One day an explorer decided to go on a quest to find god. He wasn’t too sure about the whole thing – he thought there might be some form of deity out there somewhere, but didn’t know what that meant; and to be honest he was more than a little fearful of what he might find. But he steeled himself and started the search.
He went to the city library and spent a long time studying charts and maps. They offered up no answers, at least nothing he recognised. So he made calls to various teachers and seers, to wise women and men, and visited each one. They offered their various creative and colourful theories as to the whereabouts of any gods, but ultimately the man came away confused. Eventually he sat down on a park bench and sat chewing on his thumb nail. That was when he noticed the figure sitting opposite him. The stranger glanced over and smiled. That was the moment when the explorer realised he’d spotted this figure before, just here and there, passing by as he went on his way.
‘Can I be of any help?’ the stranger asked.
The man wasn’t sure, but something about the figure reassured him.
‘Maybe,’ he said.
They walked all day. The explorer and the stranger. And the stranger showed the man places he knew well, yet hadn’t explored at all. He revisited moments from the explorer’s past and showed him things he had missed the first time, he led him to people he knew well, yet didn’t know at all. And in every encounter the stranger was careful and compassionate, yet searing and insightful. They laughed together, ate good food, talked, and argued from time to time. And the darkness began to fall.
‘I have to go now,’ the stranger said quietly and he turned and walked away, leaving the man on the same bench he’d been sitting on when they first met.
The stranger walked away and melted into the darkness. Moving, it seemed, from one dimension to another. And as he went the explorer realised. He had met god and it had not been as expected. He had not been disappointed or fearful. He had been many other things instead. And now it was up to him. He sat thinking for quite a while, reflecting on the day. The night closed in, and the cold came with it. But he barely noticed. Eventually, and cautiously, he nodded to himself, stood up and walked away from the bench, resolved to become a different kind of explorer.