Sunday, June 23, 2013

God Is?

"God is in control of everything." She's standing just inches from my face and her face radiates joy. I tell her that that is of no comfort to me.

She tells me surely it must be a comfort! I reply that maybe one day but not now. I can't even begin to tell her why it is of no comfort. I've opened myself up to so much already just by disagreeing with her. She turns to the woman beside me and they talk about other things that they also are so sure of when it comes to God. I decide to look at my feet because I don't want to give any indication that I am in agreement. It also helps me keep my mouth shut tight. Conversations like this make me want to scream.

I've made it through the evening in the company of many people we used to go to church with before we became Catholic. A church that held a Sunday School class on cults after we left and included in that teaching was Catholicism. That makes me want to scream, too.

It's a wonder I was honest with this woman. She's probably forgotten the Sunday, when I was still trying to go to both churches in an effort to support my sons whose friends were all there, when she remarked to someone while right in front of me that what could ever be wrong with the gospel that I'd have to go 'there' to church. It's a reminder to me that what I see and the conclusions I come to are just that. My conclusions. Not the truth. But man, it stung.

She had stood just inches from me telling me who God is at a celebration of mutual friends' reaching milestone birthdays. I'd looked forward to the evening, to good visiting. Despite our veering off in a different direction and the misunderstanding of those we used to fellowship with, I still can visit about a myriad of other things and enjoy myself a lot. They are good and decent people. They mean well. Generations of belief that Catholicism is not only downright wrong but perhaps evil cannot be changed in one conversation. I have reminded myself more times than I can count that my only recourse over the years is to live out my belief. And I'm aware, more these past 8 months than ever, how poorly I do that.

There are many things I do cherish about my time amongst these people. They loved me when I was a brand new Christian and forgave me for much spoken out of turn and in mockery and bluntness. They watched me grow and cheered me on. They were long suffering and extended grace upon grace. Which is perhaps why it bothered me so much to be judged when I became Catholic because it was as if they had to forget all they knew about me because my choice made no sense to them. No doubt, no doubt, I do that, too.

I'd told God on the way to the party that perhaps I was done being mad at Him and would go to church on Sunday. I haven't been to Mass in a very, very long time. Why? Because there is no getting around God when presented with the Eucharist. Opening myself up to It renders me completely vulnerable. Several months ago I  told God, ' sorry I can't open myself up to you right now because if I do I am going to start sobbing and won't be able to stop.'  You know, that snot inducing ugly crying? There's no place to hide that level of emotion in our little church in the boondocks when there are only 10 other people present. In the past long while I've guarded myself every time I've been lector at Mass, unwilling to be undone by reading Scripture in front of anyone.

My plan for today is to go to Mass really early. Our little church in the boondocks has a key we all have access to. I will sit in its cool interior on this hot summer day and have a heart to heart with the God of my understanding. Who, if He is in control of everything, sure fucked a lot of things up.


Robin said...

I pastor in a community in which many people share those certainties. They are offended, hurt, and disoriented when I suggest other possibilities. I have no idea wherein the comfort lies, but I have learned that people often prefer limitation to expansiveness and certainty to joy.

Beth said...

Your raw honesty makes me so grateful, in so many ways.

Thank you, again and again, for your truth-telling.

Daisy said...

Pat answers and platitudes are hard to swallow with a smile even at the best of times. It's even harder when things are so incredibly raw.