Once More into the Familiar

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Picture found here

We never come to the same place twice. Either the place has changed, if only a little. Or, more likely, we have. The hiraeth of soul that has so often dogged my steps has reemerged of late. But the hound on my doorstep isn’t the one I kept around for many years while waiting for something else to show up.

I’ve received the gift of self in recent years. The much more confident, goof-ballish, boisterous extraverted-introvert I was as a boy has reasserted himself into a picture that had become a bit smudgy. I’d gone from an emerging oil painting of youth to a broody graphite sketch with too little detail to offer much picture to anyone. Especially myself.

I make no apology for the change in myself. In my writing. My demeanour. It is part and parcel of the journey with a God who refuses to let us stay too long in places we’re tempted to think are entirely who we are. Once we begin to feel a bit too comfortable, God steps in to f**k up the status quo and help us carry on the search.

We are found in the seeking. It is the looking itself that defines our spirituality. Once we think we’ve ‘found’ God, God will dive into a new game of hide-‘n-seek, if only to remind us that God is God and we are not.

The great hope is that, he or she to whom we are ever returning is one to whom we might actually want to return. So, with a few of these things in mind, what follows is a brief journal entry from last Sunday, July 7th:

* * * * *

“Oh soul, my soul, where have you gone? Oh life’s pericope, trope of being, lattice of heaven. God’s bathroom mirror. I can see God shaving for work through the tiny crack in the door. It brings such comfort and reminds me that, more than anything else, God is a friend. Ruler of the normal and unexceptional. Lord of the forgotten and easily missed. Master of ‘meh.’ All the more remarkable for his/her unremarkability. 

Son of man. That’s how Jesus loved to describe himself. Of all the venerable, honest, or descriptive titles he could have used, this was the one to which he was most drawn. He used it more than any other. That alone tells me all I need to know about this God I pursue. Who pursues me. 

This is no pagan god more interested in f***ing my wife than helping me in any way. This is not the tribal god of some prehistoric people, full of fear and terror of the great, dark world more attributable to earth than heaven. The God I serve is the God I love. Who loves me.

Why should God and love be together in one entity? God has no responsibility toward love of any kind. By definition, God could be merely a passing, disinterested peripheral glance. He/She could be a fearsome, destructive, despair-inducing monster bent on nothing more than her/her own pleasure and aggrandizement. A despot. Self-centered and terrifying. Wait, that’s more us!

Instead, this God holds in his/her arms the leper, the cheater, the whore, and the little child. He/She rebukes the great and restores the sinner. God breaks those who declare themselves unbreakable and repairs those they have broken. Today, I grasp again this familiar hand of this familiar God. (S)he never let go of mine. I’ve merely rediscovered the playground. (S)he’s been watching me/us from the sidelines, encouraging me to run, take risks, try new things, learn the feel of the cosmos in my hands.

His/Her gaze is all I’ve ever needed.

 

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