A dog, jealously possessive, proclaims his outrage at my intrusion into his settled home. I am a stranger to him. In his place.
Yet he doesn’t bark at the wind caressing his back or at the bird flying against the firmament, nor even the sun staring intently at his domain, which ignores the dog as a trifle.
He shouts at me. Perceiving me as a threat. And he’s right, you know. Unlike the sun, the wind, or the bird, I have the power to kill him if I choose, and he knows it. The shout is a shout of fear, and the growl is defensive. He is scared witless of me, and he should be.
I am a human being. My power, my might, is unparalleled in the history of the world. No natural phenomenon can seriously challenge my intellect. Mountains, impassable, are blown through with dynamite. Oceans, unswimmable, are traversed by great ships of steel. The moon, distant, a goddess to my ancestors, has the flag of my country embedded in its soil.
I am mighty, and the dog knows it. He does right to fear me. For what can I not do? What place can I not go? What creature can I not kill?
And then I remember: “Let us make man in our own image.” There is another. One who made me. My memory returns, haltingly. Long ago I challenged his power. He was weak. So weak. He said I would die, but I didn’t. He may have made me, but he underestimated my potential. You see, I killed him. I watched him die. He died. Weep ye all with me, for by my power even the gods are cast down!
But he rose, too. He didn’t stay dead, and that is a curious fact. Perhaps I underestimated him. I pay it no mind. The force of my will is stronger than ever.
As I build. As I destroy. As I exercise my power and my dominion a growing doubt grabs my attention. It is whispered in my ear, “where were you when I formed the stars from nothing? Where were you when I took the world, white-hot from the forge, and shaped it as a suitable habitation? Where were you, o man, when another like you in intent, but much greater in power, ascended my throne and I cast him from Heaven?”
As I begin to waver feeling fear for the first time, he whispers, “you were in my arms as I shaped you” a catch in his voice “and gave you breath and thought. Return to me, my child, return to me. Walk with me through death into life. The power game you play can only end in your defeat. Come to me.” As I prepare myself to bark in fear, to back myself into a corner, to fight to the death, strong arms grab me, large calloused hands begin to stroke my head, a deep murmuring litany is recited over me. The only words that I can pick out are, “Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you.” Repeated over and over again. I collapse, surrender my struggle, and fall asleep.