Thursday, February 01, 2007

Knowing God

Can we know God? Living in the deep South, many people are convinced that they know God, while the Presbyterians say that only God knows if you really know God or not. You won’t know whether or not you are “saved” until judgment day. Others have been “born again” or “baptized in the spirit” or whatever seems to be their expression of the feeling that God has broken through the “otherness” and touched their lives.

I’m seldom sure if I am communicating with God, talking to myself, or listening to the ether. Most times when I’m listening, the sound is static buzz of the universe. However, sometimes, I feel that God has communicated with me.

Some background: I have lots of opinions about almost everything; some are conflicting; some are in quasi agreement; some are lost in space. So, when I have a problem or concern and I don’t know what to do, I seek a quiet spot and gather all these opinions as if they were persons sitting around a table discussing the situation. Of course, this requires a lot of suspension of disbelief or else I need to be treated for multiple personalities.

So, there I sit at the table with my own opinions; a lull in the conversation is sometimes filled with the voice of the “other”. A consideration that was not part of my opinion, a possibility that was outside my realm of experience, a solution that is very different from the direction in which I was going – this comes in the lull, in the quiet of conversation with myself. Now some will say that this is just the result of letting my subconscious participate, a natural event of reason; I say it is God.

Perhaps this voice of the “other” comes from that place within me where I have made a home for God, and, so, it truly does come from me – from the God within me. But, it’s an alien piece of the puzzle; it’s the myth to which life is true; it’s the Spirit moving in miraculous ways within my own being.

I also hear God in inspirational metaphors that come to me while staring at the water or deep in centering prayer. As I let the thoughts flow through me, one will snag on a barb of my anxiety and provide a comfort or a solution. Those, to me, are God-thoughts.

Sometimes when I hurt and I clutch my pillow to my chest, I feel a hand on my shoulder or just below the nape of my neck – long before my partner reaches out to do the same. Was God’s hand drawing her near to be the physical touch of God?

While I try sometimes to put words to this God whom I trust and cherish, my descriptions will never be complete, and maybe not even a tiny bit accurate. Because God is “other”, I can only imagine that what I feel that is extraordinarily good is God. Yet, sometimes, I am certain that the nudge I get to change directions is equally God. No, I don’t believe God punishes me; I can do that quite sufficiently. And, is this heresy? Possibly. Perhaps I’ve just spent too much time alone in my head, which is not always a safe place to be.

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