...Lord God almighty.....
How many of you Catholics out there remember that little song from mass on Sundays? It still rings in my head after all these years. While still feeling allegiance to the catholic faith, I have bounced from holy building to holy building trying to find a peaceful home now for many years. The only thing I found was more of that which I tried to get away from - empty services based on ritual, and drama among who's in charge and who is more important and who should head the committees and who should be looked up to, and most importantly, who should not be messed with. (Like, that's their pew and you don't dare.....)
In my journey among the holy buildings I came to one huge conclusion about God:
God does not want religion, He wants a relationship.
For me, that was huge. Being brought up under the guise of a weekly church ritual from maybe three years old, this is a very hard concept to swallow. What? No building? No kneeling and standing? No Holy water? No statutes? No committees? Well then, just where DO I find God?
That's when the hand brushes my right shoulder, and a voice (not audible) but from somewhere inside me says, "Right here."
Just two words. Inaudible and quiet, but packing a punch. In spending some good bible time, I have learned that that is how God speaks. He's a God of few words, but those few words speak volumes.
Now lest you think I sit on an island all by myself and ponder God's word, I'm happy to say I have found what they call "fellowship" by attending a weekly bible study for women of all faiths, from all over the cape, getting together to watch a video and study in a workbook and discuss this life here on earth and how to live it with God. No preaching. No ritual. No cliques. Just honest women trying to find our way through all that life throws at us from sickness and tragedy to just managing to get the kids on the school bus every morning. When we gather each week, let me tell you there is a sprit in that room that feels and sounds very much like that voice that speaks from within me. We learn. We pray. We laugh. We eat. (Some of these gals can really bake a mean coffee cake.) And we love. And, isn't that what we (Catholics, anyway) have been told since we were knee high - that "God is love"?
This new year I have decided to redesign my time with my maker. As an author, I have written morning pages consistently for the better part of two years now. Well over 700 pages. My morning pages were always to God. Everyday, upon awakening, He got the full brunt of whatever my mind woke up with. All of it. The good. The great. The bad. The very worst. And the ugly of the ugliest thoughts, right along with the beauty of the most beautiful thoughts. After that, I'd read from about four daily meditation books.
For the last two weeks I gave up my morning pages just to see if I needed them anymore. I felt like a part of each day was missing. I realized it was where my relationship to God was kept, honed, built, and worked on everyday. This morning I decided to bring it back, and this is what appeared: (I'm breaking a major writing rule here - morning pages are never to be shared or to ever even be read again, even by me) but I love you dearly, and for you I will be a rebel - God kinda likes that about me, but that's a topic for another blog.) So, here it is, the first morning page of 2013:
"Ok lord I'm back to morning pages. I find that if I give them up, I start stuffing. By stuffing I mean that my mind is so full of messages that it makes me crazy - like I'm going to burst. My messages need a place to go. Here is where they go. For me these morning pages are my own personal cross and this is where I lay down my burdens before the day begins. It feels good to be back. Now, let's get down to business. Today my burden involves..."
And that's where I must cut off the sharing because I'm not here to burden you. That's God's department. He took my stuff into consideration and I could proceed on with my day with a little lighter heart. He is here. He is real. He doesn't live in a building or require me to perform rituals. He loves. My prayer ladies (an endearing name my daughter calls my bible study group) love. I love. Morning pages will stay.
I found reading too many meditation books kept me from really focusing on one thing, so this year I will only use one. I'm going to read from Melody Beattie's More of the Language of Letting Go. I did this one in 2010 and I think the meaning will be very different at this point in my journey. That, along with a prayer time, should do it for 2012. Sometimes less really is more.
And so, as another day goes by, the spiritual part of my resolution making is done, now that I have the relationship part down, maybe God will put a building in my future, and....I have written.