“Does it seem that I’m looking for an answer to a question I can’t ask?”
“Nightingale” by Norah Jones
I was talking with my godmother one day when she expressed how difficult it has been for her to commune with people who cannot be honest with themselves. I got the sense that–as with many things she has told me–I would have to partake in her experience firsthand in order to get a sense of what she meant.
With that said, it is only suitable that I should begin with some harsh truth about myself:
I am not as healthy as people might think.
I have been really angry.
I feel inadequate.
I am insecure.
I am judgemental.
I fail to love my dad, my stepmother, and my mother as well as I should.
I am not independent, at least not as much as I would like to be.
I live outside of my means sometimes.
I can blame others for my problems.
I get defensive.
I beat myself up.
I wish I could be perfect.
My roommates and I were talking at the beginning of last fall semester. We had spent those initial days laying down some house rules and boundaries. At one point, one remarked, “Oh, Sandy? She’s perfect!” to which I spun around with the rebuttal, “Whoa! I am not perfect!”
I told my counselor some days later about that conversation. I had concluded that my alleged perfection was such a falsehood that I would have been a fool to even feel an ounce of flattery from it. I felt that my roommate’s comment was not necessarily a compliment as much as it was the foundation for an unreachable standard imposed upon me.
My mother and I were walking by a pond on Saturday evening. As we returned to the parking lot I asked her what her definition of God was. She was somewhat surprised, and so was I when she said that no one had ever asked her the question. In all her years, no one ever posed the thought about what the Creator of all existence is. Dear God…
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.
The aforementioned struggles I listed do not define me, but I do need to address them. Why? The answer is simple: I live on this earth with a bunch of other people who are confused, lost, deceitful and drowning in denial; and if I ever aspire to be of any service to those around me then I must make sure that my own engine is properly running. Actually, now that I think of it, I am rather unsettled by the lack of truth around me. Perhaps I am beginning to understand what my godmother was talking about.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
So let us get back to my question.
Who is God?
Is God perfection?
Is God a white bearded man looming behind the clouds?
Is God an Alanis Morrissette lookalike?
Is God the twinkle in the eye of a newborn infant?
Is God that minty-pine smell around Christmas time?
Is God a breathtaking sunset?
Is God a rich uncle in the sky?
Is God a really inexpensive counselor? Or a really avid life coach?
Is God justice in the face of exploitation and devastation?
Is God the central truth upon which all the universe rests?
Or is God a truth that circumvents existence itself?
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant by Emily Dickinson