The following is an excerpt from God in My Head, Josh Grisetti’s divine dialogue memoir with blunt comic undertones. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
I was dead.
In that moment, I knew I had overdosed. With all of the “downers” in my system, my heart rate must have reached a critical low and simply stopped beating, or the muscles around my lungs had become so weak that they could no longer import oxygen. This was the end.
It was the only thing that made any sense as I cowered in front of the Creator of the Universe.
He didn’t have to explain to me who He was, I already knew. I can’t explain how I knew, I just did.
The fact that He was standing in front of me now was terrifying because up until a second ago, I didn’t even believe He existed.
If judgment day had come for me, I was totally f*#%#d. I wasn’t a believer. (And I used words like “f*#%#d”.) I had obviously failed the test of life and arrived at all the wrong conclusions, and now I was going to pay the ultimate price for that mistake. God’s wrath.
I saw a fire burning in God’s eyes – a “righteous anger”, as Christians like to call it. His mouth began to open. A vacuum of air seemed to funnel past me. He was either about to speak or He was about to vaporize me with some kind of holy hellfire, like a dragon incinerating an unworthy knight.
Lucky for me, a voice, not fire, bellowed forth.
It had a booming quality like thunder that rumbled and crashed as He spoke. There was a gravitas to it that truly felt powerful enough to have called the stars into existence, and no part of my cynical mind questioned His authority.
“STOP TELLING PEOPLE I DON’T EXIST,” He roared.
Oh. My. God.
The words ripped from His lips and seemed to whip across my body.
He had not spoken in English, mind you, but in some kind of spiritual language that I understood perfectly. It was wondrous and bizarre.
His fiery eyes bore down on me as I cowered before Him.
It seems strange to think of myself, a grown man, shaking with fear at the sight of something so abstractly conjured. Granted, I wasn’t entirely myself in the context of all this. I was a different version of myself. It was me, but without any of the judgmental or cynical chatter that normally buzzes around my mind. It was the most fragile part of my ego, alone, separated from the whole, stripped of all its defenses and utterly exposed. This raw nakedness was the only sense of myself that I could grasp in the moment.
We sat in pregnant silence, as if He were waiting for me to answer for my crimes. Slowly, I opened my eyes and looked up at Him. I choked as I tried to speak.
“I didn’t know you existed,” I stammered.
“Others may have that excuse, but you do not,” He said plainly. “You have always known of my existence. You are angry that I am not more accessible to you, so you deny me and you deny yourself, claiming things you know are false. Has denying my existence made life more bearable for you? Has it made you either happy or wise? No. It has made you lost.”
His words were ego shattering. He was right.
I guess it’s hard to argue with God. He clearly seemed to know me better than I knew myself. Deep inside, I did always believe that there was something out there. I wanted to believe – even if my intellect rejected it. I envied others who found such faith and were content not to question it.
I knew from having watched enough episodes of Law & Order that defendants were almost never encouraged to testify voluntarily at their own trial. Nevertheless, I took the stand, and feebly tried to explain myself while not seeming too defensive or impudent.
“I needed proof,” I said. “There was no proof of your existence. I understand the idea of ‘faith’ – that it’s not about hard evidence. But even in the Bible, when Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection, God showed Himself to Thomas and let him put his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. He gave Thomas proof! He gave all of the disciples proof, hard evidence that Jesus had returned from the dead. If hard evidence was necessary for them, why isn’t necessary for the rest of us? Why are we told to forget about our insatiable need for proof. In all other aspects of our lives, we rely on tangible evidence to make decisions. You created us that way. Why, then, are we expected to accept and understand the spiritual world without any hard evidence to support it? And what’s more, how can you come at the end of my life to judge me for being confused by it all?”
Almost assuming a human tone, He replied, “I have not come to judge you.”
“You haven’t?” I asked, genuinely surprised. “I’m not dead?”
“You are not dead,” He answered, partly amused.
Then He corrected my example about Thomas and the disciples. He explained that almost everything I knew about Christ and his early followers was either skewed or completely inaccurate. Apparently Thomas was not given proof of Jesus’ resurrection in the way that the Bible tells it. Nonetheless, even if you take the Bible stories at face value, Thomas was given proof at the precise moment that he needed it, so that he could believe. Likewise, God told me, He was appearing to me now, at this precise moment, so that I could believe.
Praise for God In My Head
“God In My Head is a book for believers and non-believers to truly explore what resonates within themselves.”
— Portland Book Review
“Fantastically original. With thought provoking candor and humor, the author relays the relatable dilemma of having one’s previously held beliefs challenged—a witty, occasionally absurd philosophical romp!”
— BookLife Prize by Publisher’s Weekly
“An often moving account that’s just as outlandish and funny as the author’s bizarre experience. Grisetti’s God is more reminiscent of the alien in Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel Contact than of anything in contemporary Christian literature.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Josh Grisetti’s book opens a brutally transparent window into an intimate and mystical spiritual pilgrimage. His clear writing style, and his gentle heart, need to be shared with a world that is thirsty for such generosity of spirit.”
— The White Rhino Report
“This unexpectedly poignant memoir, regardless of your beliefs, is a refreshing contribution to the ‘meeting God’ genre, and will inspire personal reflections on important aspects of existence that lie far within and outside the realm of religion.”
— Self-Publishing Review
About the Author
Josh Grisetti is primarily an actor working in theatre and television. He has no formal training in writing, philosophy or religion. This memoir is his first book—and probably his last, as he has no further aspirations as a writer. Josh was born in Washington D.C., grew up just outside of Roanoke, Virginia, and was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his dog, Cooter, neither of whom have any specific religious affiliation. Find out more about Josh and his journey at GodInMyHead.com!