It was a question put to me by an atheist chap in the Tavern last evening. We get all sorts in here. "So", he asked, "this God of yours, do you know Him?"
It is not often I am asked personal questions. Perhaps it was time to give a little of that history.
"Know Him ? ", I said. " Why only a few years ago now, he boxed my ears and knocked me off my horse".
"No. I mean, do you Know Him?", he said. Perhaps he thought I was kidding him.
"Like I know you, Sir, but you have not knocked me over, so I know Him better".
I had had enough, frankly. Not with this customer, for whom I pulled a pint of His grace and handed it to him as I told my tale: but with Him Himself. My Supplier.
Actually, not with Him, but with what He had put me through.
Atheistic folk do not even approach the issue of faulting God, so they are in a better position than I was at that time. They simply ignore His very existence.
For quite some years I had been in pain and despair. The wound - gained in an unKnightly fashion - would not heal. Appeals had not been successful. A quick despatch would have been welcome but none of my retainers were willing to do the deed. So I decided to go to see Himself, personally, and to take the whole shebang and hand it all back.
I packed the lot - everything I had and was, all experiences, failures, successes, pain, disappointments, achievements, betrayals, heartaches and so on - in my saddlebags and set off on my trusty steed which had carried me for many a year.
I knew where to find the bridge twix this world of woe, this vale of tears, and that next, less material one where woes were banished.
That fine steed found his way - I barely knew which way was up by this time - and was half way across the dark river, over the cold stone bridge to the deep forest on the other side, when, whack ! I can still feel it. I can still feel me hitting the floor.
I had been unhorsed before, indeed many a time, but never by such an Almighty opponent.
I never saw my steed again. I was taking him as a gift anyway, and my saddlebags, packed with 'everything' I had been, plus a special gift. A rather presumtuous one. Small. My Supplier took the lot.
Well almost all. He didn't take that small gift as it was 'inappropriate', not suitable or proper in the circumstances. It was 'forgiveness'.
I was actually grateful, you see, for the good bits. For being allowed to be and to be in this wonderful creation. But the bad bits, I didn't like at all. I could not, would not understand why I had to suffer from such an awful wound. I was a king !! It should not happen to a King. I was 'special'. That was His fault, so I thought. But as it was all His doing and His rules and I had actually benefitted in some small part, I wanted to forgive Him. My forgiveness.
I would take His judgement, cuz, well, it was His bizzo, innit?
Instead he returned my piddling forgiveness with a much larger one of the same of His own.
"You are a cheeky bugger, Amfortas", said a small, light voice. "And a bit thick. But He likes you. In fact He Loves you, and there are things you have yet to do. Including earning that proper, real, forgiveness for daring to offer your piddling, self-pitying one !"
I felt a kiss. Well, I think it was. I was quite dazed at that moment.
So, I was sent back.
I never saw that horse again.
He sent me to this place, the Tavern.
I have no worries: no pain: no wound. No despair.
Apart from that little has changed.
So, do I know God? I have felt His hand on my ear. He opened it.
I have a thick ear though. And a job.
Pax. The drinks are on Him.