Open Letter to God, September 2008, copyright Surface Earth
I have a quick update or two. Maybe a passing thought or three.
I need to ask you a few questions.
I am a practicing, or semi-practicing Roman Catholic. I love my Saints, I love Mary, I love Jesus, and I love that I can look at them, see them, sense them, live with them as I pray within the church. I do. I really like that, I call it the human quality.
In some of the churches I visit, I see Jesus hanging on the cross. Nails. And I shudder at the inhumanity and I wonder, did this occur, this manifestation, to remind us the consequences of judging, of daring to put our mind, our ego in the path of another life? Was it such a brutal picture for us to endure for centuries, not to make us suffer, but to make us remember, and do better? Didn’t Pointus Pilate almost make a good decision from his heart? But then he didn’t follow it, right? He listened to others.
Ok, I digress, but you know me, it’s my hallmark.
What I’m getting at God is you really could not have wanted us to judge one another right? Look down on those that choose or are born to a a different sexual path? Condemn those that need pro-choice? I can’t believe for an instant if you are the God I feel inside that is your desire. You can’t want that.
So where do we go? Technically, I guess that’s it, I showed my hand, I’m out of the church, but to be frank, it’s what I know, and believe me You, I have done tons of exploring, it’s just that, I like it there, but without the condemnation. I could probably google brotherly love a million times Lord, and I am almost positive, it will never come up with a hit to denigrate good hearted people who simply love the opposite sex of what we have been taught. I harp on this as a point of clarification, I could substitute in a million different examples, why not love Muslims? why not love Born Agains? Why not, why not? I come from a people that actually made others sit on the back of a bus because their skin was somehow darker than mine.
What sense does this make Lord?
I will always love You, honor You, and pray to you. I know, you do not ask of me what Society does, to put down others for the sake of an illusion.
Peace to you tonight God.
My Open Letter to God (Surface Earth: Copyright, 2006)
I’ve been thinking. I’ve been reading, I’ve been studying, I’ve been questioning, obsessive, unable to sleep, unable to breathe, unable to be, trying to figure you out.
I’ve come to a conclusion, you don’t need to be figured out, do you? (Should that be a capital, like we do for judges, You? Your Honor?)
I’ve run away from Catholicism, into which I was born and bred.
I’ve wandered into the lost land of religions I have never known, having never been born into other sects in other lives, at least not that I remember.
I appreciated the old traditions of Catholicism, but could not understand its limitations. I moved to Buddhism thinking it was the furthest from anything I ever knew. I did not understand a word and felt as if an imposter, because instead of understanding the wisdom and inherent intellect of the Dalai Lama, a man who compelled me to want to hang his photograph on my walls for the mere wattage of his smile, I was only able to grasp, again and again, on the words, “loving kindness”.
I moved on to Kabbalah eventually, but first stepped back again into Catholicism. The virtual problem always encountered was my feeling of unworthiness. It did not matter that the pews were lined with hypocrites, thieves, corporate marauders, I only felt and saw my own infirmities, the girl who dared to stray from the righteous path. Oh, how little I yet was to know of Catholicism. Yet, there I went again, backing out the door, as the priest called us to disavow our sisters and brothers who were homosexuals, engaged in love without marriage, divorced or were faced with the soul wrenching choice of abortion. Jesus could not have cared, he could not have saved by condemnation.
I tiptoed into Kabbalah, drawn to the promise of mysticism. I learned to apply everyday behavioral modification techniques to teach myself not to judge. I wavered and stammered and tap danced around that one. Well what is judgment I want to know? When does it begin and when is it justified? Never was the response. Never, how could that be? Where would all of my righteous indignation go? Patience prevailed on my mentor and he kept at the same lesson, anger is dangerous and judgment is unnecessary, again and again. I was a slow learner, I had been through some less than fair situations in life, I wanted to place rightful anger somewhere, if only in my head. I don’t know what got me first, the idea of a vast nothingness of light which scared me and threatened my individuality, my someday to be discarded ego. I was too new to development, I did not understand that they had a point, I did not need my ego. I did learn though the tenants of fostering goodness to one another, daily, moment by moment without hesitation and without end.
I began to grasp the concept of oneness but felt diminished by my inability to truly grow. Was it because it had sprung from a different religious and cultural background and I felt the roots and the language without truly comprehending the origin? Had I fallen prey to negative media? No, in retrospect, my lack of knowledge made me feel smaller and smaller, highlighting my mental and spiritual infirmities, giving power to the bully, “you kidding me? You really believe that garbage? Look around you, there is no God.”
My ego’s need to be sane and rational and respected took over my gut and soul instincts. Was I simply not ready, not strong enough to consider myself part of the collective consciousness? I was humbled in the presence of the mere voice of Kabbalah, all forgiving, all knowing and without judgment. I was not yet strong enough.
I returned to Catholicism and loved the familiarity, the things I had grown with, knowing where to sit in the hard pews, sometimes even knowing the right time to kneel. I no longer worried about whether I genuflected at the right or wrong time, at the right or wrong angle, I simply let my heart bow to God, allowing my feelings of non-partisan spirituality and love of God to take over, feelings of grace, my heart simply lead my knee to bend in gratitude.
Trying on clothes in a dressing room with only one door in and out, faced with Fun House mirrors at three walls, disorientation had overcome me.
I began to read Sylvia Brown and bless that woman, my bones tell me she is the real thing. I began to learn that I could apply Kabbalah principles with Christian traditions I had come to love. The more I read and read and read, the more I saw and felt and lived the repetition of the common theme of love. To have love, is to erase the need for all other needs.
The underlying problem in trying out different religions is choosing to give up that which you have known. If I embraced Kabbalah, would I have to shrug off the mantle of the Virgin Mary and Jesus? I couldn’t, no matter how vast the picture and sensation of infinite light, Jesus’ face remained. And Mary, Azna, Mother God, she lived within breath. I know she is real, please don’t ask me how. I don’t care for statistics and sightings and tests and visualizations. Well, sure maybe I do, my point is simply, that I feel her.
I have gone into spiritual demise. I have watched and read about the Lost Gospel of Judas. Of course! Jesus is all knowing. He knew what Judas was or wasn’t, small surprise that we do not; rest assured, we will continue for monetary, economic, political, social, cultural or any other myriad of reasons to insist on the one interpretation of Jesus. For Pete’s sake, we can’t even remember our own dreams or what we ate for breakfast. Was Judas bad? Nah. Of course not. Why would Jesus choose him to carry out his fate? Did he tell Jesus, “thy will be done”? Jesus could not be tricked or betrayed, that is simply beneath him.
I have invited my arch angels and my spirit guides to come into our home when one of our daughters was facing inexplainable fatigue and headaches. Lights went on an off at different times in our home, certainly not in keeping with a power surge. The television surged and pulsed and practically danced. I asked them kindly to please enter more slowly in a way that would stop scaring me half to death as it wasn’t my time yet. I think they agreed. They are more subtle these last few days. Leaves that blow around the sidewalk out of nowhere, making a staccato beat, drawing my attention and then bowing and dancing. Pure artistry.
There are those that have contributed to the falsity of faith healing. It is unknown why people are compelled. I don’t question the participants that are impoverished, that perhaps received a sandwich, a promise of a bag of rice, a moment of peace before infidels or legitimate governments invaded their families, but how about the one that orchestrates it? Are they any different than a politician? A lawyer? A doctor that has lost heart? A teacher who does not teach? A parent who does not love?
Your truth echoes in the most simple of ways, the warmth that radiates though my bones causing my hands to become upturned to receive grace. It is that simple.
I have no problem, any longer, I can’t say that was always true, but I have no problem any longer not blaming you for what happens to us Lord. False persecution, so what? I should be insulted? We do it to each other everyday. “She cut me off, what a horrible person.” How do I know she was not rushing to the hospital to see a relative who unexpectedly encountered medical emergency? Is there truly any difference? Either one is character assignation and judgment without proof.
Am I religious?
I don’t know.
Do I believe in you?
I believe in You/you, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Mary. I believe there are saints. I believe there are angels. I believe there is evil, that sometimes there can be no other rational explanation, but I believe evil is our inability to discover our souls.
The sickness of the false messiahs brings bad publicity to you, to Jesus.
There are miracles, there are the unexplainable moments and times that are pure miracles, leaps of faith. Why do people claim that power when its only source has ever been and could only be you? Didn’t you tell us everything is there for our taking, we must only see? Electricity was discovered, not invented, right God?
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t know anymore than the next person, but I hold certain things to be true. If you say one thing and do another you are hypocritical. If you are aware of it and don’t own up to it, you are a coward. If you gossip, you cause bad air to fly and it will come back to you, and yes, the smallest utterances are gossip. If you speak to satisfy your ego, you will receive less than you desired because you have already lost your state of grace.
How do we sit together in loving Christian kindness and denounce “others”, who, more often than not, are closer to God whether they believe in him or not, simply in acts of kindness and their reliability of spirit?
God, I’m back, I don’t know if I am just chatter in your head or if my voice sings with others.
A bluebird landed in my tree.
He sat high above the purple flowers
Which grew and grew
Although I didn’t even know their name
It did not stop the trees or the flowers from growing
A tulip grew out from behind the
Red dirty rock
Next to the untended cement sidewalk
And a tulip sought to make its presence known
Next to the bend
Of that same untended sidewalk
I tried to unearth it with a shovel
Before the purple of the tulip
The ground would not give
The trees are spreading
Their limbs across the gray
Of today’s sky
Purple, red and pink strewn together
They will not last the storm
Yet they have never been
Than set against the
Mist and the closed sky
“Oh My God”
Not in praise
But in exasperation with my
Confused new to almost middle age ways
I continued breathing
I saw on television
An almost tall white man
You did not star in that show
I held an egg today
To take out the yolk
Because I can’t bear to eat
Someone else’s young
Who was the first to know
That to take the egg from the mother
Would give complete protein
And not kill her
The egg was not an egg
When South Dakota says it is?
In your infinite wisdom
Did you leave us a travel guide?
The best spots
The best words
The best reactions?
Were they rated in stars?
Have you had overzealous editors so now
Your words are no longer yours?
Thoughts on living
I pray today,
Because of you.
Today I missed Mass God.
I awoke at 8:30 a.m. – quite late for me on a Sunday morning. I wanted to go to mass. I felt quite desolate that it had been two weeks since. I awoke as the rest of the house slept, ran out for the Sunday papers, stole a moment to read and drink coffee and left my beautiful family asleep.
I arrived at church and saw next to no cars. The people I saw look accomplished upon leaving. Wait, wait, I thought, I am unfinished, I have just arrived.
I hurried in the door, stopping to glance at the greeting table, a lovely polished wood that seemed to hold all I would need to know to be a practicing Catholic in this town.
The lovely newness of this church, the beginning of the mass, to walk though this room of grace and openness and splendor with just one table with papers, and newsletters and charts upon which to fill your name—if you are lost, we can find you, it seemed to say. So I believed.
I walked to that table, because I had seen it before.
I was no longer worried if I dipped my hand too soon into the Holy water, if I genuflected before I should or at the wrong angle, and that thing everyone seemed to know how to do in their sleep, that three point wonder, the thumb dancing across their forehead, their middle face and their heart? I no longer worried if I did it right. “Peace be with you.” “And also with you,” I said from my heart, with my hands turned up to God with arms outstretched.
I still did wonder sometimes though how I was never taught that three point wonder. How could I have missed it all of those years? Sure, I didn’t go to parochial school daily but I attended Catechism classes, I took the nuns seriously even as I walked along the rock wall outside of St. Anthony’s afraid they would see me, the sinners’ child, the divorced one.
How could it be, all those Saturday evenings at St. Brendan’s, mandatory Saturday evening mass with dinner at Howard Johnson’s afterward, my grandfather singing Louis Armstrong so I didn’t know where the jukebox began and his voice ended? My grandmother daring to order dessert after picking through cottage cheese and fruit for dinner, taking 45 minutes longer than the rest of us to finish her meal? My brother and I climbing in and out and over and under the table, and my grandmother sitting there, unperturbed, seeing only her little world. How could that be?
Because we see what we see Lord,
What we choose to see.
None of us are right or wrong.
I simply went to Mass to tune in to you.
Did you know I started to go to healing masses? Yes, I felt much like my debacle mass after mass with the three point gesture and became further indignant that no one ever taught me how to pray the rosary. Thank you for letting us discover the Internet, where I looked for remedial Catholicism courses.
Yes. I went to healing masses. Yes, I watched the news. I know the media was not supporting miracles, but listen, I saw them for myself, ok? The sweet surrender to the Holy Spirit, coming back from the ground lying prone, the flood of tears after a blessing, the tears uncontrollable for ten or fifteen minutes. Did you know Lord, it was only after the Mass that I learned of Padre Pio and the flood of tears? All the priest said to me is “let you be flooded with happiness”, and I cried and cried, my right arm shaking, unable to wipe away or stop the tears. I knew then Lord, I knew to stop fighting the miracle of you, despite the fact of not being surrounded by anyone who believes. The more I thought God, the more I knew, I never should have needed the flood of tears, I should have just seen the less than loving actions of my contemporaries to know there must be something higher.
I still missed mass that day Lord and have not returned regularly since then because you live in me, I don’t mind joining in, but I won’t condemn in prayer. Did you make me forget to turn the clocks?
I woke up flat God.
I woke up uneven.
Doesn’t make sense does it? How can I be flat and uneven at the same time? Did you know it was heresy to state that the world was round? That’s what we are when we are even, Lord, we are round, circular, without beginning or end.
Today I stayed quiet through my flatness. I didn’t take it out on anyone. It was a big day for me.
Did you ever jam to music? Let your arms fly about and get lost and by getting lost get found? I know, they say you are Light. They say you are all encompassing and can be nothing and everything at once, but by being everything you also become nothing as we know it.
I think though Lord, that you might be dancing, your face turned toward the light, and not just only the light itself. I hope I get no hate mail from saying this, but I believe you sing and dance, and I think your voice might be slightly off-key.
My mind shifted to the right
At first I thought
That I was lightheaded
Sugar balance off
I blended with the air
There was no distinction
Not gray against white against green
Not blue against the yellow of the sun
My mind shifted to the right
I felt the quiet pleasure of
Pushing that space away
I wondered and worried
Not knowing what it meant
I stood there n the kitchen
The coolness of the counter against my hand
My mind shifted to the right
If I smelled the lilac
In the hall
And no one was there
Would I be wrong?
If I dreamed of a big open book
With golden edging
A dove flying from its middle
Tendrils of ivy from its beak
Would I be wrong?
Good evening God.
I feel like sometimes I need a sabbatical from my brain. I don’t feel that way right now, well, not entirely, but I would like a sabbatical for the blocks I have put in my mind that keep me from seeing how to grow.
How to devote my life to writing, creativity, art, the continued search and study of spirituality, gardening, playing with the kids, quiet meals with my family, simply loving my husband.
It’s as if I spent this earthly life with a purpose of building fences to keep myself from expanding from my soul. And on top of that choose to be a litigation attorney, joke is on me, right?
I live in the abyss of heavens
In the valleys on earth
Striving for the moments
I sit in a crowd
Of those who judge and ferment
And never do I hear the word “God”
I scratch my head and wonder
Why I don’t have the answers
When I was raised to have the answers
Was to be defenseless
I scratch upon the table
To tell me
Who is cheating whom
Because there is no sense in frowning
Jesus loved all
Who am I
To love less?
Asking for a sign
Receiving one after another
I share and am met with disbelief
M grandfather standing in the parking lot
Of the local foodstore
Watching me pull out of my parking space
But waiting first
To make sure
The elderly couple next to me
He stood there
I thought scowling at first
Preconceiving me to be
A young whippersnapper
He pushed down his cap
Hooked his index finger
To his thumb
It’s ok, kiddo
Ten years gone from this earth
Letting him go.
I have tried
To take care of those
He left behind
I have, haven’t I?
Haven’t I tried?
Didn’t I try
Can you read me?
Why don’t I talk to you? Wouldn’t it make more sense? Why do I send you a letter? Am I really that worried that too many others are begging at the same time?
We humans are like ants scurrying for the hills, knowing the big human feet are above us and can stamp us out for no reason at all, but continuing our predictable patterns to the end.
Where do we begin and end Lord?
Is it with the talking animals? Do we save those we respect and slaughter the others? Even if that means expanding the definition of our fellow brothers and sister?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it, no one has given us the text book of the earth, and if they have, we’ve borrowed and copied and altered and destroyed and have left only those pages that suit us.
How can I sit in my lush home on a Sunday morning and see a young girl in Dafur, a photograph in time spread against my kitchen table, of a young girl raped? How can I possibly go on with my day when a child, only one, has been shot in the foot by those same rapists, tattooing her for the fate ahead? How can I possibly bear my own privileged existence?
There must be answers somewhere. I’m simply not clever or learned enough to find them, but I know they are here.
All my life, all I have ever wanted to do is write, primarily, to get people to understand humanity, that we are all one. That there is no beginning and no end and what you do to my brother or sister, you do to me. Lines of politics, sex, national origin, religion, are simply just excuses for us not to help one another.
Did you know this is my land Lord? The land stolen is now ours? The one they want to build walls around so starving children can remain starving? Who is wrong Lord? Us or them? Or me for even fashioning a question that includes an us and them?
Can I ever wirte Lord without worrying that what I write is not worthy? Or what I write will not be misconstrued, pulled into something that was never intended? A plaything for my unintended audience? Do I dare to be silent the rest of the years You have given me here? Is that my lesson? To shut up and be quiet and hide in the face of so much atrocity? To suffer it, a self inflicted martyr? Or a willing accomplice?
Many of the ones who seek to do justice in this world dispense judgment, right or wrong, without regard to the injustice they hand out, is that right Lord? Does one balance the other? I know it doesn’t but I watch the news and no one cares, even me, as I stop at the food store stocking up for my family and my family alone.
At any rate Lord, you know me, right down to the center of my soul, far removed from my heart, lower, deeper, higher, more shallow, everywhere and nowhere. Simply almost undetectable here on earth-you know what I’m about. You know I’d love more guidance, a simple how-to book to make the world better, but heck, I’m 39, in earthly standards, I’ve been waiting awhile and it’s not here. Help me Lord. Just give me a list. Tell me how to stop the hurting.
God is here. God is here. God is here.
Allow him to use you.
Without those words, myself and many like me would be lost. How do you meander through a day? How do you forget the grace of each miracle that gives you a day?
God has spoken and he has said that you should love and show forgiving kindness.
This same statement echoes throughout the majority of all religions, why then, are we so lost? What is there to figure out? Forgive and forget. Continue to love. Leave anger at the door. It never means that we go back for more abuse, nor does it mean that we gossip or cause harm to others, no matter what they may have done to us. We move on, in loving kindness.
Has there been a moment when you have simply shaken your head? Forgotten where you are in the script, where the director left off and the actors took over? I doubt that. Free will. Really, just two words, but oh so powerful. They give us both ownership and liability, the two never to be divorced.
I have seen you and felt you, both in the moments when people watch and what they don’t. As cool as it is Lord to say I love you, people still look askance and wonder if someone loving Jesus is just a freak who doesn’t have a job.
Can you help us?
Hi God. I woke up again today. It’s a lovely day. Thank you.
PS: I invite you all to visit our commercial site, http://SurfaceEarth.com , where we share our space on the web with creative thinkers across the surface of the earth.