God has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I have wrestled with the nature of God for much of my life - curious about the relationship between an omnipotent/omniscient/benevolent character and the horrors that occur all the time. The miracle of what appears to be intelligent design, and how that intersects with my strong confidence in the amazing process of evolution. Curious about the personification of a higher power as opposed to a unifying energy that connects us to each other, to the natural world and beyond - while being aware that these two possibilities are not mutually exclusive. Curious about the nature of love and compassion; our role and responsibility in this finite lifetime - what comes after, and if it is relevant to the decisions we make here and now.
The essence of "faith" is to believe in something that can't be proven; to trust that something else - some power other than ourselves - is in control. It's a scary thing - to yield control and to admit vulnerability. The surrender required feels like taking a leap into a void ... faith implies a confidence that we will be lovingly embraced in the free fall, and that all will work out.
I'm certainly not a philosopher, and others have thought and written about these issues with far more depth and insight than I ever could. However, some concepts have gelled for me recently that I wanted to share.
Years ago, someone advised me that "nothing worth having was upstream." This abraded my sense of perseverance and ambition. Drive, accomplishment ... it seemed like in order to be successful and achieve anything of value, one MUST paddle upstream! I couldn't make sense of it. For years.
A friend recently suggested that paddling downstream still requires effort. The difference is that everything else is conspiring to propel you along.
My work this year engaging in the sponsorship for a family seeking refuge from Syria has felt like paddling downstream. It has required effort. It has taken time and brain power and compromise. But - with the exception of a few small rocks in the stream around which we've had to negotiate - everything seems to be conspiring to propel us along. The money flowed in; an apartment was offered to us free of rent; we have more contributions that we know what to do with; healthcare providers are offering their services; the community has come together to make this beautiful act of love and compassion a reality.
Is this God? Is this the higher power? Is the divine present in loving community, in many hands making light work? When we let go - launch ourselves into the stream and go with the flow ... perhaps God is there.
I'd be curious to hear your thoughts ... please share them with me.