Some times it seems the harder I try, the worse things get. I flopped around my week like a fish out of water. This last week when I listened to career counselors tell high school students how college prepares them for the job market and a better future, I thought of how my degree is helping me now. I’d be in much better shape if I’d become a mechanic. While I have no doubt that my degree has increased my quality of life and that at one time it did open doors to jobs I’ve held, it is now basically irrelevant and that was exactly how I was feeling.
At home, as I boldly tried to connect with old and new customers and kept getting voice mails and the occasional live no, I felt irrelevant. Over weight and out of shape, I felt exhausted and again irrelevant. I sorted through the past and found things to blame but couldn’t indulge in blaming . Again, the default emotion: irrelevance. It’s much harder to be a nobody than a some body and I’ve been working too hard at just that.
Negation cripples. It blocks love and compassion. My life felt like a land slide on a road no one travels.
This morning, I stumbled to the shower like I usually do. That transition phase between sleep and wakefulness is an odd territory. The landscape seems barren yet comfortable and familiar. There on the plains of my mind, God often speaks.
This admission makes me grossly uncomfortable, yet, here I am again writing about my shower revelations. Over the years, I’ve listened to many people speak about God, His work in their lives, what God wants of us, what we need to do. Often their words did not match their actions. They are often blessed with confidence and committed to the conviction that God is speaking through them. And, often, He is. Yet, the God they talk about so easily, is not Someone I know. I am not like them.
The God, I know, is infinitely confusing. He/She surrounds my life with ordinary miracles that I usually miss because I’m feeling rather lost and often more than a wee bit worthless.
My belief in God doesn’t instantly make my life better. The challenges remain and they keep coming. It’s often enough for me to be more than a little angry at this God. I’m still waiting for my “joy in the morning” like a petulant child. So as a weary morning me steps in the shower, I hear, “You are My voice, crying in the wilderness.”
“Great! That’s just great! I already feel like an irrelevant loser and now I’m a voice in the wilderness. What a lousy job! How is this going to help me dig my family out of the scary hole we’re in?
In my mind, God smiles patiently, silently, waiting for my little hissy fit to end. It winds down into exhaustion. There are some things that are best not to fight. Silent, invisible, smiling God of the shower is one of them. And, yes, I know how crazy that sounds.
Belief is crazy. It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t rational or logical. I’m often embarrassed to admit I am a believer because it seems so quaint and colloquial, like something evolved civilized people have outgrown, but I can’t deny what I believe to be true: Some Thing infinitely more evolved than any of us or all of us combined, lies just beyond our rational knowing and this Some Thing loves us beyond our imaging.
This is what I argue with in the shower. I’m arguing against some amazing, infinitely indescribable, Love. How stupid is that?
Oh, I’m completely aware that this idea can be one of my own creation. My desire to have something beyond to believe in might be so great that in my limited mind and soul, I may be creating this God as a figment of my imagination. It doesn’t feel that way. This shower God that speaks to me and passes on wisdom that pulls me out of my mental prison and opens the door to loving possibility in the midst of a life that looks pretty bleak on paper, is way too good to be a figment of my mind. I’m just not that gifted.
I stop arguing. “Ok, I’m a voice in a wilderness. I don’t want to be. I think it’s nuts and just out right depressing. No body is going to listen to me. Few people listen to me now. I’m an emasculated Moses without an Aaron. (I can’t resist an opportunity to be cleverly sarcastic.)
“You’re beginning to get the idea. I want you to be a prophet.” This I hear in my head with such clarity, I’m either schizophrenic or actually listening to Some One outside me. There aren’t too many other possibilities.
“Wait! This is way too egotistical. I’m going to sound like an idiot if I ever admit this. It’s way too arrogant not to mention impossible. I’m no prophet. I can’t even comfortably admit that You and I have a relationship. Who is going to listen to me?”
The Silence that answers, gives me pause.
Can I fight this new level of crazy?
Yesterday, I spoke with an adult who admitted that he/she is probably an atheist but that even that requires a committment not to believe in something and that wasn’t a place they wanted to go. I felt sad. I wanted to say, “I understand how you feel but I believe in a God of Love beyond us and that makes all the difference in my life between a life of meaning and purpose and a life of utter despair. I wish the same for you. I wish you could know this Love.”
I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say but I felt sorrow. I felt like something was missing that God could fill but I didn’t know how to help. I couldn’t even share what I believed. I was ashamed of my silly belief but I was even more ashamed for not sharing it.
No person or idea has been so abused over the centuries, as the concept of a God. God has been used to justify war, punishment, and all the ills of the world. Is it any wonder people can be turned off by the idea? It’s the idea that has been abused and misused, not God. All the nonsense, we humans toss out that clouds the picture, doesn’t affect who or what God is, was or will be. It’s us humans that get it all messed up, royally messed up.
“I’m no prophet.”
Hello, God of the Shower, are You listening? Are You?”
“Write about this, My voice crying in the wilderness.”
And I have.