by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove
If I am at present wobbly of faith, am I letting go of the assurance that I matter?
I Matter – I’m Part of the Significant Set
If we believe that:
a) a spark of God’s spirit is in us (God being the essential creative source in the Universe)
b) God loves every inch of his creation…
then we can imagine that we matter. We’re hooked into something so fundamental and important, along with everybody else who is part of the Family, that we’re not just a speck of nothingness. Our being here is meaningful because we’re part of the life force of the Universe. And we’re loved.
It’s a really good feeling.
Oops, I’m Really Insignificant
Ah. But. If we decide that a divine personal entity doesn’t make sense, we’re out of the only loop that matters. (Maybe). We’re left with being infinitely insignificant. Our puny reality – up against which we come periodically or regularly (tip of the hat to chronic existential depressives) – is quite painful. It may be too painful to permit the courage to go on. Afloat in the massive loneliness of space.
It can happen when I look in the bathroom mirror at night and realize all my ordinariness and remember I’m an organism just like billions of others, with a brain that runs me. And my time is running out – oh, that’s downer too.
Need to be Part of a Narrative
So one of these outlooks feels good and one feels awful.
Taking a step back, it’s clear that I like, I need, a narrative. I need to be part of a bigger story to keep the good feeling that my existence is part of something.
Fitting into God’s story has felt more than fine. Glorious at times. But increasingly, some of that story doesn’t feel fair or moral. Jezebel. Thrown to the dogs by God’s prophet for not giving up her faith. God – part of a system of power that I’ve rejected as being the antithesis of loving relationship.
Nonetheless, the best story around still tends to be the God story, especially when Jesus enters, where inclusive all-encompassing love triumphs, notwithstanding some misery along the way And where we have a part to play. We each matter in furthering the experiment Jesus leads us into: living love, beyond power.
[Problem! Was the sacrifice, is sacrifice, necessary to freedom and love? Oh – there’s another whole night’s musings.]
A Theory About the Need for Social Meaning
I believe that we need to know that we have some impact on our part of the world (that to which we relate). It can be positive or negative or both, with many different degrees on different days. But we help move God’s story along. There isn’t yet scientific evidence of that – of the significance of our individual energies on the body of the world — but I like it as a theory.
Another Problem with the No-God Version of Life
What about the negative impact on ourselves if we blow it and do something that we and our community consider ‘bad’. Hurtful to another. Something that puts us outside the comfortable norm. Without a forgiveness process – which I think exists only within religious communities – how do we find our way back in? Social meaning has to have some permeability – allowing some in and out. Jesus’s narrative allows for that.
Is There an Alternative to the God/No-God Positions?
If standing outside God’s story, is there a possible alternate one that can provide both social meaning and forgiveness ?
Some must live bravely, outside anyone else’s story, looking only to the people around them for a valid purpose. Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues maybe provide the story, with one’s own history being the narrative that matters.
Or do some embrace the aloneness, cherishing and able to protect their senses off having a significant self?
Diana, in her Comment on this blog of July 12th, spoke of tuning into some high frequency of the mind that she thought was perhaps the God realm. Maybe we’re simply here to get to that frequency of the universal, whenever and however we can Thus the appeal of mind-altering drugs for some.
It’s a very very inward reality if that’s the truth. Unless we all tune in together. Is that what communal prayer is?
A Private Note
Personally (really- what else is this blog but personal!) I’ve always longed toward that comforting light and warmth – what I learned to call God. I’ve felt companionship, comfort, challenge, urging, command, and in these last couple of years, clear direction.. I have thought of it as walking near Jesus.
Romantic longing Is that what it is?
Please, if you can, tell me of your personal sense of these matters. Does anything else matter as much?