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My Tiny Personal Creed

There is a place of grace within each of us that I and others call God.

God is NOT a very old man with a beard, but the creative spirit or force both within and without us that can free us to begin wanting to live as one and can show us how to draw on resources not limited to our tiny personal part of the universe.

For many of us it is reached only in surrender either when we “hit bottom” or when we finally just recognize that we can let go of our ego without losing our unique place in the universe.

So the heart of Spirituality is about letting go of our illusion of being separate/better than the rest of humanity or even of the rest of creation and realizing we are only one tiny unique aspect of an awesome whole and that we sink or swim along with that whole and the rest of the tiny parts.

Since I am a relational kind of person and God and the universe are pretty much beyond my understanding, Jesus is my translator for learning how to grow in a creative relationship with what is beyond my grasp.

The Journey

At first, it seemed as if God walked
through the garden of my life
on velvet kitten paws,
gifting me with fleet impression
of brushing soft caress,
leaving feather light prints
in the tender earth
of my spirit.

But, in later times, God climbed
the granite mountain of my will
using painful stake and hobnail boots
to gain each foothold,
bringing about His kingdom
through the thundering voice
of circumstance.

Then recently, I sensed God lost,
absent on Sabbatical
of undetermined length,
leaving only fading echoes
in my memory.
Until at last, in desert night
and aching loneliness,
I faced my emptiness
and discovered Her within.

Amateurs at Being Human

In the first stage of spirituality, many of us run from God.

In the second stage of spirituality we seek God,  but often in unlikely places.

In the third stage of spirituality, we discover God.

In the fourth we discover, develop and use our gifts mostly or at least partly for the glory of God. (No one has absolutely pure motives.)

In the fifth stage we gradually move into empowering others, at least partly for their sake and the glory of God.

And in the sixth stage, we are called to let go and become open to the Spirit working through others.

Jesus tells his disciples in John 16:7, ” Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Jesus accepts His dying, so others may live and grow.”

And in Philippians Paul says it this way,  “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

The paradox is that if we don’t recognize and value our gifts, we cannot die to them. But even those of us, who are late bloomers, will find it very difficult to let go, once we discover our gifts.

But,  just as Jesus had to die to His power to heal, teach, feed, and spread the Good News, we too are called to follow Him through the cross of dying to self,  dying to that which we value most about ourselves, so that “we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.”

Some of the concrete challenges different ones of us may face:

As a physical action oriented person, finding purpose in life from a wheel chair or a hospital bed.

If  our gifts are intellectual, accepting  the exhaustion and drudgery of being a full time caregiver.

If we are a change agent by personality, sitting helplessly day after day at the foot of the cross of a loved one dying by inches with Alzheimer’s.

In his later years the intellectually gifted spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, chose to live in a community of the mentally handicapped, learning to hear and experience the love of God through them.

The humility, that comes from being emptied of our very selves, frees us to hear God through the simple, the uneducated, the young, the old, the failures, the handicapped, the foreigner, the stranger, the ill, the poor.

Until we recognize that we are all amateurs at becoming fully human, we will miss the voice of God all around us.