I have found a key. Nothing is ever lost.
When the stomach flu racks your body or death disintegrates you or you're born or born again or you fall in love or lose a leg, nothing is lost. When you fall, God catches you.
You can never be lost.
You can be transformed. Sometimes forces beyond your control transform you — an earthquake takes your house or kills you or kills someone you love, or you grow from childhood to adulthood, or you die, or you're born. When God transforms you (and God isn't unwilling, whether you're for or against it), the best thing you can do is give yourself to it, let it be. Have peace and throw up until the flu is done. Relax. When you're dying, do death. There's no fear. You can never be lost.
And then, sometimes, maybe even most times, whether and how you transform is up to you, and God isn't afraid of what you choose. If you drive a car and get hit, or jump on a skylight and fall to your death; if you take responsibility or blame everyone else for how you feel; if you practice a spiritual discipline and see God; if you study carpentry and become a carpenter — you choose to transform, and God says yes to your choice.
So when God chooses to transform you and it's beyond your control, it's best to say yes to God's choice.
God isn't afraid of your choices, and you don't have to be afraid of God's. No matter how you transform, you can never be lost. Nothing can. Not God. Not you.
I may or may not have taken this idea for granted before today, but I've never put it together in so many words, and more importantly, it wasn't a point of belief. Realizing that you do or don't believe something is immense. Today I discovered this, and I discovered that I believe it.
I have found a key: something that my spirit knows to be true. And that helps me understand God. It gives me a way to believe in God, and to trust God. Because this is real.
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Today, I realized that death is Miss Hickory's return to the apple tree.
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There is a very big reality out there called God, and God is my friend, and I have a relationship with God. And I don't know if God loves me per se, but I know that God is too immense and subtle and complex and implicit to call "it," while "he" and "she" are plain misleading. So I use the clumsy name "God," a name insufficient to contain the love I have or the living relationship we share.
I do not know you, God. And I know you. And no matter how we transform, it all takes place within the context of this relationship. There is safety in that.
So let me say yes to you, and may you say yes to me. Let us be lovers in that way, and let our choices be good — dear God, let them be good.