The Location of God

In my life, when I felt that God left me, I was right. He went somewhere, and I was unable or unwilling to follow.

As I look back, the reasons I was unable or unwilling boiled down to fears based on lies. Many of the lies were taught to me by adults in authority as I grew up. Many are ingrained into our societal norms and assumptions. Others seem to occur to me naturally, spontaneously, simply because I’m human.

As I work through the lies and discard them, I see over and over that I could have followed, and there was no reason for my fear. When the smoke clears, I see that God wasn’t so very far away, and I also see how to get there, where he is. The freedom to move feels good.

Some people think that “feelings” themselves are the problem, that we pay too much attention to them. Some criticize “experience-based” approaches to God, as if we can’t let our experiences inform us about the truth. If by experience-based, they mean experience-addicted, I’d agree; that’s a problem. But a relationship with God isn’t so different from a relationship with another person. Those are experience-based, too, and feelings are crucial, along with serious thought, understanding, planning, care, and commitment.

If we are in a relationship only for what we can get out of it, we’ll treat our “partner” like an object, like an experience-vending machine. That’s not a relationship, but a series of transactions; a kind of soul business in which we negotiate, contract, and cancel over “deal-breakers.” We tend to treat God the same way.

When I can’t “find” God, most often it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. I’m scared to death to look where I would find him.
  2. I’m pissed off at him because he isn’t where I wanted him to be.

Either way, I’m stuck until I figure it out, because God doesn’t move easily, much like a good parent.

If neither are the case, then I’m in a rare situation: I’m righteous, and God will hear my prayer. More often, I’m the one who needs to move.

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About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
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8 Responses to The Location of God

  1. Shers says:

    These days I feel isolated as a foreigner in a country whose mother tongue isn’t even my own, and married to a negligent spouse whose hermit-like qualities I hadn’t recognised before the union twelve years ago. Admittedly, I often have similar thoughts about God and was struck by something said by the Mother Superior of a chapel in the outback of China in the novel ‘The Painted Veil’ by Somerset Maugham. Yet, I can now only remember the jist of what she said regarding a young girl’s zeal and passionate embrace of Christ, later settling into a daily routine, much like marriage, as passion fades just as roots deepen.
    What could shake such a faith but untruths and misconceptions that uproot but never totally, that is, unless one has never really known God as you and I have.
    “Marriage, Somerset Maugham soberly concludes, ‘is a matter of convenience. Passion, on the other hand, is a matter of inconvenience: it lurks untamed behind “the painted veil which those who live call life”. What is left? Faith?’ Maybe, I think Maugham would say, but most people are not humble enough to be truly religious (‘no egoism is so insufferable as that of the Christian with regard to his soul’ is another quote by the master).”

  2. Shers says:

    I watched the whole of the film – ‘The Painted Veil’ – over again just to give you this profoundly lovely quote spoken by the Mother Superior….
    “Duty is only washing your hands when they are dirty. I fell in love when I was 17 – with God – a foolish girl with romantic notions about the life of a religious. But my love was passionate. Over the years, my feelings have changed. He’s disappointed me, ignored me…we’re settled into a relationship of peaceful indifference. The old husband and wife who sit side by side on the sofa but rarely speak. He knows I will never leave Him. This is my duty. But when love and duty are one then grace is within you.”

  3. Shers says:

    IMO, the Mother Superior wasn’t giving up at all. Rather, she was addressing an older woman’s understanding of the limitations of the physical and how hormonally one, at certain phases in their lives, just as we do at certain phases of our ‘walks’, readjust to enable us TO (not ‘not’) live in the fullest within our still very limited capacities. This calls to mind another aspect of the ‘opaqueness’ of the glass we see through within the constraints of our finite mortality.

    • I like that way of looking at it. I guess I reacted to “peaceful indifference.” I get what you mean by adjusting to limitations, believe me, but I’m not finding that I get more indifferent as I get older. Crotchety–or “BS intolerant” as I’d rather say–yeah. The last few years have been a time when I’ve been learning to let my passions have reign. Life isn’t easier that way, but it’s more interesting, and I can’t say I’ve ever been happier, although His House days are neck-in-neck. 😉

  4. off2cthewizard says:

    Nice =)

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