A spiritual director is a shrink for your spirit. I went to see one this weekend, and boy did I every need the help. As I mentioned in my other post Dazed and Confused, I’m not religious – far from it! I believe that there is a God, but don’t get the church thing, the bench aerobics and how Jesus and the Holy Spirit fit in.
Growing up, I went to church every Sunday (I felt not by choice), and would spend the long, gruesome hour day-dreaming. I figured, that since my thoughts weren’t visible, and nobody could possibly know what I was thinking, why not. It’s not that anyone could control what I was thinking, so why not do what I wanted to do mentally if physically I couldn’t. Once in a while I would get the urge to listen to what was being said in church. The gospel would be read, and I would find it interesting sometimes. Then the priest would ruin it by lecturing. I just didn’t understand his line of thinking. I am of the belief that God loves us, no matter what we do, but the message I would hear was one that was very punitive, demeaning and one of trying to instill fear in the church community. I would hear “you must do this or God will be angry at you!” Really? Come on people.
With time, I began to question if there was a God. I would look at all that happened in my life and think “why?”. I felt isolated, alone, unable to connect with anyone – especially God. I would think “would a loving God allow this to happen?” I know people who live by what the church tells them to do, and are fearful to stray and crappy things would still happen them. And so I would question that if there was a God, then why would these things happen? A few times I tried talking to God and very quickly realised that either I didn’t know how, or I felt too stupid do. I felt like a kid speaking to an imaginary person. How silly it would be to see someone talking to themselves. And half of the prayers I was taught in school, I didn’t understand, so what’s the point in praying if I didn’t know what was being said. I don’t want to give the impression that I stopped believing, because I didn’t. I just continued to ask the question “is there a God?”
So I found myself sitting in the rectory in an Anglican church (what is it with Anglican churches? The one I sat in last week was Anglican too), waiting for the priest. The next thing I know, I’m saying to him as he enters the room “if you’re going to preach to me about religion, tell me right now, because this way you won’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours.” He must have found amusement in my reaction, as he chuckled and I felt the heat just crawl up my neck and into my cheeks. Nice first impression, Smartie. Good one!
The Spiritual Director laughed and said that he won’t. He doesn’t care if I’m Catholic, Jewish or alien, and his only job is to help with the spirit. God is God no matter what denomination I belong to. And with that, I asked him “how do you know that God exists?” Well, apparently, there isn’t an easy answer. There weren’t easy answers to any of the questions I asked, so let me give you a run down of what I learned:
- God is everywhere, including inside of us. He is like energy. He doesn’t live in the clouds and look down on us.
- Just like with our children, we get upset with them, we continue loving them. Apparently God is the same with us
- Jesus is the manifestation of God in human form, so that we can relate to him and we don’t have to talk to an invisible entity (and feel silly doing it)
- The Holy Spirit is the love which flows between beings and things (how cool is that?)
- While in the midst of things, we may not see God, but when you look back, you can see where he was present eg. The man at the church appearing when I needed someone to talk to
- It’s really ok to be pissed off at God, and yell at him if you feel you need to
The last point I brushed off at first, but really hit home last night. Last night was a hard night. Ever hear of the term “the dark night of the soul?” Well, this could have been it for me last night, or perhaps a bit of it. I was in hysterics and continuously punching my pillow and yelling at God. At first I felt silly doing it and then it was as if the flood gates crashed opened. Out came all the angry I was hoarding inside. I really told him off. I used every swear word I knew, questioned all the things that I went through and really let him have it. I’m surprised that I wasn’t struck by lightning in the forehead. With what I was saying, I sure deserved it. But you want to know something? It felt friggin awesome yelling at God. Think about it, how often do you have the opportunity to yell at someone, really yell to the point where you’re blinded by your tears and your throat is raw from screaming, and they don’t try to argue back. They allow you to call them every horrible name imaginable and they don’t try to stop you. How often are you able to beat something to the point of exhaustion, and then you’re held in comfort afterwards?
I’ll be honest, when I finished yelling at God I didn’t really feel held right away, but when I finally fell asleep this morning, after hours of crying and yelling, there was a calmness around me. I think that maybe I needed to clean the air between us, between God and me. And quite frankly, it feels good that I can be on such a personal level with him. It is truly a relationship between father and child. If your child is angry at you and yells at you, calls you names, sure, you’ll be upset, but you will still support her, you won’t stop loving her. And I finally get it. That’s what it’s like with me and God…And he rocks.