My personal relationship with God and my faith is something I usually keep secret. I’m not comfortable discussing my lifeline to the Divine. Spiritual abuse victims often act this way. I am one.
Yet, the truth remains. God matters to me. Faith matters. Some days it is all I have. And, despite all that has happened to me, to victims of religion everywhere, to the vulnerable, to the weak, I can’t deny that I believe.
Over the years, I have known agnostics and atheists. I never tried to convince them they were wrong or misguided. I feel they needed to be respected for their beliefs, for the lives that brought them to what they believe about life and their place in the universe.
Entertaining the possibility that my belief in God may be misplaced, is something that I can and will do. Maybe God exists only in the imagination of billions of people in the world. Maybe we’re all operating under a illusion, a silly belief in a fairy tale. I can ask myself those questions. I’m not afraid of the answer.
It’s quite possible that I’m wrong but ultimately being right or wrong doesn’t matter. For me, God is real, more real than all the objections against His existence. If my belief is misplaced and I have been a fool, I have been a very happy fool. My life has been made so much easier because of the folly of my belief.
As I went for my morning walk on this beautiful, crisp, October morning, I did what I always do on my walks, I prayed.
My mind filled itself with words. It tried to crowd God out. God was persistent. I wanted to avoid using the G– word as today’s topic. God was insistent. I came up with all the reasons why I avoid talking about my beliefs. God was constant. There was no escape.
On my way back to the house, the sun hit the wires of the chain link fence along the path. The light came in at an Autumn slant. As I walked, the light and the links in the fence created a visual kaleidoscope of pulsating light. I shut my eyes instinctively and the light still splattered itself against my closed eye lids. There was no escape.
For a moment, I thought about sitting down on this frozen trail and not walking another step until the sun had changed its angle. Sitting down on the cold trail would have been uncomfortable. I would have looked like a crazy person.
I closed my eyes again and kept walking. . . just for a few seconds. . . eyes closed, the light teasing me with it’s brightness, its odd angle. I thought to myself,
“This light is God. This is the answer to my prayers for courage. I must write about this today. . . about fear, about faith, about the lifeline to the divine.”
Some people can talk about God easily. I’m not one of them. I run from the “Hound of Heaven.” I avoid any public displays or expressions of belief. I worry about offending someone or alienating them further with any “God-talk.”
Trying to spare my children the negative aspects of religion, I have not nurtured their belief in God. I have been wrong. In sparing them a punitive, frightening God, I have not properly introduced them to the God I know, the God of Love.
As I walked home, the Light slammed into me. Some times Love confronts. Love can make us uncomfortable. It can call us outside of ourselves especially when we’d rather not listen to that call. It’s still Love. If God is anything He/She is Love.
Now when the shadows grow long in the late afternoon and the light that played across the links of the fence has long gone, Love brings me to tears. It forces me to my knees on the path of life. The ground is frozen, my knees hurt, I cry for the brokenness in those around me, for their inability to grasp that only faith, hope and love make sense in our flawed world. I cry for myself, for my flaws and imperfections that only make Love and Light more complicated than they need to be.
Faith, hope and love are the essence of God. These qualities are my only life line now. To rely only on the ways of humankind does not prepare me for the challenges of life. I’m a Spartan girl child left on the rocky mountain to die alone and have my eyes pecked out by crows until a God comes and saves me from myself, from a fate worse than death with the simplicity of His/Her existence, the “I am who am.”
Through the tears, despite the almost blinding light, through the insanity of life, the lifeline remains. I am anchored and tethered here. I am never alone. Love connects me to the Divine.