Monday, December 6, 2010

Where is God?

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbour as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves. Eric Hoffer

Over at Faith. Fiction. Friends. my blog friend Glynn wrote in his post, The Poetry of a Deacon this morning (a beautiful read btw) , "It’s almost as if God speaks in poetry."

Now, as most of you who have read here regularly or know me in 'real' life, I am not what you'd call a God fearing woman. I believe in a Divine entity. A collective consciousness, a presence greater than the sum of all our parts, but I'm not particularly religious.

Actually, I like to leave my options open. To not label anything or anyone. Why limit myself to speaking only of God in a Christian centric way?

I don't read the Bible, though I occasionally like to pick it up and read a phrase and be inspired by the beauty of the language and the deep truths which it reveals. And in the past, I've studied it and been awed by how it relates to other great books of faith like the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita, Tao-te-ching, and the Veda, the sacred scripture of Hinduism.

I don't spout Bible verse with ease. And I am always amused to feel how uncomfortable I am when I do quote it and am bemused by how uncomfortable I don't feel if I spout something from the Upanishads or Tao-te-ching. I used to think this came through my 'socialization', from my unease with Christianity and its insistence it is 'the faith'.

But mostly, I think it's ego. I like to fit in. To be part of my environment. To fit in with my peers. I don't like to speak of things I can't 'prove'. I don't like to be challenged on my beliefs -- especially when I find my beliefs so hard to articulate. My world is not immersed in living 'my faith' in a Christian way. The people around me do not speak of God and Jesus and I am always conscious of 'what others think of me'.

When I was a little girl, God scared me. When I grew up, the 'church' ticked me off and I rebelled. Maybe I haven't grown up yet? Maybe I haven't grown deep enough into my faith?

Maybe I'm still rebelling?

My mother was born in India. Raised Catholic she still carries vestiges of the eastern faith that surrounded her throughout her youth. God was always in our house. Except He wasn't the God of love eternal I embrace today. He was God of fear. Of criticism. Of watching everything I did and finding fault with it all. God was not my friend when I was a child. Though I remember wanting him to be. I remember yearning for him to be proud of me. To love me as I was. Not as a good girl, but simply as ME.

My father was Irish born. Catholic. He too was a rebel. God had a heavy hand in our house. And sometimes His voice was loud. Too loud for me to differentiate from the anger of my father and the love of God.

I learned to fear God and embrace doubt through my confusion that God who was all-seeing, couldn't see my fear and sadness and uncertainty.

As I grew, my fears grew with me. So did my doubt.

The doubt is still with me though the fear has given way to compassion -- for me, my fellow human beings, my world around me.

Today, I find God in everything. Every where. And, while I don't go to church regularly on Sundays, when I do, I feel connected to that 'thing' greater than the sum of my presence sitting on a pew on a Sunday morning. Just as I feel it in a mosque or other place where people gather together in worship and prayer and song and meditation.

So, when I read Glynn's post this morning and felt my heart pierced by his words, I wondered, is God present? Is He here, looking over my shoulder, watching me as the words form on the screen in front of me? Is He directing my fingers on the keyboard? Telepathically moving the muscles and neurons and sinews in my body to create the words streaming out?

Where is God when I am writing?

He. She. It is everywhere. He. She. It is all around. He. She. It is all.

Which brings me back to my wonder on reading Glynn's post this morning and why that phrase resonates so deeply with me.

God is in the poetry of life. He is in the quiet moments spent alone with my keyboard in the quiet of the morning where dawn lurks on a distant horizon. He is in the dark and the light. The sorrow and the joy. He is moving through me even when I am not moving. He is rising around me while I lay down.

Dawn doesn't wait for an invitation to rise. Neither does God.

He enters unbidden. Stripping back the layers of my self-defence where I would hold back for fear of someone thinking I am less than, other than, different than what they anticipated, wanted, need, like...

God is not in my fear. I am.

God is in my self-confidence to know what I write is not mine, it is an expression of my divine being all that God wants me to be. It may not be you or you or you. It may be different than how you express God's breath moving through you. But, the words, images, ideas, thoughts, emotions expressed here; they simply flow through me as my divine expression of God's amazing grace. When I stay open to God's voice writing itself out upon the page, I let go of my self-doubt, my self-criticism, my inner unease that I am not good enough. Not tall enough. Big enough. Small enough. Thin enough. Wise enough. That I am not enough.

No matter how you say it, God, Bodha, Khuda, Odin, Aeddon, whatever the word, God is the inexplicable. The unfathomable. The indescribable beauty of that essence of my being that is greater than all that I can imagine.

God is in the poetry of life unfolding in harmony with the Divine all around me.

God is everywhere. God is everything. God is good.

God doesn't wait to express Himself through me. He just does it. Every moment of every day.

How I exhale His divine breath, creates a world of wonder all around me when I let go of my fear of being a child of God, the divine expression of amazing grace.


Anonymous said...


As you know, I'm not a believer - but there is something which jumps out of my memory as I read your piece today. Somewhere it is written about 'being created in his image', if that is true, then he(she) is you, and you are he/she too.

Is there more than metaphor there? Metafive perhaps?



M.L. Gallagher said...

I like hte Metafive -- and yup -- it is me. it is you. he is you he is me and we are IT!

All we're meant to be...

Glynn said...

Thanks, Louise, for the mention here.

My own notions of God tend to the more traditional. I find myself understanding more about the traditions of the historic church than I used to, less about "God's plan for my life" and more about "God's plan that incredibly includes me."

Thanks for sharing your thinking on this.

Sherry Pringle said...

You expressed your feelings and thoughts wonderfully. I use to believe that I was rebelling against the "Church". Then I realized that I truly had my own understanding of who God is to me. I do not fear God because we are so connected. God is always with me, guiding me through life, and helping me learn more about the world and who I am in this lifetime. I know the more I love myself, others, & nature the more I love God. I feel that if it were the other way around (loving God, but not truly loving myself, other, or nature etc.) I would be separating God from all creations and God would be one entity. Even when I was a little girl the idea that God was one entity never resonated with me. So with that, I find your post very refreshing and a beauty read. Thanks for sharing.

Dave said...

A lovely blog Louise; thank you.

As my experiences continue to unfold I am beginning to understand that It just is.

I had an amazing internal directive last week:
"Stop playing God (quit trying to "fix" Its creation) and begin becoming God (simply love, respect, and allow)"

Kathleen Overby said...

Louise, I enjoy your transparency and honesty. Much.
I just read Rosanne Cash's Memoir -Composed. She sounds so much like you, where you are. She doesn't want anything to do with the religion of either of her parents. But, at her father's memorial service she said, "I am hoping all his beliefs are coming true."

And the beautiful thing is that you are HIs poema, His workmanship, according to scripture. You don't have to be uncomfortable with that beautiful thought. :) :) :

Anonymous said...

i too am a god loving person, not god fearing person.