THE WANDERING, WAYWARD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR, OF SORTS

I keep talking about and focusing on how long it had been since I sat proper and did a bible study in my trusty Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation). Perhaps I am trying to level myself lest my head get too big (which is ridiculous). Or perhaps I am attempting to differentiate myself from others that I deem more godly than I (which is also ridiculous). Either way and for whatever reason, it is something that I do.

I focus on the time I spent separated from the bible version of God’s word and the pursuit of Him in a Christian sense. Which means I ignore all the other ways I’ve found God these past two and a half years in the pursuit of a meditation practice, yoga, healing herbs and teas, the energy in a beautiful crystal, good food and wine, hiking in nature, and the study of the religiously-neutral, spiritual, indescribable yet palpable energy that connects every and any thing.

In those two and a half years, I became a member of the People’s Church of Necessity, a phrase I use to represent God’s uncanny way of placing you in situations that seem so. wrong. amongst people that are too. different. (read: hedonists and nihilists and heathens) in order to heal you. Through the healing, God is dismantling your ego* brick by brick until all you see around you is rubble. Then slowly but surely, God shines Its light upon one brick at a time and you find yourself elbows deep in the dirt building and building. And one day, the rubble is gone and around you is a beautiful Home to dance, sing, play, and rejoice in.

* It is the ego that keeps us separate from God and others. Because it is the ego that drives our desire to be a Special Snowflake and the ego that drives our fear that we are Too Much/Alone/Different/Weird/Needy/etc.

I also came to understand how insignificant our human concept of time is to God. In Psalm 90:4 we read, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” A thousand years is a day. Can you imagine? I sure can’t. And that’s exactly why I take upon my heart the largely inaccurate persona of the Wandering, Wayward Daughter.

When I read or hear the Word—in any text or conversation which was inspired by Divinity— and it rings as Truth, I see my thoughts for what they are: a (needless, unnecessary, ungodly) shame cycle meant to feed my ego and keep me separate from God.

But when I read Psalm 107:2, “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!,” I am reminded of all my conversations with the heathens and nihilists and hedonists in which I would start clapping like a giddy child while pouring out Truth after Truth after Truth of our Grand and Loving Creator of the Universe.

And when I read Jeremiah 31:12, “They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts,” I am reminded of all the times I left yoga, glowing in said radiance, with a desire to only eat foods that would nourish me, and have conversations that uplifted others, and be kind and gracious to my neighbors.

And even when I read, “Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind. […] Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, Jesus called it Heaven, and the Toltecs call it a New Dream,” in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I smile knowingly because I know that the God of Everything is, and has always been, in everything that truthfully brings us closer to Joy. No matter what you call it.

And just like that, the shame cycle is finished.

THE CREATORS

God is the presence of power inside all people that gives the ability to make the impossible happen.

It is not outside of us, orbiting around in the sky. It is within and around.

We can move mountains and manifest our dreams and heal our bodies. But it is skepticism that keeps us cut off from this power.

You, we, are meant to design our own lives. We are not but spectators or passive participants.

We are creators.

MALNOURISHED

I recently read something that attempted to define what it means to be a “Christian.” In so many words, the author said it boiled down to this: Life is cyclical and even though we may not understand why things happen, Christians need to have faith in God and just trust all that he is doing.

I don’t know about this author’s other readers, but I am not content sitting back watching terrible, incomprehensible things transpire and forcing myself to rely on “faith” so that I can reconcile still loving and trusting God. Moses did not do that. Neither did Abraham or Jacob. They understood that God does not need our defense because He is not vulnerable nor does He suffer as human beings do. He is eternal. But humans are defenseless in the sense that we ache and die. We cannot exist without support and love. And it is for that reason that we are “charged with the pursuit of love and justice, even if it means sparring with the Creator” (The Modern Guide to Judaism, Shmuley Boteach).

Upon witnessing life’s various atrocities, we should not ask God to help us understand why it has happened and how it fits into His plan. Instead, we should respectfully ask Him, “Why are you allowing this to happen? What in the world is going on?! Are you not the God who taught us that life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs? Were they not Your words when You uttered that the good deserve goodness and not pain? Where is that promise now? Considering everything You deem sacred, this needs to cease.”

While “reminding” the Creator of His character may seem to call His divine authority into question, rest assured it does not. Remaining passive in the face of suffering is a sin, a crime against the heart of both your fellow man and your Creator (Boteach). Those that profess love for God should pray out of a place of knowing. His profound goodness and justness offers assurance that it may be possible for His desired end to be actualized through less painful means. His will shall be done, but that does not stop us from seeking a change in means.

As Creator of the universe, it is God’s role to steer the world in the manner He sees fit. But our role as humans, as His creation, is to promote the values He has deemed superior: life, compassion, goodness, and hope (Boteach). We should not kick up our heels and accept this world as it stands. “Such is life” should not be a term thrown around dismissively. Instead, we should pursue a return to Eden: a world of virtue, value, and visions of God’s holy light over every thing.

God is not unjust, unkind or unloving. But there are so many of His children in the world wandering aimlessly because they hear such awful messages of passivity. They hear God’s “believers” insisting that this suffering is deserved and is the result of sin or the more dismissive “everything happens for a reason.” But in the face of despair, those are the last words that a hurting heart needs to hear.

We should instead grab our neighbor’s hand and say, “I am not okay with this. My heart aches with you. And right now in front of you, I am going to protest this.”

ON PENS AND BLANK PAGES AND NONSENSICAL MUSINGS

Inspiration is a funny thing.

I often feel without it for days, weeks, months even. I can’t seem to articulate my thoughts into concise, sassy, witty blog posts. I can’t journal because I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to put in it. And nothing is worse than that.

It threatens to drive me to insanity.

I find myself in this place where I can’t formulate one creative thought. Where I can’t think, or breathe, or do anything with fire. With passion. With oh, I don’t know, joie de vivre.

And then I see the beautiful way a light, cotton curtain waves back and forth in a cool breeze and I dream of beautiful dresses and lunching in Paris.

And I see a little child and her daddy playing on the swings and I pray that one day, I’m blessed enough to bless a man with a daughter to play with outside.

And I feel love for a stranger because my God loves them. And I find new meaning in old lyrics and familiar melodies because of the Spirit that resides in my heart.

And I see flowers, and I hear songs, and I smell freshly baked bread. And bridges over water and bright lights over cities. And how it feels, smells, looks, to be young. And I feel overcome by this overwhelming desire to live. Truly, fully, passionately.

And then I realize, this is inspiration. This is creative thought. This is life, this is love, this is experience, and this is energy.

These feelings, these notions, these stumblings, these musings, these ramblings, are what make life, life. Equally creative in method yet common in occurrence, these struggles, these conflicts, this emptiness, this overflowing fullness. The juxtaposition and contrast, and the complements and compliments.

All of it, every single bit, beautiful, inspiring, life giving, and creative.

There is inspiration in everything because a divine Creator inspired everything. He blesses me with brilliant thoughts, even when I don’t have a pen handy. He shows me miraculous pictures, even when I don’t have a camera to capture them. He breathed in me life and shows me how to feel it, use it, live it, love it, give it, share it, and desire it, in and through and between these patterns of emptiness and fullness.

Laughter is inspired. Smiles are creative. Love is flowers and songs and freshly baked bread; daughters and daddies and days outside; bible verses and worship songs and questioning everything; tripping and stumbling and leaping and jumping.

Life is inspiration. Life is creative. And complicated, quizzical, nonsensical, lovely, and maddening. Interesting, dull, bleak, somber, jazzed, sequined and glamorous. Jumbled, mixed, and seamlessly perfectly imperfect.

RIDDLES

I am a bit of an oddball. I am currently sitting perched upon my bed (I should be outside), wearing half-calf grandpa socks and my glasses as a headband. I have accepted the fact that I will always be eccentric of sorts, that is just who I am I guess. But, that ideation isn’t enough for me. I want a definition, a concrete idea to rest my head upon. I want a digestible phrase or two to sum everything up.

But, the trouble lies in the fact that I am constantly shifting what defines me – my outward appearances and outward perceptions. I am never satisfied with any conclusion; I am always searching.

Even when I believe I have stumbled upon an answer, or two, I keep digging. I keep looking, prying, experimenting, and exploring. I am always searching.

I am not sure that I will ever be content with what I find. Or, that I will ever really find anything at all. While it is true that all of my questions lead to answers, those answers then lead to more questions, and those questions lead to frustrations.

At which point, I throw my hands up in the air discouraged that all my life ever will be is a series of questions.

I am a researcher, a philosopher of sorts. But perhaps a more appropriate way to phrase that would be, a perpetually discontented over-thinker. I am constantly in a state of flux, changing my mind, changing my self. Voicing all of those opinions so firmly and feverishly only to change again the next day, hour or even minute.

There are never answers with me, but I always want them.