I’m not one to go all “preachy” on your ass, so I am not really certain why lately people seem to be asking me about my belief system. I could see if I was all in your face “God this, God that,” but I’m not. As a matter of fact when it comes to my relationship with God, I often feel like the girlfriend who can’t commit. I really want to commit because I know it’s best for me, but he has that questionable past. You know there’s all that vindictive Old Testament stuff. Sure he apologized in the New Testament, but it’s one of those “I forgive, but should I forget?” type of things. And then there’s the whole availability thing. Well maybe it’s more a visibility issue. I mean really, any other relationship in which I had to work this hard just to spend time with the other half of it, wouldn’t be something I would call “a relationship.” Look at the world, militant killers in the name of God, babies starving, I can’t turn on the TV without crying over an SPCA commercial, and those are just the things we are doing to ourselves. How about natural disaster that leads to people who were already impoverished living in tents for years as is the case in Haiti, disabled children and people with chronic or even terminal illness.
In moments of weakness I think of all of these things. Then I get up, clear my head and really see.
Even the natural disasters are effected by choices made by people. No, I give no human responsibility to cause in those cases unless you want to go all global warming and chemicals in the environment, but I have to save something for another day. It’s the aftermath I’m talking about today. It’s our ability to detach ourselves from that which does not directly affect us. I truly believe most people are good and well meaning, but I also believe we are ostriches–willing to dig our heads into the sand rather than face what scares us. What frightens most of us is “What if.” To take the risk and “What if” it doesn’t work? – or for some “What if” it does? Will I look the fool? Will I have to take on this responsibility? Who do I think I am to think I should or could? The problem with this line of thinking is it perpetuates the man-made problems of this world, it perpetuates the inability to look through a more positive lens, it promotes poor self-esteem. It prevents us from reaching out and touching the life of another who could really use that hand. It prevents us from being and acting like ourselves.
So why all the God stuff you ask? Well, the way I see it is this. It’s all about the journey. It’s about our ability to continue to strive against the eternal struggle of evil in our midst. Sounds dramatic right? Well, as one who is not very good at the “God” thing I find it difficult to not sound that way. SO in keeping with the drama… let me quote Marianne Williamson who was so eloquently quoted by Nelson Mandela during his inaugual speech in 1994. I keep this quote over my desk to remind me to help even when afraid.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Why not make this that time? The time to stop asking “What if? and instead Why not?” Why not let this be the year you discover your own personal strength? You will be better off for it and so will the people you touch.
**This morning on NPR there was a story about people who have an impact despite the fact that they carry minimal to no power in our society. Enjoy it. I did.