Wednesday, 01 June 2011
You can have all the happiness money can buy. You can have the love of a good spouse and wonderful children. You can have great friends who stand by your side, but if that's all you have there is something missing: God.
I tend to question most things. I thank my high school philosophy teacher for that. She taught me a very valuable lesson: don't just accept what someone tells you as truth, question it and make up your own mind about it. Search for truth. I remember a project she had us do -- where do you find God? Looking back at it most of my entries are what would be expected, nature, family, acts of kindness, etc. What surprised me about it was that I found God in loss. I think about that now and how very true it is. I find God most in loss and suffering. In grief and despair God holds us close...it's just up to us to let go and let Him in. Without pain and suffering we wouldn't know love and joy. Same concept as if we didn't have evil how would we know what is good? I believe God is accepting and forgiving, waiting for us to hit bottom to gather us in His protective embrace and bring us back to Him.
I went on a Christian retreat when I was in high school in preparation for being on my high school retreat team. Up until then I had been on a path -- not the right one or wrong one, but one that was lost and away from any and all paths. I was confused. I didn't know what I believed in or if there was even anything to believe in. Despite that, I had this weird and quite amazing desire to be on the retreat team, which was real bizarre -- How could I? I didn't know what I believed in, so how could I lead others to believe in God and trust in their faith. My friends laughed. I would never get picked, but I did. And on this summer retreat we were supposed to "let go and let God." I fought tooth and nail; let go of what? I had nothing to let go of. These people were crazy. I participated in the activities, but I still wasn't getting the bigger picture. The rest of the girls from my school that were there had already made friends with almost everyone, and there I was, the loner. I was different.
Then one night we did this activity where we mingled with people and this guy, who was very well liked in the group, came up to me out of nowhere and told me, "I see the beauty within you. I know you'll find the strength to let others see it too." He was not talking about my physical appearance. He was talking about my soul. As the members of my individual group came up to me and told me things like I was their angel and how much they loved me, something miraculous happened. I began letting go. The last day of retreat we had a secluded group prayer, where we could offer up prayers or discuss things on our mind. I broke down. Tears flowed freely. I sobbed over the pain I was feeling and let my heart open up. As my group members held me and cried with me I understood finally -- I let go. I set my soul free. I connected with those people on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.
It wasn't about who was wrong or right. It wasn't about what you should or should not believe in. It was about having a relationship with God. I still make mistakes and mess up quite a lot, but God gave us freewill to be able to make our own choices. He wants us on our own to find Him in ourselves. And what He is to me is nothing that can be found in any written or spoken story...He is an infinite source of energy of love, forgiveness, compassion that I have in my heart. He is the life that runs through me, the breath of life that fills my soul. That's why I try to look for the good in others. I'm looking for Him. And when I see Him in others I realize that's what makes them beautiful -- and I can only hope they can see the same beauty within me, a strength that says "I believe in God with my whole heart, what about you?"
Have you had a similar experience where you had to let go to let God in? Where or what do you see God in the most?