Are You There, God? It’s Me, @user867778852908

“Knowledge is full of labour, but love is full of rest."
-Cloud of Unknowing, Augustine, 14th century

Did I want to scroll closer to God?

My algorithm urged me to wear bias cut slip dresses, buy phone cases from models, listen to Madison Beer, stay home, and order dinner from my Uber app.

They kept my attention.

They kept the attention of my loved ones.

My cousin, laughing at an old man falling into a ball pit on an endless loop.

My rapid eye movements suggested I was enraptured.

There was no sermon exceeding 3 minutes.

My grandmother was no longer the sole provider of my prayers. Men and women all over the world were blessing me, pulling me in, showing me I could be showered in God’s light.

Had I prayed with my eyes open before?

I wanted to ascend from the information superhighway. I wanted to leave all images to be in the divine nothing of GOD, but I didn’t want to get off my phone.

Do you have any sunglasses I can borrow?

I’m feeling seriously disturbed right now… shaken out of a daydream, pulled out of a fantasy.

I was scrolling past ballet slippers, plastic surgery reveals, deep dives into dating age gaps, until I found a message from the Universe. I commented “Claimed,” alongside emojis of little white doves with olive branches.

My algorithm was understanding, all knowing, encouraging. My algorithm believed in my ability to synthesize images from all over the world. My algorithm loved girls singing like angels, girls lying down in green grass, girls dancing, girls crying. My algorithm looked on affectionately as I interpreted each chime of a digital clock as a sign, as I answered a call to prayer, as I manifested the life I deserve.

He said, there’s a block in your heart chakra. He gave me reiki over facetime. He didn’t need to see me, but it helped. He had tens of followers, but he reminded us that it is about quality, not quantity, when building a chain of energy transcending space and time. I thought quantity would help. I thought it was a little funny to see a male healer. I blamed his kind for all my problems. He told me to get down on the floor and roll into the tightest places. Then I would feel some relief.

My phone overheated and I passed out. I don’t remember what happened. I asked my boyfriend, but he just told me he’d read aloud to me a little while, some Bolanõ novel. I thought whatever it was he was reading, it must have been academic and it must have been evil, because in my stupor I dreamed vividly. I dreamed I was in an old library, standing on the table in front of an audience, hiking my skirt up slowly as the crowd oohed and aahed. A projection screen dropped behind me, showing closed captioning of my innermost thoughts.