For months, I’ve been trying to escape the obvious. I dance all around the issue. I procrastinate. I avoid. I know in the fiber of my being that I need to write about spiritual things. I need to have the courage of my convictions and publicly commit to a belief in God, to write about my reluctance to allow God to have center stage. I am ashamed to admit that belief in God often feels embarrassing to me, like I’m some ignorant back woods peasant. I’ve been afraid to be ridiculed for my profound belief, so I’ve tried to ignore it and down play it. It’s just not working for me.
To those people I love, who question religion, who challenge God’s existence, I have no intention of insisting we believe the same thing. After all, I am rational enough to know that I can’t prove the existence of God and that it is possible I am wrong. (For the curious, consider Thomas Aquinas’ arguments for the existence of God if you enjoy theological mind candy.)
My life may end in an exhalation of breath and the energy that was me, will return to the earth and become part of the soil in centuries hence. I’m really okay with that. In the meantime, my belief is grounded in something as solid and ephemeral as my personal experience with God. If it’s fiction, then I am delighted with the illusion because this Divine Illusion is the only thing holding my life together and giving it meaning. I love the God-Story. . . believing I am infinitely loved by a Creator. . . believing I am saved through no merit of my own.
Trying to ignore God’s place in my life has really gotten me in trouble.
Who am I kidding except myself?
Did I really think that I could ever remove God from center stage given my history? Can a leopard really change its spots? Can a simple girl from a German Catholic town enter a convent and then leave without giving God a second thought in all the years since? (Insert an emphatic, NO! I CAN’T. here, Carol.)
My understanding of God has certainly morphed over the years. I’ve had lots of experiences. I’ve tried to elude “The Hound of Heaven” but the biblical references, theological asides and my personal belief keeps creeping through my life and my words like veins in a body. And like veins in a body, this belief is my life blood. It’s time to get real.
Yes, I know that I’m not the ideal spokesperson. Yes, I know that I’m a fallible, often crabby, cynic. I’m certainly not always kind or understanding. There are people, some close to me, that I don’t get along with and don’t even want to. I’m hopelessly human and maybe that’s what makes me uniquely qualified to enter the realm of the spiritual. God knows I have the inclination, the desire. God knows I love words and have a bit of the gift of the blarney (even though I’m as German as a potato pancake.) God also knows that I’ve been very busy trying to avoid following the calling of my own heart largely out of fear. No one wants to look like an idiot and feeling like one is even worse. Looking like an idiot because I have a conviction that God is calling me forth is so scary that I haven’t wanted to go there.
Unfortunately, everything has been blocked due to my reluctance to follow my heart, the heart that God holds in his/her hand. So, what the heck! It’s time to go out on that limb, that limb of conviction and know that it might get sawed right off. Nothing is more important to me and my life than the spiritual, than the belief I carry in my heart that God is love and that my primary calling is to explore what that means and to be willing to share that journey with others. It doesn’t mean I’ll always live up to my end of the bargain. I will fail at Love more times than I’ll succeed just like I may fail at becoming a more spiritual person and an occasional spiritual writer (but my instinct is telling me this won’t be so.)
I’ve failed enough over the years at a lot of different things to know that failure, while grossly unpleasant, won’t kill me. Failure has been the most effective teacher for this potato pancake. Bring it on, God. You’ve got my full attention. I’m on that limb and I’m holding the saw. It’s up to you, Lord. You win. I cave. Show me what to do, what to say, which way to go. I’ve got some failing to do and Your Name is going to be all over it.