I would be with Susan in Heaven.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Bill posted his blog on line for the next day, closed his laptop and headed to bed. It was the first time since the death of his wife Susan that he felt some sort of closeness to her. As he had written in his blog, he got “his Susan back” during that 70-minute phone conversation.
Tonight Bill was anxious to drift off to sleep so he could be with Susan in his dreams. He didn’t bother to wash the empty gin glass or put away the gin bottle which was on the bedside table.
He checked the time. It was 3 a.m. He closed his eyes and sank into a deep sleep.
Ring, ring, ring… three quick, high-pitched rings came from his cell phone on the bedside table. He heard them vaguely through his sleep and thought he was dreaming, so he ignored the ringing.
Three minutes passed, and again, three quick, high-pitched rings. Bill looked at the clock — 3:30 a.m.
Who the hell would be calling me at this hour? Bill muttered. There was no one Bill wanted to talk to, and there was nothing that was going to keep him from being with Susan in his dreams, so again he ignored the rings.
Another three minutes went by, and another three rings. It was 3:33 a.m. Bill was wide awake now and ready to give the caller hell for waking him up.
He grabbed the phone. “Hello? Who is this?”
“Hello, Bill, it’s me, God,” said a voice on the other end.
“What? God who?”
“You know, God. I wanted to get back to you after reading your blog where you said I hung up on you.”
Bill sat up in bed, wondering what the hell was going on. He decided to play along. “What do you want?” he asked.
“First, I want to apologize for the ‘hang up’ the other night. It was not intentional. Heaven had a contract with Sprint and, unfortunately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of dropped calls, not to mention missed calls. As you might imagine, my customer service rating has taken quite a hit. The reviews on Google are killing me. So, Heaven has entered into a new contract with Verizon Wireless after getting their rep to swear on a holy stack of bibles that everyone will be able to hear me loud and clear, all the time, anytime from anywhere.
“Secondly, I want to let you know that the day you got seventy minutes with “your Susan” was the day she finally passed through the gates of Heaven.”
“Wait a minute,” said Bill. “What do you mean that she finally passed through the gates of heaven? She died over nine months ago. I thought that her faith would get her right into heaven. No waiting!”
“Relax, Bill. It was her choice to wait to be with me. I never wanted Susan to suffer, but there were things she needed to know and hear before she would ‘let go.’ She wanted more time with you.”
“With me? Why would she choose me over you?”
“She wanted to give you more time to get to know me, to believe in me, and to have faith. She wanted you to live the rest of your life to its fullest — through me. She wanted to make sure you would make it to heaven.
“So, every day I was there with her, holding her hand and loving her. While I was with her, I watched how you cared for her and loved her. I hoped to myself that you would reach out to me for help. I even sent the Holy Spirit to show you the way, but you didn’t hear our call. Your stubbornness blocked us.
“When Susan was on life support and you were sitting by her bedside telling her how much you loved her, I was there, too. I thought for sure you would pray to me, ask me to help you, but you were too emotional. I fully understood.
“After you made your peace with Susan, she knew it was time for her to ‘let go’. She waited for you to leave the room. She didn’t want you to watch her go. She knew it would be easier on you if she just slipped away, and when she did, I took her in my arms and gave her rest until she could be sure that one day she would meet you again — in Heaven.
“Susan received that final reassurance when you mentioned in your blog that your mind is now open to God. She gave me the ‘all clear sign’ to open the gates of Heaven so she could make her final journey.
“Once she settled in, I was able to reconnect your spirits. That’s how you got to spend seventy minutes with her in that phone conversation with friend from your Miami Beach days.”
Bill had been listening intently. “What can I say? I’m assuming you will forgive me for my lack of faith. I sure don’t want to wind up in hell, away from Susan.”
There was a click-click on the line and God said: “Sorry, Bill, I’m getting another call. It’s the Pope. I’ll have to get back to you. In the meantime, read my book.”
“What Book?” Bill asked. “Can I get it on Amazon?”
The phone clicked and the call ended. Bill couldn’t believe it. God had hung up on him again!
Bill pulled the covers over his head and lay there until he fell back into sleep.
When he woke up six hours later he remembered his conversation with God. Was it all a dream — the conversation, his new-found faith? None of it was real? He blamed the gin for screwing with his mind.
He stayed in bed. What was the point in getting up and doing anything today. He was back to square one — hopelessly depressed over the loss of Susan and doubting the existence of God.
He opened the drawer of the bedside table to look at a photograph taken at their wedding. When he picked up the photo, he was amazed to see that it was resting on top of an old Bible. Susan’s Bible. The Bible had always been in the drawer on Susan’s side of the bed. Suddenly it was on his side.
Bill had never looked at it before. He took the Bible out of the drawer and opened it. It opened to Jeremiah 29:12-13 — “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Bill was moved. Suddenly, he could feel Susan’s presence in the room. He closed his eyes, and for the first time in his life, prayed with an earnest heart: God, can you hear me?
Immediately, the same voice Bill had heard on his phone when he was dreaming was now inside his head. The voice answered: Yes, I can hear you. I have always been able to hear you. It was you who could not hear me. Just open my Book. My Words are written on the pages, so you can hear me now… and forever.
In memory of Bill’s soulmate, and my friend, Susan Brown Michelmore. — Robyn Elliott.