I don’t exactly remember the first time I talked to God, but I remember exactly the first time he talked to me. I was about 4 years old, lying down on the floor watching TV. My mom was downstairs in her office. I suddenly heard a warm assuring voice calling my name very slowly: “A H M A D…”. It was so real that I turned around to see who’s calling me. “A H M A D… A H M A D…” the voice called me again. It was very tender and kind and did not scare me at all. I didn’t answer, just listened, and felt the rush of blood in my face. The voice made me feel warm and relaxed.

I was afraid to tell this to my parents as I knew they would make fun of it, and the voice had such a good feeling that I didn’t want to see anyone joking about it. I just told my grandmother about it, and she’s the one who told me it was the voice of God; that God has spoken to me, and I’m a chosen one. She said I should wait and expect God to talk to me again, and that I should thank God for calling to me. Of course, she didn’t just tell this to me. She also told the story to my parents, to my aunts, and my uncles. I waited for God to talk to me again for a long time, but instead of God, my cousins and aunts started to call me like that; “A H M A D…”.

After waiting for a while, I decided to communicate with God myself. I knew that I was special, and I knew God would answer me back. I just thought maybe he doesn’t want to talk to me in front of the others; he didn’t want them to hear his voice. Or maybe he was angry that I told the story to the others. But I knew he would forgive me. I started to think about little ways of asking him my questions and getting my answers back. I knew that he had the power to do absolutely anything, but I had to keep it as a secret and that I shouldn’t ask him to do things that others could see or understand. I’d tell him, “Dear God, if they’re going to show Pink Panther today, please ask the wind to move the leaves on that tree”. Or, “Dear God, if Saied and Hamid are going to be free to play this afternoon when I get home, send a red car in front of us on the road”. And he always answered me, and his answers were always right. I never told this to my grandma.

I had this Q&A with God for many years. I even started asking him to do things for me. I asked him to make my pretty classmate love me, and he did. She was in love with me for the whole first grade and half of the second grade. But then the revolution happened and they separated the boys from the girls in the school. We were not even able to see each other anymore. I asked God to stop the fight between my parents, and he did. They divorced, and I stayed with my mom. I was only supposed to see my father on weekends, but some weekdays he would come to the school to give me a ride back home on his bicycle. The whole situation was so sad that I asked God to do something about it. And he did. My parents got back together. But their fights got worse. So I asked God again to finish it, and he did. They divorced again. I was already confused.

I was about 13 years old when I read the book “The Twenty-fifth Hour” by Virgil Gheorghiu. The story starts with a boy, telling his friend why he stopped talking to God. He says when he was a little kid, a series of events made his family, especially his father, very angry with him. Once he came home from the school and found the house empty, and the door locked. He sat in front of the locked door, tired, cold, and with lots of homework to do. He found a nail on the street, and tried to unlock the door with it, but couldn’t. He asked God to help him to open the door, and as soon as he said that, the lock clicked and the door opened. He went in and started doing his homework. His parents came, and his father got very upset and beat him very badly. Later that night, he had a conversation with God:

“God, don’t you know everything?” the boy says.
“Yes, I know everything”, God replies.
“Did you know that opening the locked door with a nail would make my father upset?”
“Yes, I knew that.”
“Did you know he would beat me?”
“Yes, I knew that.”
“Why did you open the door for me then?”
“Because you asked me to open it for you.”
“But you knew my dad would beat me!”
“Yes, I knew that.”
“Why did you help me then?”
“Because you asked me to.”

I clearly remember the night I read that part of the book. I was sitting on my bed for hours, trying hard to convince myself that it’s just a story, but I couldn’t. Something was already changed; I had lost my trust. I was scared to ask God for anything after that. For many years I told this boy’s story to my friends, but no one seemed to get feeling I got from it. I wasn’t able to share this feeling with anyone.

Later in different situations, I heard people saying different things; that you should leave it to God to decide what’s good for you, or you should ask God but should leave it to him to decide if it’s good for you or not, or you should ask for whatever you want in order to get it from God but ask God to bless it. But none of this made sense anymore.

As I grew up, I got angry with God, then I doubted his existence, and then I totally denied God by its common definition. I can’t deny the loneliness that comes with the feeling of not even having a God to pray to, but I can’t fake it either. You can’t fake belief, and you can’t fake faith.

Tonight, I was reading something that made this feeling even worse. Roman Gary in “Promise at Dawn” says: “The real tragedy behind Faust’s story is not selling the soul to Satan. The real disaster is when you realize there’s no Satan to buy your soul; there’s no buyer at all. Even selling your soul can’t get you what you want.”

Tonight I’m willing to sell my soul for a really cheap price; any taker?


-San Francisco