Yesterday, I watched a documentary called the Sons of Perdition. It’s about young teens who escape a polygamist Mormon Settlement. The leader of the little tribe is arrested and convicted of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. He continues to lead from jail and he continues to have faithful followers. Next, I watched a documentary called Audience of One. A Pentecostal minister in San Francisco feels called by God to make a movie. At first, it doesn’t seem like such an outlandish idea. God has asked people for some pretty amazing things that defy logic. Yet, as the film about a film unfolds it gradually becomes more and more obvious that this man’s calling is really “out there”. Talking about establishing a colony on the moon was the tipping point for me. It’s not that God couldn’t establish a moon colony. It is about the messenger who has appointed himself and some how managed to leave God out of it without even realizing it. The deeper he got into his project, the farther from God he seemed to drift. Ego and God are like matter and anti-matter. I”m convinced they repel each other.
Sleep clings to me when I awake. Life is soft and fuzzy around the edges. I am really hungry. My husband makes breakfast. It tastes better than usual. Will the rest of my day taste this good?
The end of yesterday found me tired and discouraged. Fatigue was influencing my thoughts. It tampered with my dreams.
The memory of the dreams is a confusing jumble. I take them with me as I walk. Pieces of dreams float in my head as I mark the miles on the trail. I walk as if I’m in a hurry. I have a goal, a destination. I am determined to arrive.
After my walk, I shower. The dreams return and flow around me like water. What do they mean?
Two answers suddenly pop into my head.
1.) Things are not what they seem.
2.) You are putting unnatural roadblocks in your path.
Straight forward, clear, these two sentences match what I know in my deepest self. They are precisely what I needed to hear as I begin a day, a beautiful sunny day. The day stretches before me with promise. I commit to living it, enjoying it, celebrating it. I will remember that “things are not always what they seem” and “I am putting unnatural roadblocks in my path.”
On the floor next to me, our dog naps in the sun. She soaks up the warmth and light naturally, peacefully. She shows me how it’s done, this listening to the day, the light and the sun.
The day, the dreams, and the dog speak to me. I listen.
“You are a powerful agent of change in the world,” says the voice in my head.
“I don’t feel very powerful,” I reply.
“Feelings aren’t reality,” the voice says. “They just paint reality with bright colors.”
My mind flashes on pictures by abstract artists who cover canvas in bold-layered colors.
I have always envied those who wake up eager to meet the new day. There have been days when I awake with a feeling of dread at having to rise to the challenges of another day. I’m not proud of that but it is the truth.
This morning was different. It is not a perfect morning. I have many miles to go before I sleep. I have a lot of responsibilities and commitments. I have promises to keep. I have chores to do and things that I would rather not do but this is my new day, a gift.
The clock next to me stares at me with large red numbers. It’s not even 7 a.m. and it’s a Saturday. My back tells me that going back to sleep isn’t possible. My feet touch the floor and I head for the bathroom. My feet are steady and sure. This is new. Normally, I shuffle like a zombie. My arms half extended to brace myself again something should I happen to fall. This morning, I know I will not fall.
As I shower, I remember the heavy hearts of those around me. Yesterday was hard for them. Each was challenged in their own way. I remember my own challenges. I sort through my thoughts and feelings and see something new, something that I had not acknowledged before. My thoughts are not light but my spirit is. I see the difference between the two and am grateful. This is a good day and it feels good.
Breakfast and coffee tastes wonderful. Quickly, I delete old e-mails and move on to the next task. I decide to write and grab my camera to take this picture of my perfectly-less-than-perfect morning that still feels great. I aim at the sun wondering if it will show up in the photo. It’s there surrounded by a hazy, light gray sky. The light and moisture work together and form a faint halo around the sun. Light is sacred. It deserves a halo.
This is a perfectly-less-than-perfect day. It is all gift.
Certainty. It’s what I’ve been chasing. I’ve been surrounding myself with people of strong conviction.
Six months ago, at a church-sponsored rummage sale, I filled in a little card that said I was interested in Bible study. My actions did not make sense to me at the time. Soon, I was paired with a woman that I instantly liked. I enjoy her visits but the Bible study not so much. Try as I might I can not accept a literal view of scripture. I believe in evolution, that God is non-denominational and that collectively we’re all just guessing when it comes to “defining” God. As for the end times, I’m not concerned with the number of years between comings or whether or not God ends the suffering of the wicked with oblivion or eternal torment. These issues are angels dancing on pin heads. They aren’t relevant to me. I really don’t care. I have a really difficult time believing that a God would be all that interested in the punishment of the wicked. I want to believe that Love will trump all in the end. I don’t know what that means and I live with uncertainty. These are beliefs that I usually keep to myself. I’m a fish who desperately wants to be a bird. Wishing just can’t make it so. Certainty floats beyond my grasp.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Photo taken by: BrianMKA
Note: Giving testimony to my personal beliefs about God, religion and spirituality is not something I do easily. I worry about offending others. I’m no theologian. I struggle to hold on to a faith that I often question. So, in writing this and publishing it here, I take a leap of faith. This wrote itself. Much of it lies beyond my powers of logical and rational thought. It is what it is. I feel compelled to share it by something deep within. It might be God or the complicated mental gymnastics of a part-time narcissist. In desperation, I lash my soul to a mast I call, God. It’s what gets me through the day, through a life. It is all I have.
Lately, I’ve given a lot of thought to being a victim. . . more accurately the experience or feeling of being a victim. As fate would have it, I also started a new book last night. It’s called Insurrection and it’s by Peter Rollins. The basic premise of the book is summed up on the cover with the words:
To believe is human to doubt, divine.
At first glance this book and the experience of being a victim aren’t obviously linked. Yet, some how in the deeper regions of my being the two ideas have merged into a shocking epiphany. When I got up this morning and in between a bowl of cereal and my coffee, I pick up the book and read one paragraph.
This morning, I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror as I’m brushing my teeth. I am a rabid dog with an eerie blank stare and foam oozing from my mouth. Deep inside I’m amused. I start channeling the sound of Scooby-Doo. “Rrrff rrrroooww.” My face doesn’t change expression.
“Hey,” I yell at the mirror. (All inside my own head, of course.)
“I’m still in here. Helllllooooo! Is anybody out there?”
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Supernatural Debt Cancellation
These were three words I had never heard together until yesterday. They were the promised result, a gift from the Lord. Of course, you had to call in and request your Miracle Spring Water to open the path for the Lord. (I’m sure the call center is instructed to “offer callers the opportunity to donate to the ministry.) I watched this informercial in stunned silence before I started to rant. I suddenly felt like the spokesperson for the hoodwinked, the innocent, the snookered. This was an outrage. An abomination served upon those least able to watch out for themselves under the guise of religion. God was being used.
Everybody wants to be loved.
It’s been one of those weeks. I haven’t had much to say. The fires of righteous indignation don’t seem to be burning brightly. I just want to curl up with a good book but there are too many interruptions. Thinking and writing seem mutually exclusive activities.
A new week begins. It teases me with promise. I’ll take this over despair any day. Despair was getting old. It’s time for something new.
Under the warmth of a lazy Sunday morning shower, I realized that I haven’t been taking good care of myself and why that has been a mistake. Inspiration often comes from unexpected places: the aftermath of a lover’s quarrel, the words of a stranger, a beautiful sunset, the flight of an unusual bird outside the window.