grace

Day 139 – 144

We have reached Day 12×12 in this long journey. Of course, they haven’t all been properly accompanied by consecutive blog posts, but there’s nothing I can do about the past. All I can do is pick up where I leave off and continue forward.

Prior to writing about Numbers, I feel like sharing a transcription of a recording I made on July 5, 2014. I had intended to share it that day, but the recording is 24 minutes long and will take some time to transcribe. You, lucky reader, get to enjoy the end result without the delay. I know my partner is going to think I’m insane, so all I can say is read all the way to the end of the post, dear, before coming to conclusions. I know you’ll reach some prior to the end, but hey, I figured I’d throw in a disclaimer anyway.

(Except, you know, it’s been six days since I’ve updated. So there’s that.)


I had an interesting revelation today; it was quiet and I’m not even sure where it came from or why I was even thinking about it, now. But I was thinking about why… why are we created? And supposedly our purpose, supposedly according to some Christians, is to worship and glorify God, right? So we’re created from nothing, born into existence, meaninglessly it seems, but with the purpose of giving glory and praise to the Lord.

And I was thinking, “why should this be?” To some people, that’s not… maybe, don’t ask questions, but I think it’s important to ask questions. So, my question is “Why?” Because there are two things at play here: one of them is, “what do we get out of it as human beings?” and the second is “what does God get out of it?”

Now, C.S. Lewis talked about God as a Being which by definition can need nothing. God is all-fulfilling, all-encompassing, and if you ask me, God is literally present everywhere within everything. God is the life of the universe. So if all of us are contained within God, or if you don’t like that explanation, if that theory comes off as blasphemous, then you have to admit that we are all at least within the mind of God, because God, being an omniscient Being, knows everything that is happening and everything that is going to happen, and as far as I can tell, God is past, present, future, so we either exist as part of this manifestation of “the body” of God, or the manifestation of the existence of God, or we exist in the “real world” but everything we do is part of God’s mind. If God literally knows everything, then this is the mind of God. The universe is the mind of God, unless God has an entire duplicate simulation of the universe running inside His mind where everything else is true because He knows everything but just not technically real, an illusion. But I digress.

What was I talking about?

What do we get out of glorifying and worshiping God? There are some Eastern faiths that talk about how God or the Supreme Being or whatever, that God essentially dreamed the world into being specifically so that He could see what it was like to be everything. That’s almost like the universe is like a computer kind of thing, moving forward and moving forward and running what would amount to a simulation, so that God can be it, observe it, and know every possible state of matter and energy, ever. And I guess if you look at what I said earlier, about omniscience, it would seem that God would already know that. But like C.S. Lewis said about Abraham and Issac, just because God knew… God knew that Abraham would not sacrifice his son, He also knew that Abraham would not need to sacrifice his son. Abraham did not know that, though. Lewis says something along the lines of “just because God knows something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to happen.”

If you take that Eastern religion philosophy, then we are all a trick, a surprise. God became the world and everything in it and we are pieces of that divine consciousness out to experience the world as a surprise. We don’t know what’s coming. Does the one massive infinite timeless Intelligence know what’s coming? Yeah. But we have forgotten ourselves, and I think that’s the idea behind whatever exactly it is that I’m citing from. The Oneness-That-Is dreamed us all into being in partial states so that we would collectively play out life. Not just every physical state of matter and every energetic state of matter, but every mental, physical, and emotional state of human beings.

When I think about stuff like this I think about “many-worlds theory” and wonder if there are infinite parallel universe where infinite things are happening to me right now. There are infinite life-paths for a human being but we experience one of them. All the other ones are being experienced some where (?) else for lack of a better word, but I’m experiencing one possible run-through of my life. I ‘m experiencing one possible path for my life, and for me right now it seems like the only possible path, but maybe if there are truly many worlds, then it is not. This is the one for me me, and somewhere else there is another me who feels that his path is the one that makes the most sense, and maybe on and on through all people, and it’s not just infinite variations of my person, my body, going through life, it’s endless permutations of that one body changed and changed and ever so slightly different across the dimensions, so really it would be… infinite versions of all people, that the  infinite versions I’m talking about become all people across all time.

Because if you take me and you set infinite variably on things like age and temperament and whatever else, it’s like, “Oh, you’ve just described the entire human population. You’ve described every possible person that is was and will be.” So, who knows about this “many-worlds” business.

But anyway, so… we are… See, but that’s true! If we are tiny bits of consciousness, then God knows what’s going to happen to us; He knows what’s going to happen to us and He knows what it would feel like from our perspective. But in order for Him to know that in a timeless sense, at some point it would have to happen or He would have to at least imagine it happening. But to fully imagine what it would mean for, say, me to be placed in a certain situation, you would need to create a universe around it.

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

— Carl Sagan

You would have to construct a universe around it, because if you were God and you could literally feel and see and comprehend everything, then each endless variation of what I as a human do is a butterfly effect of endless variations, and it might not seem like that on the macro scale of human life, but every time I move my hand, I displace millions of air molecules, so if I turn my head one way once, and another way another time, not only is there the macro scale of what I saw and what I didn’t see, but there is a micro scale of tiny particles of dust and down to atoms and whatever that are displaced every time I move my body, and that doesn’t even count the micro scale of all the movements of my muscles and my brain and the energy and the cells… That doesn’t even account for all that.

So in order for God to imagine all of these things… well you could say, “Why would He create a universe? He could just imagine it,” then we are living in that imagination. I posit that God imagining the universe into existence, and creating a physical universe into existence, are one and the same thing, and for we living in that creation/imagination, we could never tell the difference. So in order to truly be omniscient, God has to create the universe. God has to create a universe, and I don’t know how laws of physics work on weird scales, or if there are multiple created universes, so that God can know all possible variations of the laws of physics, or all possible whatever , but here we are.

So I guess that would be what God gets out of it… in a sense… God creates a universe of beings somewhere between animal and man… or somewhere between animal and God, because in Genesis we are made, depending on your translation, in the likeness of God. That doesn’t necessarily mean that God looks like a human being; it means that we are made with many of the capacities of God, and active consciousness that can be aware of the self is probably one of those capacities.

In addition to other things, we can conceive of ourselves as beings. So we have “power” to do things because we can sort-of-depending-on-who-you-ask direct our own bodies and minds to action. So somewhere between animal and God, we exist. We are like partial consciousness. We are a partial consciousness. We are not the infinite divine consciousness, nor are we the more limited, for lack of a better word, more limited animal consciousness, although, true, some animals do appear to display human-like intelligence, emotion, and behavior, but anyway…

What is it that makes humans so different? Our capacity to build and form large societies and have large complex thoughts like the ones I’m having now where I’m questioning the very nature of the universe and God and our lives… still we are a partial consciousness. Because the infinite consciousness is filled with joy, love, and bliss, our chance is, as these partial consciousnesses, to strive for that. We have the capacity to strive for more, and we have the ability, the blessing, as much as I say it now, I might disagree with it while I suffer, but we have the blessing of starting with nothing, the blessing of being these imperfect, incomplete, very wound-able, very destroyable beings. And the blessing that comes with that is that we know what it is like without infinite bliss and joy, we know what it’s like without feeling this endless love and power flowing through us, we know what it’s like to not have it. We know what it’s like to be separate from God and in a sense separate from ourselves.

And so when we find God, when we find and accept the things that make our minds and bodies feel Good, capital-G Good, we can truly appreciate them; we can truly appreciate how far we have come and how much we have gone through to reach the point where we can, I’m going to say, commune with the mind and the energy of God, a place where we can truly be at one with God, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or whatever that looks like.

It seems to me that isn’t this the essence of the story of the prodigal son, that it’s not that we were perpetually living in a a state of bliss and happily stayed there forever and ever, it’s that we, being imperfect creatures, we have within ourselves a rebellious streak: our own egos which constitute a rebel stronghold that drives us to push back against God, to feel like we can do it ourselves, to feel that we have all the answers, and that we need nothing else.

But we do need something else, and so like the prodigal son, we return to our Father’s house and our Father rejoices that we have come back, because we have learned so much out in the world. We have learned so many things, we laid down our rebel flags and came back…

If we were as the brother in that story, then we would have stayed home, we would never have left in the first place, but of the two brothers, the one who stayed and the one who left, who do you think truly appreciates his Father’s company?


Holy shit. So as a result of writing all that I started looking up things on Wikipedia. I started with

  • Omniscience
    • Pantheism
      • Panentheism (not to be confused with the above)
        • Immanence
          • Light of Christ (LDS theology)

But I went back to panentheism and found it fascinating. From there, I found a link to a concept called Tzimtzum, which is transliterated, sort of, from a Hebrew word meaning “contraction” or “withdrawal.” Basically the implication here is that God “contracted” Himself (?) in order to create an “empty space” where the world could exist outside of His totality but still have aspects of His presence. An interesting related quote, apparently from Rabbinic literature is

“He is the Place of the World, but the World is not His Place.”

This concept is interesting because it creates a paradox (at least to us as humans) in that it requires some simultaneous degree of immanence and transcendence from God. God cannot be totally within the world, but He cannot be completely absent from it either. According to Kabbalistic thought on this topic, creation requires God’s immanence.

Paradoxes? Possible illusions of reality? A dualistic God that is simultaneously in two states at once in relation to the world?

This is that I would amend in the above story and in all previous statements. I do not believe that God is confined to this world. That is where I differ from pantheism. God is in everything (or vice versa, or both) but everything is not God (and vice versa).

I like the divine dream/divine consciousness theory more and more, that we are dreamed into existence by God, and that this dreaming is equivalent in all respects to what we would consider a separate physical Creation. But! I don’t know how much this all matters, because philosophies on the origin of the universe tell me little about how to live my life in the universe. So, whatever.

But damn if it ain’t interesting conversation.


Yeah, I’m not going to write about Numbers after all that. Way too much time transcribing and editing.

Tomorrow, though. I’ll get to it and get caught up to Numbers 28.

Good night, all. I hope it’s been as interesting for you as it has been for me.

Peace be upon you.

https://shamanicdoxology.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/07f09-appeltaart252812529.jpg

Day 138

Woo! Even though it’s day 138, this is post 100! I used only the finest graphical arts programs to generate appropriate banners for this momentous occasion.

 

 

post1002

post1001

Woo! Post 100!

Of course, that means somehow I missed 38 days of proper updates. Woo…

I’ve gotten to the point where I prefer doing my blog to doing work. That doesn’t seem to be too much of a surprise. Work is stressing me out. Plus I went to urgent care today for some weird issue only to pay them $50 and get billed later for some X-Rays for them to tell me that it’s [best guess] and it’ll go away on its own. Whee.

Anyway, it’s taking me like 2 hours to write this post because I’m distracted.

Let’s get on with…


Numbers 21

Oh goodness, it’s long.

But! After having read it, it’s not too bad. Full of Israeli military conquests. A little odd/appropriate considering recent real-world news.

However! The part that I found interesting about this chapter has to do with serpents!

As some of you may know, I sort of have a thing about snakes.

indiana-jones-snakes

Not quite like this.

When I had my first intense religious experience, serpent imagery was involved. I still think about it to this day. So in this chapter, when the people of Israel speak out against God, having just made a vow and been granted military victory over the entire land of Canaan (which seriously took like 3 verses, talk about anticlimactic), they speak out against God and he plagues them with “fiery serpents” (NKJV) or “poisonous serpents” (Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation).

The people start getting bitten by these snakes and they begin to die. So the people take some initiative and apologize for all this and ask Moses to intervene. God tells Moses to make an image of the serpents and “set it on a pole” (Numbers 21:8), that those who look upon it will not die from their snakebites. So he does, and the people do.

Now I don’t know if this just seemed really obvious or what, but the serpent on the pole is totally Jesus, you guys. Guys. Guys. Seriously.

So get this. God sends the serpents to punish the people, and depending on your doctrine, sin is effectively punishment, is it not? So the serpents are representative of sin, but where does sin come from? People. Without people there is no sin. So we have a whole “man’s inhumanity to man” thing going on.

Or alternatively, sin is not technically punishment but just the direct consequence of disobedience to God. In which case, snakes are the direct result of disobedience to God.

Either way, so the snakes are like the pain caused by sin, and sin is caused by people, and so the snakes are sort of like sinners and punishment rolled up into one scaly yet smooth metaphor. But! Moses makes a perfect image of one of these snakes (eh? eh??) and puts in on a pole (EH?!) and the people look to it (EHHHH?!?!) and are saved. Get it? Get it?

I thought this was interesting especially since the Jehovah’s Witnesses contend that Jesus was not hung on a cross but hung on a large pole (EH?!?!?!?!) called a “torture stake.” But yeah, these people look up to an image that is representative of God’s grace and are saved. They do not pray to the image, though, and this is an interesting point. That would be a sin.

I think this is why Protestants pray to God in Jesus’ name. Jesus is the image, the manifestation, of God’s grace. But all the praise and glory is still given to God. I think Jesus would have it no other way, since even He submitted to the will of the Father, even though they were sort of the same “Being” or “essence” or what-have-you.

Insert obligatory “God is in Christ and Christ is in us therefore God is in us therefore we are with God in some spiritual unity but yet created separately from Him physically to be forever distant so that we would seek Him but also be seeking the perfected version of ourselves which is in Him and only He can give us” thing that I do.

Anyway, as far as the rest of the chapter goes, like I said, Israel cuts a bloody swath across the Middle East and wrecks everybody’s s***.

Then they kill some king named Og. Really? This guy’s got like, a caveman name.

Anyway, peace be upon you!

Day 90

I’m so upset now, looking back, that I skipped so many days. I’m on Day 90 (three months, can you believe it?!) but I’ve only made 72 actual posts. I failed at my task, and I am ashamed.

I am ashamed that this simple thing was beyond me. I am ashamed that I thought I could do so much but fell so short. It hurts knowing that I didn’t do my best, that I didn’t make time for God.

I am ashamed that I will fail again.

But more importantly, just because we fail doesn’t mean we have to quit. Just because I failed doesn’t mean I have to quit. We are imperfect creatures and sometimes failure is the “best” we can do at a given time.

God willing, this blog will be counted someday among the least of my works, so best I fail now, best I learn this lesson to turn to God, to seek His love and grace, to seek His support… best I learn this now over the lifetime of this blog than in the future when I have bigger things to do.

The fact that this is now post 72 made me look up the “72 names of God,” and a bunch of other stuff related to Kabbalah. Nothing struck me. It is interesting to see, though, and I wonder why Exodus 14:19-21 (from which the so-called 72 names are derived) should be so uniquely important?


Exodus 40

I turn again here to Matthew Henry’s commentary for this chapter. When I read it, it was mostly anointing until the end, where it describes God as a cloud settling over the tabernacle, and arising when it was time for the Israelites to travel. The final verse of the book of Exodus reads:

“For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and the fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”

— Exodus 40:38, NKJV

I like that. It’s very poetic.

My favorite point from Matthew Henry is this one:

“When the tabernacle and the furniture of it were prepared, they did not put off rearing it till they came to Canaan; but, in obedience to the will of God, they set it up in the midst of their camp. Those who are unsettled in the world, must not think that this will excuse want of religion; as if it were enough to begin to serve God when they begin to be settled in the world.”

The time to turn to God is always Now. It doesn’t matter if we turned toward or away from Him in the past. If we try and wait until we are settled, that calm and peace will never come. Only the path of God leads to the Promised Land. There is no other way.

Peace be upon you.

Day 67-80

Beware! I live!

Yes, dear readers. After a long, lazy, unproductive hiatus, I have returned. My camping trip ended a week ago and I still haven’t managed to get off my ass and update my blog. So I’m going to zip through everything and just get up to today so that I can start fresh with renewed commitment tomorrow. (Update: Also, most of Exodus is [forgive me Lord] boring as s***. I’ll get cracking on that tomorrow)

Actually, before I go ahead and write all this, I’m going to go draw a Medicine Card. Be right back!

I have drawn Raccoon, in the Contrary position. Let us look him up, shall we?

“If Raccoon has appeared in the reverse position, you may be robbing yourself of much needed strength at this time. Do you need an attitude adjustment?” Etc., etc.

Appropriate as always. It says a bit more about “feeling drained,” as well as giving energy to others that you may essentially revitalize yourself. Perhaps this is what I need. Perhaps the “other” in this situation is God, and my duty thereto.

Speaking of duty, I was reading C. S. Lewis while I was on my camping trip, and he is a positively amazing writer for those who wish to have a better understanding of Christianity. Granted, it is just one man’s perspective, but considering he was a former atheist, he has a great deal of insight and offers quite a bit of explanation. I shall have to list some of his books.

Anyway he mentions at one point that our worship our our devotion to God can itself become an object of worship. He at one point started to see his work on, I believe, The Problem of Pain, as becoming a temptation rather than a duty. I’m definitely not there yet, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t force myself to write this blog for a full week. So far, this is still duty. Which in a sense implies my lack of virtue, since I struggle against the Word and duty to God rather than rejoice in it.

If you’ve read my About page or some of my previous posts you know that I spoke of revelations that allowed me to grok the idea of “oneness with God.” My idea is/was that we and everything in existence are one with God, although I am no longer sure in what sense. We are reflections of Him, all good is His Good, all love is His Love, and all energy is His Energy.

If He is, as C. S. Lewis puts it, the Uncreated, and everything else (us included) is the created, then in a sense all of our matter and energy came from God in the first place. I guess this is sort of a roundabout argument that is going nowhere. The point is, I had this idea of oneness with God, of a spiritual and to some extent physical unity with some form of the Divine.

On my camping trip, I understood our separateness from God. I saw why this was so, and that it was, in its own way, Good. God, as one vast infinite Being could neither do nor love except to create. God, as an infinitely creative and loving force, could do nothing less. If God did not create anything, what would He have to love? Thus, the universe, I suppose.

And we had to be given free will because otherwise there would be no point. C.S. Lewis makes the point that God could have removed the consequences of the First Sin (the whole Adam and Eve thing) but then He would have had to remove the consequences of the second, and the third, and so on, and there would be no free will. But like prodigal sons all of us, we are allowed to leave in hopes that some day, some long day after we have been bruised and hurt, after we have hurt others, after we have lied and been lied to… we are allowed to leave in the hopes that after all this we will return. Return to our real “home,” so to speak, in the presence of and in a unity with God.

So how did all this come to me? Well, Mr. Lewis was a big help. My partner gave me some books just in time for me to bring them, and they were the perfect reading material on my trip. But also, in the form of a song! The following lyrics are to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, or if you prefer, John Brown’s Body.

Ahem.


In the creaking of the pine trees, I heard an open door

I have seen His praises written there upon the forest floor

Though I have eaten from His table, He keeps me coming back for more

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus, if you like)

In the beauty of the briars, Man was born upon the Earth

He strains and pains, complains and blames; he wonders what he’s worth

But Christ who reaches out to him is heedless of his birth

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

I grin, my skin is paper thin, my mind is like a sieve

I lie here in His loving arms that I shall never leave

Beneath the broken tree leaves lie the tangled webs we weave

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

Here and there and everywhere, whenever we my ask

He is present with his children, regardless of our task

By His Grace we go about our days, in His Glory we may bask

His truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

As eagles fly down mountainside, my journey’s just begun

May my gaze be fixed upon His Grace until my days are done

May He burn himself into my eyes like the righteous setting sun

His Truth is marching on!

(Chorus)

The gift that You have given me exists beyond compare

The Glory You are showing me is more than I could bear

So You gave to me this human form to find You everywhere

Your Truth is marching on!


This is my anthem to God. I cannot think of any other way to describe it. He has given me and shown me so much. Part of me wants to discontinue this project but I know I will regret doing so. I must continue to work on this, and do “my best.”

This, of course, is laughable. I realize what “little” creatures we are, now. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain

“Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis—in itself very bad news—before it can win a hearing for the cure.”

I finally understand the diagnosis. The cure has already been discovered; the prescription is written. But so many are in denial of the diagnosis that they will not accept the cure.

But as far as being “little,” as I have said… C. S. Lewis has this to say, from The Great Divorce:

“You weren’t a decent man and you didn’t do your best. We none of us were and none of us did.”

We are infinitely far from perfect; I grok that now. We are perfect in the sense that we could not in this moment be anything other than what we are, but what we choose to do with this moment and each successive Now is up to us. But in terms of being perfected, that is something we cannot and will not be, at least not in this life. Can we get close? Sure, in the sense that successively higher numbers appear to approach an infinitely distant point. But I have seen the truth in the old adage: nobody’s perfect.

Only God is perfect; all we creatures can do is trust Him.

Until tomorrow. Peace be upon you.

Day 58

Exodus 8

Here we see the next three plagues and we see also Pharaoh’s completely predictable reaction to repeated entreaties to “Let My people go.” The second plague that falls upon Egypt is a plague of frogs; Moses and Aaron work their magic via the power granted them by God, and the land is inundated with frogs.

frog_theme_for_kids

“You mean like the frogs that got f***ed by Joseph Smith?”¹

Pharaoh’s magicians, ever eager to prove that these strange miracles are not of God, summon up some frogs of their own. Pharaoh doesn’t seem to care this time, and is sick of picking frogs out of his fancy hat. He finally asks Moses and Aaron to send them away. If the frogs are removed, Pharaoh says, he will let the Hebrews go and sacrifice to their God.

Moses just asks for a time, and Pharaoh says “tomorrow.” Why he doesn’t say “Right f***ing now, please,” is beyond me. Moses and Aaron call to God and God wipes out all the frogs. The Egyptians pile the mass of dead frogs into rotting heaps. Compared to having frogs everywhere, this was apparently a relief. Although I don’t really know why they didn’t just start eating the frogs since annoying the Lord sometimes grants you an infinite supply of food. Perhaps they were poisonous frogs? Anyway.

Once the frogs are gone, Pharaoh proceeds to once again ignore the commands of Moses and Aaron. No more frogs, not my problem.

So Moses and Aaron send lice. With the power of God, they turn all the dust of the land into lice. This the magicians could not do. At this point even the sorcerers of Egypt are forced to admit that something strange might be going on. “This is the finger of God,” they say to Pharaoh in Exodus 8:19. But still Pharaoh’s heart was hard against these miracles.

Again Moses and Aaron visit Pharaoh, they go through the same old “Let My people go” shtick, and again Pharaoh denies their request. This time the land is swarmed with flies.

diabloitchies

As any Diablo II player can tell you, flies are no laughing matter.²

Finally, Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron. I can just picture him swatting flies away from his head as he tells them, “Fine! Just sacrifice already! You can do it right here!”

Moses and Aaron, completely free of flies respond: “No can do, Pharaoh. If we start doing our Jehovah business in Egypt, odds are we’ll get stoned to death. We need to go out of town for a few days first.”

Pharaoh: “Fine, whatever! Just get rid of these damn flies!”

Moses: “Alright, we’ll get rid of the flies. No more tricks, Pharaoh.” I think it’s funny that Moses tells Pharaoh to stop being deceitful when isn’t Moses lying about the whole worship/sacrifice thing? I thought this whole thing was a ruse to get the Hebrews out of Egypt (Exodus 3). I guess the point would be that God does work all things for good.

Moses heads out, asks God to take the flies away, and He does. Pharaoh, being relieved of his misery, once again hardens his heart and goes back on his word. The Hebrews will not be allowed to leave.


I think the most interesting lessons to be learned here come from Pharaoh’s actions. As Pharaoh hardens his heart against these “supernatural” miracles, so to do we harden our hearts against the miracles of the world… the miracle of a rising sun or a beautiful sunset, the miracle of rain falling from the sky and nourishing the land, the miracle of life and growth all around us, and the miracle of the human experience, that we are conscious, that we can create and act in this amazing world, that we exist at all! All of these things seem so normal to us that we hardly perceive them as miracles.

Also, the way Pharaoh constantly changes his attitude after the plague has lifted reminds me of a joke:

A guy is headed downtown and is late for a job interview. He is desperate to find a parking place, and so he rolls down his window and shouts to God, “If you find me a parking place, I promise I’ll never touch another drop of liquor.”
Just then, a car pulls out, leaving a parking place right in front of his building.
He leans out and shouts to God, “Never mind, I found one myself.”

So often we call to God in our hour of need, and forget Him afterward. We make promises and fail to uphold them. For all those who would condemn Pharaoh (myself included) do not forget that every one of us is equally imperfect. We have all made mistakes, we have all made promises that we have not kept.

The beauty of God is that He is always present. C.S. Lewis wrote something that struck me as profound:

If He who in Himself can lack nothing chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed.

We are still in so many ways like children, children who need attention, love, compassion, and affirmation. God does not have to be there for us, and if He were as we are, many times He would not be there for us. We cannot always be present for our friends or our children. But God can be called upon always. It seems to me that God wants to be called upon always, for us to be fully conscious and accepting of Him throughout all the days of our lives.

More so than that, since I cannot claim to speak for the will of God, it seems to me that our very souls cry out to God, that our souls, our very being wants us to call upon Him, to open ourselves up to God, His grace and His forgiveness. But then, in a sense, our not our souls crying out for their own true essence?

“The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”

— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


¹ The Book of Mormon (musical). 2011 Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone.

² Diablo II. 2000 Blizzard Entertainment. Image retrieved from http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?786178-Scavenger-Hunt-4-Tournament-Grail/page11

Day 41

I read me some Genesis 41 today, and we’re dealing with Joseph as the interpreter of dreams as instructed or inspired by God. But I want to talk about something else today, and only briefly.

This song is another one of those that you’re probably sick of if you listen to the radio often. I do not, and I love it. It’s just so catchy! I had déjà vu when I heard it because I swear I’d heard it before.

If I had to guess, I’d say the song had to do with the ups and downs and struggles of love and relationships. But I really like the first thing she says:

“All the broken hearts in the world still beat.”

— Ingrid Michaelson, Girls Chase Boys

This is a beautiful truth and it speaks to me in many ways. The thing that comes to mind most readily relates to a conversation that I had with a coworker at a restaurant. We were both servers, and most of the people there were miserable. It was hard to see so many people just bitter and hurting with nowhere to go.

We were talking one day, this woman and I, and something came up about denial. I said something about how I didn’t think it was a very good strategy. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me.

“When I work all day at this job and go home exhausted to my little daughter and I have to put a smile on my face even though I want to kill myself, denial is the only thing I have to get through it.”

I shut up pretty fast. But if I could go back to that conversation, I would say that I don’t consider denial to be a healthy long-term strategy. In the short term, we all have to bite the bullet sometimes and get by. But I can’t imagine doing it for years and years of misery with no progress toward anything. How? How does anyone live that way?

I understand time’s habit of getting away from us; I really do. I just officiated a wedding for someone I knew when I was like, five years old. Now we’re older, she’s getting married, and I still have memories from back then in my head. It’s so weird to think of all the things that have changed (at least so it seems, from my human perspective).

But this song… so many people in this world that are just crushed or beaten down or heartbroken… and yet like my coworker, they press on. They push through each and every day because they feel they have to. I am reminded here of Mother Teresa, who just straight-up lost her faith and felt abandoned by God, but still stuck to her mission and helped so many people and did so much good. Is it possible that denial got her through?

To me, functional denial is like functional alcoholism: even if you’re getting by, you still have a problem. Active denial is the worst kind of lie: a lie to oneself, an abandonment or rejection of the pure unadulterated Truth of life. It is avoidance of reality and of one’s own feelings. But I understand it.

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote that the “denial system” is important because it allows us to function even if we are hurt. But a healthy mind has neither need nor room for denial. A healthy mind is filled with acceptance of what Is and rolls with the punches. A healthy mind formulates a plan or does something to get out of a bad situation, or deals with that situation with serenity and grace.

So, to quote Ingrid Michaelson again, “Let’s not make it harder than it has to be.” Let’s search within ourselves, let’s forgive ourselves and others, let’s accept today for what it is, and let’s do our best, knowing that our best will get better.

Let’s mend these broken hearts of ours as best we can, and let the wholeness and completeness within make our hearts beat even louder and stronger. Let’s allow our strong hearts to speak for themselves by demonstrating a life of compassion, expression of ourselves, love, respect, and generosity. Let’s show all of these things, so that the broken hearts will see that is is possible to be healed. Let’s extend our healing hearts to others, let’s show them a beautiful world, let’s show them the grace, unity, and power that comes at once from Above and from Within.

Go out, and spread the Word.

Peace be upon you.