Wrote this a year ago, time to reveal.
There have been times in all the writing done where thoughts became themes. This is one theme that sees no end at the moment. It has been quite the journey to understand clarity of your own position in the larger spheres of life, faith and the universe; most untimely for the days of understanding self in relation to the unstable world we know, and yet…
If anything has been learned on this 50+ year journey to find and relate to God, it is this: every individual is on an individual journey, a personal quest. We get lucky (or unfortunate) to share this quest with others – some we end up loving deeply and others we bristle at hoping they would never darken our door – and both are the happy happenings or the infernal interruptions that give me clues as to what I practice and preach.
Every one of us is in a position before the Maker of All. Vast statement! How many of us actually know – or have understanding – or can guess – that position is puzzling. Part of the answer to this question outside my own realm rests in observations.
The hardest matter for me to get my arms around is the relationship with God factor: hard to see but can be felt; full of answers provided in holy writings but loaded with questions that often reveal the mysterious and confusing condition of everything. Listening to people talk about that relationship – or lack thereof – has provided a massive array of attitudes. discussions and perceptions that show me how common we all are. From spiritual guru to puzzled waif there is very little separation of psyche, except one believes self has achieved status and enlightenment, and the other has been through immense wrangling of days to know little more than ‘maybe there is hope’. One life-shaking incident can make the most prepared and stoic rock-solid believer crumble to dust. One out-of-the-blue circumstance can make the poor befuddled waif relieved or even joyous to find hope has reality, and that outcomes have as much chance of being good as they do bad with a somewhat merciful twist: they don’t last forever.
Let’s get to define good and bad in terms of straight or crooked once more. Opposite theories often get lumped into extremes so as to give simple minds understanding by which to choose an appropriate path. Good and Bad are pretty standard conditions by which choices are seemingly obvious. Straight and Crooked are not at all obvious. Take for example, plants: some do actually grow upright with very little deviation, all thanks to being in open spaces for its natural tendency to shoot upward. Some however have obstacles in the growing path, and nature teaches that plant to bend, twist and reshape in order for its growth pattern to mature. Conclusion: if all our plants were upright, there would be no filler between the spaces; empty parts would be glaring. If all our shrubbery in front of our residences grew tall, they’d certainly obscure our view, which is why the ‘filler’ shrubs have a great feature in shaping around the parts needed to add their beauty and keep our view.
God created purpose for both. Nature is such a great teacher to the observant. It is ‘zen’, balance, proportion – harmonious intent.
Frighteningly, the disharmony surrounding and penetrating our world says so much about harmonious intent and the constant undermining of such peace, deliberately. It also reveals how far mankind is from observing nature and taking clues as to how restoration is always there for the taking.
Personally, the fright factor has been much less worrisome since discovering my ‘crooked’ nature in this world. My own striving to perform what is my obligation and duty is easier now thanks to years of evidence and outcomes that say my work at ‘filling in’ with purpose, love, understanding, direction, guidance and communication have a beneficial place. Fright has been conquered better by just being myself, and turning down the volume dramatically in the barrage of persuasive, hostile, agenda-mangling messages demanding my time, money and allegiance in surrender.
Hint: any demand is worthy of examination, and if it is one set up for your defeat, it is robbing you of your position.
Let’s hear the negative in twos:
- God is irrelevant. To those who believe a Creator has no relevance, I say you are surrendered to convention. You have allowed your position to be dictated and your compliant ways have subjected you to emptiness of soul. I know atheists and agnostics who delve frequently into spiritual paths to try to understand what the believer appears to know; they are not hostile to them or their message, nor are they ‘dead’ conventional drones.
- God is mean. We can all feel some sort of betrayal if things didn’t happen to our expectations; however, I remember that from the Supreme angle all things are easily viewable. No human has ever had that kind of vantage point; even from the high peak there are valleys obscured. Positional understanding becomes unclear thanks to agendas of self vs. the ‘whole picture’; it’s not about the straight or crooked, but is a stand-off that makes us think we are upright and God is very underhanded.
Now, examine the positives – again in twos:
- God is all about purpose. Here we can breathe a bit easier because a part of the inner person has grasped the elusive and mysterious with some time to ponder why, how, what happened and what meaning connects it all. I can relate to the ‘crooked’ because of my own history and the Scriptural writings that connect to my journey with much less criticism about failings. More often there is contentment and peace by virtue of having arrived, passed through situations, gaining insights and weighing where my own testing shows traceable results of tempered strength and stress fractures needing ‘attention’. It is because knowledge lent answers to my position and pursuit of the ‘straight’ perfection was finally seen as futile that purpose is crystal clear.
- God is enormous. Any great Creator who can present larger-than-life attributes earns the right to be recognized, but the Creator of All deserves the only place of reverence. In the inability to understand ‘enormous’ our position is being revealed simply by taking in the enormity.
The Straight and Crooked are elements of the vastness, a part that is important to the totality but only by virtue of its rightful place – nothing more. My connection to role and responsibility has developed a new mode: one foot in front of the other, following the path before me, not knowing all the pieces or even recognizing all the landscape as I pass by, but getting that the twists and turns of the journey are ‘filling in’ as intended. Crooked is doing his job just fine by knowing position and allowing it to move along as crooked is prescribed to do.
Our job in judging ourselves – examining the straight and crooked places – takes a turn for the better when Scripture is applied. The most glaring example of a ‘straight crooked’ journey was the emancipation of Jews from Egypt, the ‘Great Escape’ from Pharaoh of old. Straightaway legging it from the Nile, literally given passage through the Sea, Israel wandered in the desert ‘side-winding’ and stuck for two generations until purged of unbelief and mistrust of God. They did arrive to retake rightful possession, but only when they understood their straight path needed the arduous, repetitive side-winding of delay to ready them for return.
I could write several books on my own adventures that mirror this…in fact, these are some of the pages developing.