For most of my forty-eight years, I have been searching for the answers to the same questions we all ask. It has been a crippling journey for me as I have moved from religion to religion, spirituality to spirituality.
Recently, on my seventh eye injection to keep my left eye from going blind, I decided I was giving up and becoming an atheist or the “kinder gentler” agnostic. If God or the Holy Spirit or Source or place your word here, _____ , was going to give up on me then to hell with it. I was giving up prayer and all the things I thought were true in the ever-loving presence. I cursed God over and over again (said the “F” word a lot) for not showing up for me as I thought I had shown up for him for forty-eight years. How dare you, God, for forgetting me? How dare you continue with this so-called life of struggle after struggle? It’s a vortex!
I lasted about thirty-six hours.
I found it was harder to give it all up – hope – than it was to keep holding on to it. Bottomline: I stink at giving up on God and the Holy Spirit.
Which brings me to this universal piece of apple pie. As a student of A Course in Miracles, (even though I almost tossed the book out), I have come to find that there are certain things about this world that are, well, just not true.
Drum roll…(short list of questions and answers)
1. How could a beneficent God create a world that allows for the 24/7 suffering we see? Take a look at the airline disasters, Israel and Palestine, the Holocaust, 9-11, Stalin’s regime, tornadoes, tsunamis, mental illness, mass school shootings, political corruption, murder, rape, rage, and crippling fear.
Answer: He did not. See A Course in Miracles for further clarification.
2. If God did not create this world? Who did?
Answer: You and me buddy. We did. (see above reference to ACIM – it ‘splains it all)
3. How then do we get out of this illusion of an awful world and get to the real one?
Answer: Forgiveness (first yourself – you did nothing wrong). Forgiveness of yourself and each other is the bridge to our real home. (See A Course in Miracles for more on that).
The Course teaches that conflict and confrontation (inside your thoughts/mind and “out”) is always asleep (even if you use your fear to kill that spider). Peace is always awake. Look at your brother with kindness and forgiveness and the rest will take care of itself.
Prayer is part of the ladder home. Remember, again, none of us did anything wrong – we are all going home. We just have to completely (split my infinitive) reverse our thought system which has gotten us here in the first place.
Here’s a mind blower: time and space do not exist. We live in our minds outside of it. (See the reference for more info).
There are many paths to One. A Course in Miracles is one. Confrontation is never right on any level – especially in your thoughts. Allow the anger to pass away…(it all starts with you).
I will not be judgy – as best I can. Even when things don’t go my way. I look at my brothers and sisters in their cars, at CVS, at the grocery store, at the eye doctor’s office and silently say, “I forgive you. I love you.” Then I leave the rest to the Holy Spirit – our link to God.
I taught over a thousand students in Henrico County Schools over the course of ten years. I taught in the prison system for a short stint. I trained people at a telecom giant. Now, I am working at St. Thomas’s church in Ginter Park and was proud to find out that the founder of the church, Grace Evelyn Arents, was a big old lesbian. I think for fear of being found out, she hid from the public eye. But, much of the 20 million dollars Lewis Ginter gave her went to building many of the churches in Richmond today. Her “companion” Mary Garland Smith outlived her by 42 years. They did wonderful things for the conservative town of Richmond. See Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens for more information on that. I forgive them for hiding but understand.
Fear of being who you are is never the right answer. See Harvey Milk for more on that one. I hid, too. But enough is enough.
I digress as usual. What I am trying to say is that we need to practice compassionate self-forgiveness. Fear is the opposite of love. And, love, of course, holds no grievances.
It bears repeating: Love holds no grievances.
Today, I will stay at home with my cold. But I will not turn on the TV much and watch the sadness. Instead I will forgive and love all the people I have ever met in my heart. This is the place where my soul abides. And, where my soul abides – so do you.