SUGGESTIONS FOR WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE
aka GOD'S SUGGESTION BOX
If we are living our lives deeply, attentively, and with unfolding meaning, at some point we will stumble upon the perplexing awareness
that this planet has the capacity to be disagreeable and unrelentingly tough. If we were lucky enough to have had a charmed childhood, with families that protected us from life’s disconcerting challenges, the realization that our very innocence might one day unexpectedly be challenged, gets postponed. But, there WILL be a Tuesday morning in our future where our precious dog might get hit by a car, or a 3am phone call that our grandmother took a turn and is dying at the hospital. Suffering is part of this journey, like it or not, and at some point, we MUST learn to deal with those 2x4s hitting us across the head. There are so many coping options: religion and prayer are one; addiction and denial another; with thousands of nuances in between.
I have told my friends that when I die, and I have that 'after-life interview', where some Higher Power / Light Being / Nothingness / Divinity / and I are confined to a room discussing the meaning of and responses to my Life . . . I totally intend to arrive with a long
list of Suggestions to help us cope with our existence on Earth.
In an attempt to enlist some help for humankind, I created this book.
I asked a wide variety of friends for their juicy suggestions—ideas to present to Whoever-Is-In-Charge—so that your life and mine might be a little better here on Earth. And many of these ideas were channeled through me. You may feel that Whoever-Is-In-Charge is: omniscient, a Supreme Being, all loving, a Goddess, a miracle worker, celestial, and part of you; OR you may see the Creator as separate from you, vengeful, punishing, a cruel joker, non-existent, or simply Nature itself. In your attempt to reinforce the hand you’re been dealt, you may participate in various practices: praying with beads, shaking your fist to the sky, falling to your knees, prostrating 108 times, facing Mecca, sitting by a cascading waterfall, crossing yourself, singing gospel songs, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or feeling sure you are all alone here—to enhance your belief (or fervent hope) that life will get better in a complex world gone mad, confusing and unfair, while simultaneously being illuminating and uplifting.
Whether or not you are affiliated with a religion, committed to a spiritual lifestyle, or reflecting Bill Maher’s belief that there Is no one
and nothing out there, the suggestions in this book will reach you. That is because being Greek Orthodox, Episcopalian, agnostic, Buddhist, fundamentalist Christian, Orthodox Jew, or a member of a devotional cult is not the point. The point is that we share in our humanness and daily grapple with the issues of being living souls. And let’s face it, being in a human body on planet Earth in these times is meshugge, which is a very descriptive Yiddish word for “crazy.” (It is pronounced just like it looks.)
My original design prototype evolved into an actual Suggestion Box for God, in which people could slip their ideas through a slot at the top. If you have tried to venture into traditional publishing at some point, the following stories will make you smile AND shake your head and roll your eyes. At the beginning, a very interested agent told me he would not try to find a publisher because he was not familiar with Christian publishing houses, and he knew he could not offer anything with the word “God” in the title: it was too controversial.
I explained to him I knew little about Christian literature and that if he sat down to read what I was offering he would understand that it was completely about the uniqueness and commonality of being a human being, (a concept we need mightily at this particular time), and not about any religion at all. He dropped my project.
Fast forward to a birthday morning: I woke up, showered, and as I was toweling down, I said out loud to my two cats, snoozing on my bed, “What the hell do I care if it is a box or a book. I just want it out there!” To which I added, “And, it actually doesn’t have to contain the “G” word. I will change the title to “Suggestions To Whoever Is In Charge”, and try again.” My cats went back to sleep, not terribly encouraging. Despite their lack of enthusiasm, I partnered with a graphic designer and created the book prototype below.
So here I am again, wanting to publish this project. Every single person who reads it, wants to obtain a copy. And I long to expand this
idea into future books or boxes, because I am interested in your new and interesting suggestions. We reside in crazy, often disheartening times, and I feel strongly that it will help our daily worlds to be comforted and to find laughter in our shared humanness.
If you were the One-In-Charge, what would you suggest? Go for it! Email your response in the box below. And, if you have a contact you think might be interested in helping me publish, please offer that suggestion also.