So I have continued my tricky tango with God of late, sitting on the fence of belief and non-belief. But all my moods and ruminations have finally lead me to a tenet or a truth I can believe in. Here's what happened:
After ten years of being sure there was no God, about a year ago he came to me. I started praying and he answered. It felt comfortable. Then I lost touch and he seemed to wander off, leaving me wanting. When I really really needed him earlier this month, I prayed and wore a special cross necklace and sought peace in his power. What did I get back? Nada. In fact, the day I needed him most I got drug through the mud by the scruff of my neck....I had a horrible day. I tore off the necklace and cursed him.....I never wanted to feel that needy for his grace again. Not a happy place to be either.
But now I think I understand....it's like this. When I blamed God for abandoning me, he said this:
"Dude.....(voice lowered and in a Point Break lilt)....duuuuude. I'm not who you think I am. That's not me! I had no power to make or break your day!
You all, all you humans, made me. You wrote the story and you made me in this way: a thousand miles away, in Heaven, up above and beyond you, unseen and untouchable, something you can't feel or hear, an almighty "holier than thou" father figure whom you must love, honor, worship, and obey. You separated me from you, and you made me this impossibly powerful, infallible, omniscient fearful being. You've made yourselves so small in my shadow. You made me a guy who caused floods and plagues, a guy who can cast you into eternal hell and a guy who has caused some of the greatest loss of life in wars in his name. You painted me in a very one-dimensional box where you can only see me in 3D at the end of your long, fragile, difficult life. You made me a ghost.
THAT'S NOT ME! And it's not what I want to be. I want more than anything to be with you, in you, close to you. To hold your hand and kiss your forehead and see you and be seen and give you hugs. To throw you a surprise party! To toast you at your wedding! To laugh at your jokes! To watch your son score his first soccer goal! To love you in a very real, palpable, living way. To be a best friend. To be "your person." I want to know all of you and for you to know all of me. I want you to know the color of my eyes and the softness in my voice and the care in my worn hands when I clasp yours in mine. I want you to laugh with me, and AT me, when I make very human and humble mistakes. I want to cheer you and I want you to cheer me. I want to share my secrets with you and show you all that I know. I want to take you right to Heaven's front porch and sit with you in a rocker and sip sweet tea and watch a sunset. I want to show you how unbelievable strong and smart and beautiful and graceful and loving you are. I want you to see you as I see you.....you, my dear one, you are the God. I marvel at you every day.
I HATE that you wrote the story so I am so far removed from you. I'm tired of loving you at a distance. I'm tired of you thinking I am the great unknowable, unfathomable, unseen spirit. I hate that I have to patrol the empty, hallowed halls of Heaven, waiting for the moment I can see you face to face. I hate that you credit or blame me for the great victories or failures in your life. I don't have the power to cause those things to happen. Life happens. You win and lose on your merits and on the strength and kindness of others. I'm not the great architect. I'm just the Dude, watching and waiting for you to bring me back to your heart. Waiting for you to breathe life into me, waiting for you to assume your own great throne. Waiting for you to see that Love is the God, that you are the Gods and Goddesses. When you realize you are the Great Gods of all time and shower each other with the love and worship you reserve for me, then we all walk in heaven together.
So write a new story. Start over. See me in your husband's or daughter's or best friend's eyes. That's where I am right now anyway."
This envisioning of God lets me feel him as a presence, a great misunderstood presence, and helps me realize his own sadness at being so far from us. It humanizes him and that makes me happy. I hope we can start a new story....