Saturday, November 17, 2007

God on the Bus

My daughter told me that God spoke to her on the school bus today. He asked her how she was doing, and told her she should try harder in school so she could help the animals. I am not sure what to make of this. The fish in her aquarium keep dying, and we keep talking about death and God. She's asked a lot lately about God, and I guess I've told her about how I feel connected to God--that prayer is about seeking guidance, and that God can respond to us in multiple ways. That if you listen carefully, you'll hear what he's trying to tell you.

It seemed like something I should take seriously, so I did.

I often feel awkward living in a very secular world and having very liberal and progressive views, as well as valuing intellectual endeavor, scientific inquiry, and personal independence--all at the same time having a relatively strong faith compared to many people around me. Religious belief, particularly Christian belief, is so associated with the far right and persons who appear to have never read the gospels, nor to even understand Christian practice or compassion.

I've had people ask me what it means or feels like to have faith in God, and found it difficult to answer in terms I thought they could understand. For me, it's a felt thing. It's interior. Some of it is like letting go of self, some of it is like transmitting self toward something larger. It is not the absence of self, or the complete absorption of self into some larger organism.

Sometimes faith feels like a wellspring similar to that I draw on for writing poetry. That is, it's interior, a chaotic place in which a sort of creation or re-creation happens, where things are sorted out into their true likenesses and appearances, where sense comes of something felt or understood or heard. The nonsensical wends its way toward sense, not necessarily a darkness toward light trope, something different. It's the difference between the world of experience and that of existence. World upon overlapping world. Lives that fragment and joint with another mode of being.

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