I once read a book which explained it this way; picture a puzzle, a mosaic really, with thousands of beautiful dizzying pieces fit together just so. That mosaic is you- and while it seems fixed in stone, in truth the puzzle is constantly changing- its colors lighting or dimming; the action scenes constantly changing. But then, like a game of Perfection, you die. The puzzle breaks out of its frame, pieces tumbling everywhere...until they reassemble themselves again in a new frame. It’s still you...only not. It's something, someone new. The older I get the more I begin to believe that this is the nature of God. With each experience, we create a new picture of a life, one solitary life out of the countless billions- but each one is real and a piece of God- our experiences dumping data into a heavenly database somewhere that will eventually reveal in all its glory what it means to be God and human. If God is anywhere, s/he is in us- in each of our experiences. S/he is accumulating knowledge about the human condition in the only way possible- by living it. And when we come to the end of time, perhaps we will have a clearer picture of our place in Existence and we will truly know God- because s/he is us.
I truly cannot believe in a God who doesn’t know us- experiences all of our pain, and the depths of our love, and yet chooses not to acknowledge us. I don’t believe that such a God exists. I believe that God is love to the uttermost- beyond human capability to encompass...but not to know. Humans know how to love... we just forget. And that too is part of being God- who cannot forget our experiences and pain...but we can, and we can then go on to re-discover love and joy, while leaving the weakness of pain behind. We are constantly learning about pain and about love- and how to overcome the one, and embrace more of the other. Perhaps we will really know the day when God is manifest in all of us only when we no longer fear pain, and by fearing it, attract it to us. One day, maybe we will be able to leave it utterly behind.
I believe that God has no expectations for me- only love - so why do I sometimes, still , feel unloved? Because I choose to. To forget that you are loved is a crippling weakness. But we do it all the time. It makes us feel weak, and insignificant and not responsible . It lessons one burden, while adding thousands of others. To be loved, is to know that you are in a relationship – and you must acknowledge the other parties who are involved. To feel unloved is the ultimate in selfishness, egotism- it means you can continue to believe that there is no one outside yourself, no one more important than yourself, no one you must sacrifice yourself for. But while this might spare you some hurt, you will still feel the sadness, guilt or responsibility of not caring for others.
It is hard for a human to not love something. It takes continual effort- because we are made to love..and to be loved. To paraphrase from the novel The Shack- a bird is a bird, whether on the ground or in the sky. Certainly, being grounded changes a bird’s perspective. But that doesn’t change the bird’s innate ability to fly. We have a purpose, whether we fulfill it or not. Environment doesn’t change the truth of a thing.
Intention is all and we were intended to love.
If we look to the God in every person, we will first see, always, a frail, tired, human being. And we will believe that we have failed to see God, and we will stop looking for God in others and in ourselves. But s/he is there, and that fragile human being is their true face- behind which hides a speck of eternity. It is a subtle shine; not blazing, but a glimmer. A gathering of distant lights, which seen from a great enough distance is a beacon in a dark universe, against which we were meant to shine. To look into a human heart is like looking into a hallway of mirrors- the human reflects God, who reflects the human and so on. As angry and confused a puzzle piece as I may be, I am still part of a whole- a piece of God, completing a masterpiece. And if I look deep enough into another human being, I can see myself, and ourselves and the beautiful picture we make together, if only through a mirror, darkly. And I can love them.
The ability to be loved is not unique to humans. The ability to give love is not what makes us special either. What makes humans unique? Not much- except the tendency to throw love away. While more can always be created, it makes that which already exists no less precious. If you would covet anything, covet love. It is the only thing you can covet that will not harm you in the long run. While I am small, I am precious, and I do not go unseen. If I am only one mote in a million in God’s eye- still, I am one in a million and I am known.
The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.
~Teresa of Avila
~Teresa of Avila
* Photo courtesy of the European Homepage for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
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