I probably don’t use the name, God, like most people in my community. While it warms my heart to think of God as my Father–a caring, supreme being–or perhaps as the Son of the Father and of man, I suspect what is really going on is both slightly more complicated and also much simpler.
My college English composition professor would now be pleased if I went ahead and explained what I meant by that last line. It’s good form to first state what you are going to state and then to explain why you stated it.
It looks like I’m going to get an F on this paper.
How can something be more complicated and simpler at the same time? I am unable to expand on the statement, but this thought has occurred to me a number of times in the last few years and I’m sticking with it. I may never be able to fully communicate what I feel and what I am learning though.
I do know that whatever is going on outside of our sphere of attention acts more like something protecting its own, or itself, more than a Father taking care of His children.
The universe seems to take care of us in the way that we take care of parts of our own body. When we eat food rich in iron we are eating that food because it tastes good to us, or we crave it for some reason. We’re not even consciously considering that we have to get iron to build red blood cells and be able to transfer oxygen in our bloodstream. We don’t pay any attention to the fact that we need iron to survive.
We don’t eat these foods because we love our red blood cells and we want to provide for them. The cells are part of us, and we do what comes natural — that keeps the cells on track and it keeps us alive.
Now if a red blood cell was a sentient being like a human, it might be thanking God for how it was built. It would thank God for creating a universe hospitable to it, warm and wet, with plenty of good nourishment and beautiful things to see.
Perhaps carrying around gases makes the cell feel useful, perhaps the cell feels it’s wasting its time and there’s no real reason to exist, but actually the cell and all its brothers are vitally important to the survival of the organism. Even the smartest cell can only imagine what the purpose of its life is and has no way of ever seeing the picture from a wide enough angle to comprehend the truth.
When we are cut, our red blood cells are spilled out and die. We have a natural instinct to do what we can to stop the bleeding, but we are not individually concerned with each cell. While the cells are laying on the ground they might curse God for not protecting them, or they may wonder what they had done to displease God so. They might ask for forgiveness, but of course there is no forgiveness because there was no judgement, or knowledge of their individual plight.
There are larger systems of life that we cannot understand.
I believe that human beings are like a tissue in a larger organism.
That being said, it does seem that sometimes we get exactly what we need, whether we want it or not, as though someone was watching and planning and made it all come out. We have all had terrible experiences that, at the time, seemed like the end of our world. Then one day we looked back and realized that the event happened near a fork in our road and put us on a much better path.
Sometimes we get exactly what we want.
There are those that believe you can get exactly what you want (within reason) through creative visualization. You might think about it as telling your brain over and over what it is you want and then letting your brain come up with a way to work it all out. You also might think of it as telling the universe what you want. You might think about it as a prayer.
I’ve found it useful to review over and over again what it is I want and why I want it. What would I do with it? Is this something just for me? Is there something good I can do with it? How can I help someone else with it?
I am not ready to tell the whole story, but in 2004 I decided what I wanted to do and I asked God for help. I made a promise. Since that day, I have repeatedly been tested. Most of these trials have taken place in my imagination. At times I’ve slipped and I’ve had to examine everything again and ask myself, would I be doing this for myself?
Christians try to immunize themselves against this sort of thought disease by always asking themselves whether or not what they are doing is for God’s glory or for their own. You see, I don’t believe God needs nor wants glory, but it’s good practice to always examine whether or not you’re a lone wolf. (Don’t worry — it’s okay to want things for yourself, too.)
I honestly believe that if you want to contribute to the greater good — no matter how great the dream — the universe will find a way to help you on your journey. What’s good for everyone is good for the universe, right?
The things that have happened to me in the last two years alone are mind boggling — occurrences in just the right sequence at just the right times, involving both people who know me and don’t, weird weather, literally finding things on the ground… it goes on and on.
Remember when I went homeless in September?
I was not able to get into the homeless shelter in Stillwater on the first night. I had to sleep outside three nights and went without food. I was actually laughing with God about the cold and the rain. (I have never cursed God/universe/whatever. I did tell life to suck my balls, but life is a process and not a thing.)
On the fourth day, I still could not get into the shelter because of their background check. My violation of protective order misdemeanors are considered domestic violence and that shelter will not take domestic violence offenders. Yes, I just made some nice phone calls, but that is considered violence in this state when they have ordered you not to do it. Weirdly, if I had stabbed someone in a mugging I would have had a place to sleep.
They suggested that I walk about 30 miles to another town. Eight miles down the road, my pride was broken and I called #3 for help. She said she would give me a ride back to Shawnee so I could go to the Salvation Army shelter there. She also bought me a sandwich! Thanks #3!
Within a couple of weeks at the shelter, I found a job working with computers at a place that was just two blocks away.
You know, I love Chinese food. I thought it was very lucky to have a Chinese food restaurant next to where I work because I don’t have a car.
Remember just above where I wrote that I went homeless in September? At about that same time, a beautiful, young woman arrived in Shawnee. She had left her home on the other side of the world to come here. She started working at the Chinese restaurant at about the same time I started working next door.
If everything had not melted down at the end of last summer,
If I had not stormed out of #3’s house and walked to Stillwater,
If I had gotten into the homeless shelter in Stillwater (if I had not violated that protective order),
If #3 wasn’t nice enough to come pick me up,
Then I would not have been at the Salvation Army in Shawnee,
And I would not have gotten a job,
Next to the Chinese restaurant,
Where the beautiful, young woman was working.
I would not have met Vivian, fallen in love, and then heard that she loves me, too.