Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24th

Now I remember why I stopped blogging about all that; writing about it triggers so much anxiety that it makes that day and the next miserable.

For one thing, I think to myself, "Oh my goodness! That sort of thing only happens to extremely spiritual and pious people- like nuns and Franciscans- and I am not one of them! I must revert, and attempt to earn such an experience, even if in retrospect! Stop being imperfect and human! Stop it right now!"

And of course, I can't. I go on losing my temper at the dogs, when they argue over their food bowls, and I get exasperated at my husband when he invites guests over yet again, and then, in an attempt to get my point across to him while he is on the phone, I glower and hiss at him like an angry goose.

And I don't want to cook dinner; I want to go on watching the fifth episode Brideshead Revisited on Netflix, and the floors are covered with dog hair and the counters are smeary because I was slouching around all day, writing about various things, including God.

And I get a growing suspicion that I have mixed up one of the absurd number of names in the Bible beginning with Z, and have chosen the wrong one for the parable I wrote about, but I'm too anxious even to reread my blog.

And then I feel so terrible. I think, I am such a terrible person. I should be hospitable at all times, neat, tidy, never anxious, never angry. I should always double check Z names, just to be sure. I'm selfish and self centered, and I just blogged about Jesus! I've learned my lesson; I'm never blogging about God again.

Thus the day goes on.

When I was young, I used to think that people who had interesting or spiritual experiences with God must be extraordinary people. Maybe some of them are; I'm not.

From the first time I experienced the presence and person of God, I knew two things quite clearly. One was that my faith was no longer any of my business. It had nothing to do with my efforts and I couldn't take any credit for it.

It would be like a person who felt the sunlight on their face and said to themselves, "I feel the sun! I have caused it rise! It must have been that I ate oatmeal for breakfast. I will now make a religion of eating oatmeal for breakfast."

The second thing I knew was that I could no longer judge any other person's faith. If you can't take credit for having something, it's very difficult to judge other people for having or not having the same thing.

What I think is extraordinary are people like my father. Until this year, my father never had a personal experience of the presence or love or voice of God. That's six decades of praying, asking, seeking and not finding, through all kinds of suffering and pain.

And yet, my father persistently went on choosing to believe in God- a God of love, yearning for relationship! He lives this out in his life, by loving the people around him, no matter who they are or how they live their lives.

 Of course I love God. How could I not love God? I would be a peculiar person indeed if I did not naturally love in return for having felt loved.

And anyway, the entire thing that I blogged about, Jesus described quite simply and in just a few sentences, when He said:

"There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live."

John 14:2-3, The Message