Love feels so much better than hate. Hope is a divine answer to despair.
Joy feels better than sorrow. And envy leaves you on edge.
Glory and goodness beat evil and meanness.
Feelings. Thoughts. Emotions. Logic
It’s a Sunday morning, a time of reflection. It’s a time to think about God and spirit and angels and the divinity of our existence.
Of course, it isn’t necessarily a Sunday morning when these things, thoughts, overwhelm me.
And it isn’t in a church, today, that I ponder this.
It is often in the least expected times and places that I FEEL life.
Have you ever looked at a flower? Really looked at it, inside it, and almost wept, or did weep?
On a strand in Ireland, by the small village of Eyeries, I would go down a craggy, rutted road until I reached the sea. It was the point where I looked out into the Atlantic, to God, on the horizon.
I was far from home, from my family, from my normal life of concern, fret, angst, stupid thoughts, pre-emptive worry.
There were some rocks along the edge where I would sit and watch the tide come in and go out, looks for creatures in the tidal pools, and wonder, “What Is?”
I didn’t see God as a person, like I sometimes do. Well, it is actually Jesus that I see, etched into my mind from the picture of Him at the Norwood Presbyterian Church, in Norwood, Ohio, where I grew up.
No, I didn’t see a face, but the wind, the light , the sounds of the sea birds and the rolling water, made me feel His presence.
It was a feeling of love and hope … awe … sadness … and time.
I was so engulfed in just being in the presence, that I would burst out in song. I’d start with a few of the good old church hymns from the NPC … “How Great Thou Art,” “Nearer My God to Thee,” and so forth. Then, I’d do a bit of Broadway. “Evita.” There has never been a more powerful, profound Evita than I am on that crag of earth, singing to the audience of the sea.
My voice can scatter birds and part seas.
I have been floating on a raft on a mountain stream in the Smokys, and saw and felt God in the sun’s rays that streamed through pines and hemlocks and rocks, and down to the rushing, cold water. Nick and our two daughters frolicked around me, looking for fish and crabs and their own dreams.
I have been in the car, by myself, going 70 mph, and a moment comes over me, usually when I have music playing, and I could explode with all that life is, was, or will ever be.
There have also been times when in the car, I have burst into tears and sobbed in despair. Sorrow and sadness about life. I don’t know if I ever thought that God let me down, but people certainly did. Just as I have let people down, which is an even greater sorrow.
I have envied. Not so much anymore, but when I was younger and didn’t realize that I didn’t need to envy, that it was a choice and not a natural phenomenon.
There have been times when I thought, “Yessirreebob, I have this thing called LIFE figured out.”
Only to fall and fail and flounder.
There are those who believe, without hesitation or questioning.
I have not been one of those people.
To articulate my honest-to-John beliefs is difficult.
Sometimes by heart says one thing and my brain says another. And then, there is that committee that takes up residence in your head that says, “You are such a nimrod. Get over it and eat some chocolate.”
Life is often a wrestling match. Our opponent is ourselves. We got on that mat with our learned emotions, beliefs, experiences and fears, and wrestle. We are the winner and the loser. Winning and losing is often a state of mind.
I know I have had some very successful failures and vice versa.
And when I am sitting on that rock with the Atlantic and me looking back on my life, and me talking and listening ago God, the successes and failures are irrelevant.
When I was on that raft, enjoying that moment of grace, on the mountain stream or when I am singing “Oh Holy Night” in the car, in the middle of June, I am not thinking of if I did this right or that right. I just am. In front of God I am me.
Those moments of grace and divinity, no matter what they are called, sustain me. They help me work on ridding myself of feelings that I impose on myself … and others.
Though it is hard in this world of strife, hardship and ill-will, I still choose hope and love.
And to me, that is God.