A friend has recently begun blogging, and I have read her words with joy and amazement. She has revealed aspects of herself that I never suspected because she is so quiet and reserved in person. She has inspired me to share some things that I have hesitated to share before.
First and foremost, I must say that I am a person of faith. I always hesitate to say “Christian” because of the implication of judgement. I do not expect anyone else to follow my same path to a relationship with God. Each of us must find him in his or her own way. The important thing is not how you get there, but that you make the journey. This puts me at odds with the Christianity of my upbringing and so I mostly keep it to myself.
Nonetheless, my road has included Jesus, and I highly recommend him as a companion. He has walked where we have walked in terms of the trials and tribulations of being human, and he understands. If you think God is some far away being who sits on a cloud and looks down on us in judgement, I must tell you that has not been my experience. He has been here, and he gets it.
I can hardly call what I have faith, because my belief is based on experience and completely unshakable. If you ask “How do I know with such confidence?”, that is a little too personal to share, but suffice it to say that you just as soon ask me if I believe in a tree, or a river, or my mother, or my sons. Yes, those things are real, and so is God.
I have suffered all my life with crippling depression. A “demon” grabs my heart and squeezes until I feel certain it will stop beating. That is one reason I so often go long periods without blogging.This is supposed to be a “respite” for readers, and inviting you into my darkness does not offer anyone rest. My joy and hope are also very real, however, and that is the part of myself I want to share.
Life is a wonderful adventure! Our physical existence is a tremendous gift that God has given us, because there are so many great joys that you can only experience with a body.
The fragrance of a gardenia or a stargazer lily, and the aroma of sauteed onions or baking bread can change the entire timbre of a difficult day. Music can move me to the point that I actually feel it in my skin and bones. The view from the top of the Dolomite mountains filled me with breath-taking awe at the magnificence of Creation. The taste of a Milky Way bar is an experience that requires sitting still and focusing on nothing else, and may I also recommend bananas and peanut butter with chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I do love to eat!
But of all of the experiences of physicality, certainly the greatest one is touch. When my babies squeezed my finger for the first time, when I rocked them and felt their little heads fall onto my arm while they slept, when I cupped their perfect little feet in my hand–well, there are no words. When I hug my husband’s warm body or hold his strong hand–there are no words. All I can say is–God is so very, very good.
Many people spend their entire lives trying to achieve removal from the body to a merely spiritual reality. That makes me sad. Anyone who has overcome a situation that they do not think they are strong enough to endure can tell you without a doubt that there is a spirit separate from the body, and that spirit exists beyond what we can see or hear or touch. With all eternity to live a spiritual life, it is a shame not to gather all we can from the physical one while we have it.
Sometimes–not often enough–I sit quietly and send away the worries and problems that threaten to overcome my ability to function. It’s okay. They’re not going far. They will be there to be shouldered yet again when I have restored my spirit. In those moments of solitude I know that God loves me. Even though he knows me fully, knows all of my secret thoughts and flaws that are not so lovable, he always loves me.
Whether you believe in him or not, he loves you too. Always has, always will.