by Matt Slick
There is a forest outside of town where many believe Goedus lives. Goedus is a creature that flies through the trees and, some say, never lands. Rumor has it that if you meet Goedus, he will give you nectar that is the sweetest of all foods. It leaves the person satisfied and at peace. There are people who claim that they have seen Goedus, but have no way of proving it. In fact, in our town, many different types of people tell others about their encounters with Goedus. There seems to be no restrictive pattern to who claims to have seen Goedus. Doctors, lawyers, janitors, parents, children, the smart and the not-so-smart, all claim to have seen Goedus in the forest. But there are also people who claim that there is no evidence of Goedus.
This belief in Goedus won't go away, even though some of our town's scientists have gone out into the forest with the best of instruments. They found nothing. They set traps and automatic sensors with cameras. Nothing at all was ever found. But that didn't stop the irrational belief they said. It makes no sense. Challenges have been made to prove he exists. But, no one has been able to so far. Does he exist or not? I doubt it. It seems that it is impossible to tell for sure. But, since so many have claimed that Goedus is real, I decided to go out and look for myself. Whatever it is, something is happening to cause so many to make such a claim. Are they self deluded? Are they in some sort of a club that knows it is a joke and are simply having fun with it? Or, is something really out there? I tried to be open-minded.
Rennis claims to have seen Goedus and has offered to go with me into the forest. I was going to bring a camera, but Rennis told me to leave it since Goedus will not show if I have it. To me, this was just an excuse to keep the legend from being disproved. It made no sense, but I left it as he said.
Rennis asked me to lead the way into the woods. I gladly took him up on it. We walked in the forest for several hours. He commented on the beauty of the forest and its design but all I could see was that Rennis was way too emotional. He didn't seem to be anchored in reality. But, I didn't mention this to Rennis because I didn't want to get into an argument with a fanatic.
After walking in circles for several hours with nothing at all happening, I had had enough. "Goedus," I shouted. "Where are you? I dare you to show yourself." Rennis looked at me and shook his head. "Well? Where is he?" I asked and chuckled. "Where are you Goedus?" I cried out and then listened intently.
I looked at Rennis and smiled. "So where is he?" I said again in a sarcastic tone.
Rennis didn't answer. He just stared at me. Pathetic, I thought.
"It is pretty obvious that this Goedus fellow doesn't exist and I think you are part of a big scam. Either that, or you ate some weird mushrooms when you were out here."
Rennis took a step closer and said, "You've been looking the wrong way and in the wrong place. This is his forest, not yours. He knows it and he has his reasons for showing himself or not to whom he desires. He doesn't come to those who demand it from him."
"Yeah," I said. "Right, in other words, he's a figment of your imagination."
"I will leave you now," said Rennis. "You know the way back to town."
"Oh, now that I am calling you on this bluff you're going to run? Figures. Maybe I'll just have to 'goad' you about this later, huh?"
My taunting pun didn't help things. Rennis simply turned around and walked away. What the heck, I thought. I don't need him anyway, besides, I was a bit angry at him for suddenly running out on me. I'll mosey on back by myself, I thought. Poor Rennis, he's not going to like me rubbing this in his face later. He disappeared quickly.
The forest seemed larger all of a sudden.
So, I started to slowly walk back towards town and I even called out to Goedus a few times just for kicks. "Hey Goedus? You out there?" I laughed and kept walking. Somehow, it was exhilarating and exciting at the same time. I picked up some stones and casually threw them into the forest, seeing what I could hit and miss. With one stone, after it fell, I heard a small squeal. I went to investigate.
Under a bush next to a large tree was a small rabbit. My stone had somehow struck it and there it lay. It was a helpless and wounded creature. Blood ran down the side of its head. My heart sank. This was an unexpected disaster. I didn't mean to hurt this poor, fragile thing and yet here it was, badly injured. It looked into my eyes as it panted for breath. It squirmed slowly, painfully.
"I am sorry," I said, surprised by my own feelings for this animal and shocked by the guilt I felt. "I am so sorry."
Then it closed it's eyes. It's breathing stopped.
My heart sank even further.
I stared at this frail body for several minutes and reprimanded myself for my carelessness. Guilt rose up in me and I allowed it to wash over me and thrash my soul. I deserved this guilt-whipping. I did not know why this small death bothered me so much, but it did. It surprised me to feel such pain. My heart broke little by little, and then I became silent and still and sat down next to it. The soft sounds of the forest filled my ears. I had never heard them before.
Then, I could feel the eyes of its inhabitants staring at me even though I could not see any of them. They were examining the one who had violated their place. They were afraid of me and wisely hid themselves the same as they had while I was thrashing about the forest, arrogantly calling out for Goedus to appear. They were right to hide. I felt shame in their presence for hurting one of their own for no other reason than my carelessness.
Then the forest grew silent.
The quietness in the woods was obvious. It made me wonder what was wrong. Was there a predator of some kind eyeing me, waiting to deal out some sort of retribution for my offense in this place? I grew anxious and afraid. It was time to leave. I glanced back at the rabbit one last time, feeling guilty for not burying it. But, I was afraid and had to leave, so I stood up quickly and turned around,only to be started half out of my wits.
There hovering in mid air was a creature I had never seen before. It resembled a bird with soft, pleasant colors. Its wings beat quickly and silently. I could feel the wind made by its flight. At first I thought it would attack but I quickly realized this creature was not there to fight. After a moment, the impossible thought hit me. Is this Goedus?
The flying creature carefully drew close to me and hovered. Then it looked down at the rabbit. The sudden guilt that rushed through me caught me off guard again.
It drew closer still. I stepped back. This small creature, that I could only conclude was Goedus, landed on a tree limb next to me. With a wing it reached into a pouch and drew out a cup and held it out to me.
I was amazed when I reached out and took the cup. Why was I doing this? Goedus only watched. I looked at this creature. It wasn't large or threatening. It was soft and gentle. And as I looked at it, I knew that it was not there to harm me. Somehow, I knew it was there to help. I knew it because my heart was hurting and that is when it appeared, not during my challenges and mockery, but during my guilt and pain and it was offering me nourishment.
I knew I would drink and I knew that later no one would believe me; that is, except the others who had seen him, too. I took the small wooden cup to my lips and drank.
Sweet nectar filled my mouth. It was the most wonderful of tastes, nothing like I had known before. Then, unexpectedly, along with the sweetness, came a peace. Suddenly, I was aware that the feeling of guilt in me had left. There was peace. So I turned to where the rabbit lay only to find that it was gone. I turned back to Goedus and he too was gone, as was the cup in my hand.
The only thing left was the peace and sweetness in my heart.
For weeks now, I have been telling people that I have met Goedus. I have been challenged to use logic and evidence to prove his existence and even though I have given it my best, I know I can never truly convince anyone of anything. They have to experience it for themselves.
It is a strange thing to hear the words of disdain and at the same time care for those who insult and challenge and know there really isn't anything I can do to convince them. I feel helpless, but also I'm at peace. Very strange.
So, after much thought, I realize that Goedus never comes to those who make demands. They are like violent noises in the forest, thrashing about, echoing challenges. If Goedus appeared to them as they thrashed around and shouted, would they drink from his cup? I don't think so.
But Goedus came to me, the one who had injured another creature and who's heart, for a while, had become tender, aware of his guilt, aware of the inhabitants of the forest who were watching him -- even though he could not see them. That is when Goedus came, when I least expected it. I cannot prove he exists. But I know he lives.