The God Who Loves You
--Carl Dennis

It must be troubling for the god who loves you 
To ponder how much happier you’d be today 
Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.
It must be painful for him to watch you on Friday evenings 
Driving home from the office, content with your week—
Three fine houses sold to deserving families—
Knowing as he does exactly what would have happened 
Had you gone to your second choice for college, 
Knowing the roommate you’d have been allotted 
Whose ardent opinions on painting and music 
Would have kindled in you a lifelong passion. 
A life thirty points above the life you’re living 
On any scale of satisfaction. And every point 
A thorn in the side of the god who loves you. 
You don’t want that, a large-souled man like you
Who tries to withhold from your wife the day’s disappointments 
So she can save her empathy for the children. 
And would you want this god to compare your wife 
With the woman you were destined to meet on the other campus? 
It hurts you to think of him ranking the conversation 
You’d have enjoyed over there higher in insight 
Than the conversation you’re used to.
And think how this loving god would feel 
Knowing that the man next in line for your wife 
Would have pleased her more than you ever will 
Even on your best days, when you really try. 
Can you sleep at night believing a god like that
Is pacing his cloudy bedroom, harassed by alternatives 
You’re spared by ignorance? The difference between what is
And what could have been will remain alive for him 
Even after you cease existing, after you catch a chill 
Running out in the snow for the morning paper,
Losing eleven years that the god who loves you 
Will feel compelled to imagine scene by scene 
Unless you come to the rescue by imagining him 
No wiser than you are, no god at all, only a friend 
No closer than the actual friend you made at college,
The one you haven’t written in months. Sit down tonight 
And write him about the life you can talk about 
With a claim to authority, the life you’ve witnessed, 
Which for all you know is the life you’ve chosen.

[via rabbit light]

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