I Saw God at the Whitney Biennial
“My haystacks weren’t tied down and I was starting to fear the wind.”
— Bob Dylan from Chronicles
I’m riding in an elevator at an art museum. It is a MODERN art museum so the elevator is very large, about the size of a middle-class kitchen. But it’s still a little crowded. There are at least 30 people squeezed in.
The door opens on the second floor and God gets onto the elevator, but everyone just stands there, lost in thought. We don’t recognize him.
God knows how elevators work. But when he gets on that day, he is distracted by the fact that no one notices him. No one ever recognizes God, especially in art museums. Though frankly, it’s just as bad at church.
God stands there and stares at the buttons on the elevator panel and he doesn’t push any of them. No one tries to rescue him from his confusion. Maybe because the stakes are low. You can always correct a mistake on an elevator, as long as you don’t mind a longer ride. You can’t get the time back, of course, but what’s a few minutes? And time is a conceptual construct that man has created to keep himself from going mad with boredom and loneliness.
God knows that.
And he is still standing there in front of the buttons. The elevator is moving, going up.
“What floor?” an older lady finally asks. She has a funny feeling about him, because she is from a more Godly generation.
God smiles and says, “Why don’t I go all the way to the top and work my way down?”
“There’s art on every floor,” says a man. He is friendly. Everyone on the elevator is friendly. I’m friendly enough, but not too friendly. In fact, I might be the least friendly. It’s only because I’m scared.
I’m hoping God knows that when I wake myself up.