A friend of mine from boarding school wrote this great blog post (you can read it here). She talks of the Easter service she went to, during which folks from the congregation walked to the front of the church with posters they’d made. On one side of the poster they had written a word describing who they once were or how they once lived, and on the other side was a word that conveyed who they are now or how they live now. One struck me as what I’d probably write. On the front of the poster, “Self-centered.” On the other side, “Compassionate.”
It doesn’t take a miraculous event to switch gears. I know. When I began my recovery, I remained self-centered. My sobriety was all I cared about, because I was afraid. I was scared that I would lose my child. I was scared that I would lose my job. I was scared that I would lose control. I was scared that I was going to die. Mostly I was terrified that this show I’d managed to put on over the past three years was going to shatter and everyone would know – they would know that I was an alcoholic and an addict and a selfish, shitty person. A bad mom. A liar.
Well now they know, because I’ve told them.
Somewhere along the way, maybe when I decided to get really honest with myself, my concern morphed into being less worried with the me, and more cognizant of the “other-than me.”
Clark Strand, a one-time Buddhist monk and a Christian, explains that the great war waged is not and has never been one between Good and Evil. Rather, the battle is one between self and Other Self. Is that Other Self what you call God? Sure, maybe. What you call it doesn’t much matter.
For a long time, for most of my life, what I called “God” was.. myself. I’d cry out to the universe and hear nothing. Do you do this? We make God in our image, not the reverse. I still can’t image God. I can’t begin to conceive of it. I wrestle with it still, but I’m a lot more comfortable in that uncertainty and with the back and forth. Belief and doubt, sometimes in the course of an hour.
I don’t know. There are no answers here, never have been. But when I can get beyond my self, That Thing I Call God gets into the cracks. Only when my heart and my mind were broken, when every idea I had about God was shattered–that’s when God appeared.
Here, have a goat.