I don’t like the word God. There I said it. Please stay with me here. I don’t mean to offend. I am not saying I don’t believe in ‘God’ or that I am not devoted to ‘God’. I want to open a loving conversation about the connotations of this word that often alienate people away from ‘God’. My prayer is that we explore and include different interpretations of the one true Light of ‘God’. To end the separation within our communities in how we perceive ‘God’ and speak about ‘God’.
The word God is not a peaceful and loving conjuring for me. Without going into too much story, the word for me is loaded with negative and painful connotations. Although I’ve tried and tried, I just can’t get past it. Whenever I am in good-intentioned places with good-intentioned people who use the word ‘God’ I do an automatic flip to: Existence, Love, Universe, Mystery, the Divine or Light. These are interchangeable for me. They all give me a sense of connection to the Divine source, to Oneness. I am comforted by the expansive, inclusive and benevolent meanings that are, for me, imbued in these words. I know that’s what the word God means to many people.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. – Shakespeare
Words have power and deep significance. Sadly, this word was used as a threat for me, a punishment, a means of control. Paradoxically it suppressed any creative expression or exploration of the divine joy of my ‘God-self’. By God-self I mean living as a ‘child’ of ‘God’ – an expression of God. It’s taken me many years to unravel the mysteries of my greatest relationship on Earth: the philosophical and experiential journey home to myself … Which for me is a coming home to ‘God’…
“Why has ‘God’ forsaken me?” There has never been a more sorrowful victim song than this. And yet it has been my ‘reality’; my direct human pain-body experience. It has been my longing, my prayer and sometimes my only connection back to the Divine, a way to stay close to God. I understand the irony of my faith in pleading with a presence that I believe has abandoned me. I am reminded of this powerful poem that always gives me a reality check and a kick out of existential victimhood.
Footprints in the Sand
(Original Author Unknown often attributed to Mary Steel Stevenson (née Kelly)
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
This poem helps me understand why, at the start of my remembering who I truly am, it is helpful to personify Oneness in the form of ‘God’. I recognise that language is a ladder to the stars … to the infinite mystery.:
Love is. I am Love. Love is communing with Love.
…I know that when I am in the direct experience of Love expressing Love, when there is no separation or idea or sense of ‘I’ or ‘Self’, language will dissolve into the infinite explosion of Silence. A silence so full that it contains all sound and light and ‘Truth’ – a truer word will never need to be spoken.