Friday, June 12, 2009

Simple Birthday Complexities

The question of the day on PLINKY a few days back was "At what age did you realize you were an adult?" You don't need to look too far to realize that they're way too many grown men and women who haven't made the realization yet. Mine occurred, or has been occurring, over the last seven months. It's been another reason my blogging seemed to have slowed to a slow trickle. One of my seminary gurus wisely advised us not to use the pulpit [yes, for now this is my pulpit] to do your work, but to share the work you've already done.

I turned 35 on June 1st. While there's no precise age that marks the leap to adulthood, one would think that after having been married for a decade and a parent for nearly just as long, my feet should be planted squarely in this new neighborhood of life. And while I had assumed [and quite well I might add] and fulfilled the roles and responsibilities of adult family man [husband, father, bread-winner, mentor, teacher, house-owner] there was still one relationship that was struggling to come to terms with. It was my relationship with God, which was ultimately my relationship with myself.

I've shared some of my early struggles and attempts to resolve said struggles. And though [by its very definition] the evolution continues, only recently have I found some measure of peace. I finally decided to take the advice I've often doled out to others...simply stop struggling and rest in the unknown. It's not a comfortable place to be by any stretch of the imagination, but it's where we will inevitably find ourselves, especially during times of transition. And when we stop struggling we gain a better perspective. I realized that I was struggling to come to terms with the end of a relationship that, in its various forms, had been a source of great comfort and through which I had ultimately defined myself.

Many years ago I let go of the image of God as the sky-bound fatherly figure and replaced it with the more mystical Spark-of-Divinity within. It was an improvement, but it still propagated the idea that something else existed that defined who I was. To discover who I was at the core, I realized I had to let go of it all and live in the nothingness for a while. My friend Hugh said it well: "I used to idolize my dad. When I turned thirty-five, I realized that my Dad didn't know crap when he was thirty-five either!" So I too have had the realization that I'm no longer a spiritual child and it's up to me to define it all for myself.

It may just be problem with languaging as we try to create new definitions for a myth some of us aren't quite ready to let go of. Some simply label the universal principles that govern us [e.g. cause & effect] God and thus retain the familiar. But I like what Bishop John Shelby Spong said recently [and I'm paraphrasing because I stubbornly refuse to write things down]: "Our divinity is found in the full expression of our humanity." Now here's something that finally makes sense. Call it what you want...God, Spirit, Divine Mother-Father, Principle...but it's just us; an ever-evolving self-aware species with great individual and collective potential. We don't need to pass the buck anymore...we ARE the buck.

I don't deny there's much we don't yet understand, or can explain [take intuition for example]. But as we at some point realize that on the outside we are adults and chose the roles and responsibilities that suit us best, so must it go on the inside. This is a dramatically more difficult path to walk, and one we must each walk alone.

[DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on the blog are those of a blogger in transition and subject to change at anytime.]