Glen found that his eyes had closed again in the dark. When he opened them, he saw he was sitting on a cot in a room which was no bigger than a master bathroom. There was a cot where the tub might have been, a toilet and sink, thank God, and nothing else, not even a door. The walls, floor and ceiling were all concrete, and the walls were twenty feet high. At the top of one wall, there was a small barred window. It was his only light. In the ceiling there appeared to be a small grate, but that was it.
Glen laid out on the bed. The pillow was rough and the blanket rougher, but what could he do?
“Hello?” Someone called through the grate. Glen was sure it was one of the angels.
“Hello?” Glen called back. “What am I doing here?”
“Just a temporary holding tank until your guardian angel can be found and a proper determination can be made.”
“But I haven’t got one,” Glen said and quickly added, “and I am not dead yet so you better feed me. If I die of starvation, you will be the one cast into the lake of fire.” It was the most dreaded thing Glen could think of, and apparently the angel above thought something as well. The grate slammed shut faster than Glen could blink. The sound of that clang echoed throughout the little concrete cell.
When the sun was setting, as Glen judged through the little window way up by the ceiling, the grate opened again. Someone lowered a tray which held a wooden bowl of oatmeal with a wooden spoon, a small chunk of bread and a wooden cup of water. Glen shouted up again, but whoever it was did not answer.
Glen ate his meal hungrily and in silence as the darkness came. When his only light was the dim light that filtered down through the grate in the ceiling, a light little better than a night light, the angel returned and lowered the tray again. Glen kept the cup. He could get water from the sink, and he thought to shout a request, assuming whoever was up top would not answer.
“Send down a Bible,” he shouted. At least he might have some reading material. Whoever it was above sent that down with the sunrise, morning meal of oatmeal, bread and water in a new cup. Glen said, “Thank you,” and knew that at least he would not go crazy from boredom. Most of the time, and in the night when the limited light excluded reading, he spent in prayer though he hardly knew what to pray for. He hoped it would not take too long to make a determination in his case, but after he had prayed through a whole month, he gave up hope for a speedy resolution.
Glen began to shout at the ceiling when his meals came morning and night, “How much longer?” He never received a reply.
It may have been thirty days. It felt like thirty years. The isolation was intense and the feeling that he was abandoned by God and man would not go away. He felt unwelcomed and unwanted indeed. He felt like it was somehow his fault, like he was some kind of universal mistake destined to always be at the wrong place in the wrong time and with the most negative, unhelpful and wrong people.
The reading of his life given by his examining angel was absurdly and completely wrong, but on examining his actual life, Glen realized there was not much good in it. The words that escaped his mouth were always the wrong ones, no matter the good intention. The things he did were good in and of themselves, but always so poorly timed they failed over and over. And the people he most sought to help were invariably hurt by him even as he was hurt by the ones he trusted to help him. As the man said, every time he prayed for someone to be healed it was a guarantee the person would die.
On the other hand, these feelings were utterly familiar to Glen. They felt like home. They were the only feelings he ever knew. He was an unwanted mistake, abandoned by all, and everything he ever tried to say and do turned out wrong and proved to be stupid. Foolish? Nothing ever went the way Glen hoped and planned and he failed over and over, not only in his life and actions or even just in his mind. He failed in his heart and concluded there must be no good in him.
On the third hand, for those who have such a hand, Glen understood that this imprisonment went beyond reason. It was over the line. The idea that he might be some bureaucratic mistake on a universal scale was absurd. He felt strongly that if the Lord accepted him just as he was he ought to be in Heaven. If not, he ought to be damned and done. Being on hold neither here nor there was absurd. It was not fair. It was plain wrong, and while Glen would never accuse God of being wrong or unfair, he did accuse God of being silent. God might well be speaking to him all day, every day, but that meant nothing if God did not give him the ears to hear.
Glen understood it this way. There is reason in me and it cannot have arisen by chance or accident. It can only exist in me because reason exists in the universe, and only an irrational person would believe otherwise. The thing about not understanding the reason for something is it is no excuse for believing in chance or accident or universal mistakes. All that means is I cannot see everything, know everything and all the ramifications, nor can I know the end from the beginning. Or to put it more plainly, I am not God. God knows what is reasonable and fair. Ultimately, neither I nor any other human being can know for certain.
We may debate how it happened, but that this universe is broken goes without saying. I see the brokenness in myself and in everyone and everything around me. But I happen to believe that God is still creating. Everything that happens is by divine providence making me become the person I am meant to be. Of course, I would not mind if God would explain to me the reason for some things, like the current difficulty. That he does not I am sure is part of it. Not that I blame God for his silence. I figure it is my receptors that are malfunctioning. He often said it: Let him who has ears, hear, and eyes see too, I suppose.