Tuesday, October 4, 2011

thinking of god

I've been thinking about god again.
In school, it makes sense. That's why I'm here. Sort of.
Not all Unitarian Universalists believe in god, but I think I do.
I mean, I believe in a power greater than myself to which I can turn and that helps me.
Only I don't have a clear understanding of what god looks like. I mean for me. Other people I know can describe god with sure voices and clear terms and what I end up talking about is some "power of the universe that runs things and is a force for good." It sounds like the description of a cartoon character.
My god? I'm not sure what my god looks like. I think the instant we try to put human, finite words on the divine we start to try to put clouds in a box. It's interesting to contemplate and sort of fanciful to try, but really? My understanding of the divine is that god is beyond our own words to describe god. By virtue of the fact that we are limited in our language and thoughts to those of the human species, I think by definition that renders us incapable of defining god. It's like the colors on the spectrum beyond infrared and ultraviolet. I know they're there, but I lack the eyes to let me see them, therefore I cannot begin to describe them. Besides, when was the last time you tried to describe the color blue? Every try to do that? Yeah, it's a fun exercise to illustrate how limited language can be.
So I'm trying to get my brain around my understanding of god. I described god earlier as outside myself and an entity I could turn to for help. But that doesn't really fit either. I think the divine lives in each of us, that there is some spark of pure joy, pure love, pure selflessness and generosity that exists in all of us. Some are in touch with it and can access it and some cannot. Buddhists bow to one another in a ritual that roughly translated means "The divine that lives in me acknowledges the divine that lives in you." I like that idea a lot. I like the idea that we all have something of god inside us.
This does not make us god, or gods, or all powerful in any way, but I think it allows us to do good things in a way that maybe we might not consider on our own. Then again, this might be my liberal, white, privileged understanding of things. I can't tell.
So the tricky thing I'm facing these days is getting in touch with my own woundedness and still managing to believe that I am healthy enough and will be healed enough to do ministry.
One of the first assignments in one of my classes was to consider and reflect upon where I am wounded, where I am broken, and in what way that prevents me from being intimate with god.
Yeah, that was a lot of fun. Last week in that same class, the prof talked about how infants in the first year of life learn trust and how that trust is an absolute base requirement for building relationships, with people and with god. She's right, of course. Only I didn't get that lesson in the first year of life. I learned distrust. So now, 45 years later, can I learn it? Not in the way an infant does, with their still pliable and forming brain, developing synaptic patterns and all. No, it's going to take I don't know what for me to learn trust so that I can function in relationships. And I may walk with a psychic limp for the rest of my life as a result of that break in my infancy. I can't tell. I know that I will have empathy for people in ways that others cannot, but it comes at a high price.
More thoughts tomorrow, I hope.

No comments: