February 18, 2009

My Unbelief

Forgive my unbelief. I know that the reasons for believing or disbelieving in God are almost as varied as all those who pose the question. This is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of the most important of all possible questions. Below are just a few of the myriad ways I see and feel the presence of the Eternal and His energy in my life.

As an example. I was doing laundry earlier this week and folded a big pile of towels and left them on the bed. My wife at the end of the day when she is tired will set the towels aside and they’ll be put away later. Well I found myself deliberately leaving them there (I could just as easily have put them away) for her to move so I could have one more grudge to hold against her. This flash of insight floored me. Am I really that kind of guy? That kind of husband? Was my old traveling companion Mr. Passive Aggression back in town? I was ashamed of myself for setting up my beloved wife this way.

What was the spark of my insight? Certainly knowing myself better as the years go by may partially explain it. But it was in reality the energy of our Father there shoring up my feeble attempts to love in all things, to lift another’s burden, to show the love He shows to me. It is through these moments when despite my fallen nature I step up and do the right thing that I know God exists. My desire says, Me! Me! Me! Our Lord says, Others. Others. Others.

When I am on the throne in my life my belief waxes and wanes. I find myself full of questions that I’ve pondered innumerable times before. How could there really be creature that created this unbelievably large universe? How could any creature guide the lives and destiny of billions of people? How can an omnipotent God hear the dogs of war, the scream of murder, the slap of abuse and not rise up in righteous indignation? Why? How? I want answers. Again it’s me, me, me. I’m just looking for ways to wiggle out of walking by faith, by seeing God where I know He will be found.

And on a deeper level it is sometimes the deep sadness of the existential dilemma, the fear of the void. There is no hope of reward. Death is death. Then I remember that if anything this life is a type of death with the true, full life to come later. The impetus to keep walking, that small silent assurance that all is well is my Lord saying be patient.

When I want to listen to some creepy, old, loud, Black Sabbath and I remember what goes in affects and flavors who I am that I see the change, the indirect proof that our Lord is there quietly prompting me to behave. The urge to self indulgence is muted, the prompting is there to get back to the journey, the quiet walk toward salvation.

Lord forgive me even sometimes during the divine liturgy when my back is hurting I find myself wondering why it takes sooooooooooooooo long? But then I feel/know we are ascending into the heavenly places, we are joining the unending praise resounding through time and eternity and I am undone. Lord, I believe. Forgive my unbelief.


Anonymous said...

I confess to the same feelings at Divine Liturgy on occasion; but then at other times it seems like it is nowhere near enough. Lord, help me overcome the frailty and vicissitudes of the flesh.

And I like to consider the world revolves around me in darker moments too.

God bless; my prayers.

DebD said...

thank you.

Fr. James Early said...

"My desire says, Me! Me! Me! Our Lord says, Others. Others. Others"

This is a concise and accurate statement of the crux of the struggle to live the Christian life.

Thank you for the beautiful post and for being so open and candid. In doing so, you speak openly about a struggle that all of us are dealing with (mostly) silently.

s-p said...

It is indeed a deep dive into the ego. Even our good works are mostly narcissistically driven. What if we were humble and loving and no one noticed... could we handle it? sigh.

Victoria said...

wow. yes, I recognize petty and small actions and traits in myself more and more these days. I hope it's only because I'm taking more time to notice and maybe just know myself better, and not that I am actually becoming a more petty and small person.
the impetus to pride and self is strong in me. I am a hard nut to crack. the Lord has His work cut out for Him with this one.