Swimming in God
Have you been searching for God? I guess I always have, too. Today, I have something to share with you, and it will help you find God more quickly.
"Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature that he has been destroying is this God he's worshiping."—Hubert Reeves
A few years ago, at a Portland Car Wash, I was held captive indoors during a sudden downpour while waiting for my car to be finished. The 700 Club played loudly on an old television mounted up near the ceiling. The show, and its oft-repeated advertisement, guaranteed to help me find God, and all I had to do was pay $19.95 for a DVD.
It repeated this offer so often—the guarantee to find God for $19.95—that it now lives in me. It ruminates through my brain from time to time, as my improvisational mind awakens and I somehow wish I could use that statement for some funny Saturday Night Live skit. But it wasn’t meant to be funny, and many people were listening.
There were others who listened to this program and paid the $19.95 in deep faith. They paid the money because they want to believe. They paid the money because they want to have faith, and have that faith reinforced by others. Others who seem “in charge.” Others who have a powerful television station and broadcast their brimstone stories. Someone, no in fact, several people, purchased that product that day to help them find some God outside of themselves.
Now, I am left wondering: Did they find God?
It seems so many human beings search for God. Like love itself, God is the mercurial, intangible essence of life. No real definition seems to suit It (It, rather than Him, being God). But depending on which culture we were born into, there are often many clearly delineated details on how to know God, just like that of the 700 Club ad that promised me that I would know God if I purchased their DVD.
Enough. Trying to find God is absurd.
Trying to find God is as ridiculous as a fish trying to find water. You’re in it. It’s all around you, and it holds you up, and holds you down. It’s your inhale, and your exhale. It’s your marriage, and your divorce. It’s your connection to all things, not just some of them.
It’s pantheism, but it is so much more than pantheism. It’s the sacred in all of us, and it’s the profane. It’s science, and it’s religion. God is found in the rich fields of bountiful crops, and in the dung piles used to fertilize them. You’re swimming in God, for God’s sake. Wake up.
Our desire to personify him, to articulate his moods and his anger and his vengeance, has grown old. It is time for us to leave behind our collectively agreed upon Santa Claus God and Country Club Heaven. The old guard will roar it’s angry head in violent disapproval as we learn to leave the nest and stand on our own. Many of us are already doing this. But more of us must do this. And we must do this now.
The world will not awaken until we do. It is our choice. We were born with the choice to create heaven or hell. Sadly and for whatever reasons, many of us have chosen hell. Recently, two girls in India were raped and then hung, simply because they headed to a field to relieve themselves, as they are too poor to have toilets. We have had 74 school shootings since Newtown. 74. No one knows what to do. Except the NRA, which assures us that if everyone has a gun, at least it’s a fair playing field, right?
So we set out, once again, to find our God. This time however, we realize God is nearest of the near, closer to us than our own breath. We commit (again) to the journey of a thousand miles, and take (yet again) another first step. But this time, we are different.
Ironically, the very seeds of our awakening to God are often born out of the mundane or the tragic. Our greatest love can be born out of a quiet contemplation of the ordinary. Our greatest act of love toward community can be born out of the shattered pieces of a rageful youth who shoots up a mall/movie house/campus (take your pick). The only way out of our suffering is through the very heart of it. We must sit with our pain, our grief, and listen.
Each of our circumstances stands to teach us—if we will listen and soften enough to hear the message. And it is our message. It is personal. And it is specific.
Remember, you are already swimming in It.