After all, what kind of God would kill a young child with a dreadful disease before she even knew His name? Why would He bother at all? Or, strike dead a middle aged couple in the prime of their lives on their way home from Saturday morning shopping in a grizzly car accident? God must have a sick sense of humor, I concluded, and I was not amused.
It was easy to be angry at God when I was young. After all, He wasn't around to listen anyway I thought. Then, there were the bigger universal questions, take war for example. Why was it that the Irish Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in God's name? Which one had it right? Why didn't He just step in and stop the whole mess? After all, God was a pacifist, wasn't He?
He was all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, and all-PEACEFUL. At least that's what I'd been taught to believe. It sure did not add up with what I saw around me. Because of that, I pictured a delinquent God sitting in Heaven eating bon-bons and smoking Lucky Strikes. In the end, it made it easier at the wise age of 25 to dismiss God as a myth.
"OK, Susan to mind: 'God idea. You can go away now.' " And it was gone. For 20 years.
PART IIBut, I found that God did not let go so easily. A plan was in place for this lifetime that could be undone, but was NOT to be undone. Apparently, the questioning of God's existence was a preliminary exam to the full test to come, and I had passed. One had to respect a God that passed you when you dismissed Him as a fable, kind of like Santa Claus.
But, it finally dawned on me that passing this test was not like getting a diploma and a party and a better, cushy job:
"You want me to do what? Meditate every day? You've got to be kidding? I'm the one with hyperactivity, remember? YOU gave that to me as a birth legacy. When does the happiness part start?"
Or, "Love my fellow man unconditionally? Now, that's going a little too far. YOU love him, I'll just watch--I've seen how You love him, and it isn't pretty."
And then, a little revealing light: "We are all divine? Hum, that would make us Gods, too. OK, that's more than hard to believe, but You say there's more? Oh, come on. You mean to tell me this mess on Earth is all OUR fault? We can't blame any of it on You and have to take full responsibility?""That sounds insane. Who are You anyway?"
------TO BE CONTINUED NEXT SUNDAY-----
Of note: This quite personal essay was written in October 2004 as part of my spiritual studies. The photo was taken in 2000 by Jim whom I had just recently met and was also the year these formal studies began. Nothing has been the same since.
Today's Weather Report: Lovely warm day, even if it was a little below zero again this morning. Not sure of the temp at this moment but the snow is melting here and there and dripping from the roof.