Thursday, September 4, 2008

A lot of "IF"s

"Oh, God of Israel, you are one. God of light and God of darkness."

A few nights ago I watched the movie, And Then She Found Me. Ash and Ben watched it with me. I may get all the facts wrong, but the message I got is completely personal, so therefore, it's correct.

Helen Hunt plays the character of a woman named April who has been through a lot. Her husband left her, her job was stressful, her mother died, her birth-mother contacts and her and wants a relationship, but she's a loony liar. She has a good relationship with a new guy, then betrays him and feels awful. She wants children. She wants a lot of things. She is a Jew and the movie shows several Jewish rituals throughout.

She decides to undergo aritificial insimination. She is sitting on the hospital bed about to start, when her birth-mother says, almost giddily, "You wanna pray?" April says, "No". The mother doesn't give up but keeps prodding for the answer why at such an important time, the daughter doesn't want to pray. April says, "Well, at this point, I don't want to give the chance of my having a baby". The trust is gone. "I lost the faith", she says. She felt betrayed and let down by God. This part of the movie seemed all to familiar.

I am not hurting more than any other individual trying to find their place on planet earth. I have been blessed with many things in my life. I could have it so much worse, I realize that. Yet still, I feel like I have asked things from God, I've begged for answers, I've searched high and low, to find...nothing. Or atleast, not the something I wanted.

I haven't thought much recently about God the father. I am more often reminded of God the ruler of the universe, God the beginning and end, God the... whatever, but never very personal. It is God the father I feel I have always better understood. So what happened?

I am blessed with a wonderful dad, not everyone is. During my time in Cambodia, there were days and weeks and months that my parents wanted to bring me home, safe into their arms. They hurt with me, cried with me, and prayed for me. Never once did they say, "Heather, get your butt on the next plane, you're coming home!" They wanted to. Other people told them to, but they didn't. It wasn't their job to rescue me from pain anymore. It was their job to support me.

So, I'm reminded of the similar way in which God may be waiting for me to think this through, to figure things out on my own. He isn't playing superhero, because IF He did, what would that accomplish? Where is the free will, the choice to believe?

I can write this now because I'm not living in Cambodia.
I can write this now because I'm not so painfully lonely.
I can write this now becuase I feel better supported and safe.
I can write this now becuase I haven't purged in several weeks.
I can write this now because I'm comfortable.

So if, IF, God exists, if, IF He knows what he is doing, then; what am I supposed to be learning from all of this? If not, it would all be wasted on me. What have these experiences taught me and how will I be different as a result? How can I use the pain to grow and change?

IF God is a father of love, He doesn't want me to feel unsafe, lost, inadequate, not good enough, undateable, ugly, and worthless.

What IF I was as honest with God as I am with my friends? What IF I told Him I was angry and confused and frustrated? What IF I sat with the pain and frustration long enough to see that maybe God is as hurt and frustrated with my situation as I am?

The night we watched that movie, I couldn't sleep, the thoughts were taking over my mind. I made a list of a few more IFs I could add, as IF there aren't enough IF's already.

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't have to believe or agree with everything I'm told a Christian "should" believe in.

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't attend vespers, Sabbath school, church, potluck, the nursing home, and Sabbath vespers, all in 24 hours, to be considered spiritual. Have you ever looked up "spritual" in the dictionary?

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't have to sing every song. Those are prayers I'm not always comfortable saying to "look" alright.

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't have to help with every ministry, every opportunity to get involved. Most Sabbaths I'm left exhuasted. What happened to a day of rest?

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't use guilt to persuade people into doing things.

IF I were a Christian, I'd stop complaining about things "the church" does, especially if they are things I've never even witnessed first hand. There are a lot of frustrated young adults looking for someone to blame and "the church" is an easy one. What if we confronted that person or group and made a change?

IF I were a Christian, I'd do church a whole lot differently. What if we all showed up every week, in a small casual setting and sang and talked and were left inspired and motivated to change ourselves and our world, every week? What if everything wasn't scripted? What if there was no plan? Impromptu church, hmmmmm...

IF I were a Christian, I wouldn't have to go along with ideas or keep my mouth shut about what I feel. Honesty should be encouraged. I thought that was what made us human.

IF I were a Christian, these are the rules I'd keep. And IF those aren't options, then I don't want it.


Anonymous said...

The narrow way is, in many ways, broader than Christians make it. Jesus is radical.

Cherise said...

I can't say how much this mirrors my own feelings towards the whole Christianity and religion thing. If it is for real, then there has got to be a better way than this cut-and-dried bulletin-following churches. …Unless the purpose of churches are for those people who find comfort in tradition and monotony (there might actually be some!), and those of us who are disgusted by it are supposed to find other ways of communication with each other about spiritual ideas and the Force.