Friday, May 2, 2014

In Vain.

God? G-d? Him, Her, It, We, They?

The Great What Is?

The tendency of all things toward progress, perhaps. Toward health and order.

Cut your hand, and assuming all other things are right with your body, it will heal itself. In a week or two, it will be good as new. Sometimes scarred, but altogether, well.

In parallel, cut your spirit, your psyche, and the tendency of them are toward healing and health. If we don’t hide away the wound, or habitually fiddle with it, we’re sort of compelled to heal. It’s the natural state of ourselves, and it’s my experience and observation that the order of life will lead us there.

In this, I can believe.

In benevolence, I have a harder time, these days.

I’m at the part in my personal work where I’m supposed to think about “god” and my relationship to it, whatever I choose to define it as. I’m at the part where I come to believe that it wants the best outcome for me and all creatures. The part where I’m supposed to take a deep breath, open my arms, and fall into the caring embrace of this power.


Because here’s the part that snags my shirttail: sometimes “god’s” plan includes the death of babies. Sometimes it includes the overdose of a friend, the death of a parent before you're old enough to know them. Sometimes "god's plan" includes rape. And of course, sometimes it includes cancer in a healthy 30 year old.

I will not stand with those who say it’s part of a plan. I don’t think it is. I think you can take those experiences, and choose to integrate them into a theology and a world-view that helps you get through them. Mostly, you can choose to tell yourself, perhaps truthfully, that their or your experience will benefit those around you. That others get to witness how you struggled, railed, and got through it anyway. I do believe that we can choose to turn our experiences into something valuable.

(Though I do have unresolved issues with being or using anyone as a goddamned touchstone on how to life your life more fully. "I could go at any time, just like him -- I think I'll learn from his pain & in homage and reverence, I'll paint that portrait; become a doctor; take a trip." Balls. F' you, man. My life is not your feeding ground. -- ... unless of course, it is.)

But I will not say that I believe that “god” puts these obstacles before us on purpose. I just don’t think it’s that intelligent.

The intelligence in focusing all flowers toward the sun (or moon, depending), the intelligence that makes all those little newborn turtles scurry toward the ocean, the intelligence that turns felled trees into compost: it’s order, it’s incredible, it’s inspiring, but it’s not benevolent, necessarily, and it’s not because a force underlies all and declares some of those turtles will be scooped up by predators in their first moments of life – that’s simply part of the order of it.

Because here’s another side to the whole “God as benevolence” thing: it means (or can mean) that we believe we have an ace in the hole. It means wishful and fantastic thinking that “god didn’t take us this far to drop us on our ass” or “god is slow but never late,” which translates to, if I hold out long enough, if I pray hard enough, if I act well enough, I’ll be alright. And buddy, that just ain’t true.

It’s not really about god at all. Being or becoming “alright” has more to do with how we chose to interpret and incorporate out life experiences. God isn’t gonna rescue me, reward me, or punish me. It just doesn’t care like that. But I do. And you do. And together we can form a lattice of support that feels bigger than ourselves, that carries us through and over those hard times. Together, we are aimed toward health, and we connect to improve our chances of getting there.

In that, I can believe. I can believe in our collective desire toward joy. I can believe in my desire to clear out the junk in my heart, so that I can help you toward joy, too.

Is that “god”? Not really. Is it good? You bet. 

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