Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Conversations With God

I’ve been thinking about this communications impasse I’m having with God. And something Jacob (aka "cannot be trusted)" said in his comment on my last post triggered some memories. There have been moments in my life where I’ve been convinced that God was trying to get my attention. The Venus thing I mentioned previously is one. But there have been others. Here are a few of note.

The Rear View Mirror: I was working on a movie in the costume department. I think it was “Sphere” so this would have been circa ’97-‘98. It was a particularly shitty traffic day and I was bitching at every other car on the road. I think I was having a shitty day in general but I don’t recall why. It was the end of the day and I was trying to get back to the costume house. I think I started blaming the traffic on God or something because I suddenly got the impulse to check my rear view mirror. There behind me was the single most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. I just started laughing and then yelled out, “yeah okay, show off. That was worth slowing down for!” (I only call God “a show off” when He does something really impressive like that.) The rest of my drive felt like a vacation.

The Joke: I was living with my Aunt in View Park. Now if you don't know, View Park/Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles is known as “the Black Beverly Hills.” It’s very upscale. (In fact I heard a story once that there was a fire in Baldwin Hills back in the late 70’s and a helicopter cameraman captured the residents on tape trying to put it out. A white newscaster commented about how all the “servants” were trying to put out the blaze. His black co-host cut him off with a terse “those aren’t servants, those are my neighbors!” I don’t know if that’s true, but it made me laugh) In any case I was driving down a quiet street and out of nowhere a chicken stepped off the curb and casually crossed the street in front of me. This completely incongruous farm animal strolling along a million dollar street caused me to begin laughing uncontrollably! I now know who made up the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke. God did. And like a 6 year-old who's just discovered the joke He keeps telling it. I guess nobody told Him it’s old… then again I did laugh.

The Beggar at Laundromat & Horatio: People are a useful tool for recognizing God around you. Back when I was still in that relationship I had no business in I had two very special run-ins with human "Angels." One was a beggar outside the Laundromat. I had just had a fight with my then boyfriend who we shall hence forth refer to as "Evil Dave." I was barely holding it together on the verge of tears but trying to focus on getting my laundry done. A beggar outside the Laundromat saw my expression and approached me. He didn’t ask for money he just said with complete sincerity and compassion “are you okay?” Those three words were more precious to me than I can describe. I said I was fine and then walked away. But it touched me and I’ll never forget it. I probably should have given him a buck or something…

The second was similar in nature. I had just lost my job, I was desperate to leave Evil Dave and I was feeling lost and scared. I went to church and sat in a pew to pray. And then I lost it. I cried so hard I thought I would fall apart. I wanted God to tell me what to do but I was too distraught to hear Him. Suddenly an older man of about 50 or so came and sat next to me. “What is wrong? Why you cry? It is breaking my heart to see you cry so,” he said in a thick accent. At first I denied anything was wrong but since I couldn’t stop crying I wasn't very convincing. He assured me that whatever it was God could help, that I had only to pray to the Blessed Virgin and she would intervene to assist me. Well maybe she would but as it turned out I just needed the intervention of a perfect stranger. His name was Horatio, he was a businessman from South America (Brazil, I think) in Import-Export. He was in town for a few days and he had a few hours between meetings so he’d come to the church for a few moments of silence and prayer. (Can you believe there are people who do that?) He talked with me, prayed with me and managed to calm me down. Then gave me his address and we parted with a hug. Years later I found his address and recalled that day. I wrote him a letter thanking him for his kindness and about six months later got a phone call. He was back in town on business. We met for coffee and conversation. And although I got the distinct impression he was hitting on me, it really felt like I was catching up with a much loved old friend. I will never forget him, and if I find his address again maybe I will write him again.

The Big Shut Up: My best friend freshman year in college was this guy Adam. We argued constantly about stuff, which is why I liked him. You'd have thought we were married except there was no sex involved (actually that's not necessarily an exception is it? hahaha). One of the things we argued about was religion. Adam was an atheist. And the worst kind too. A logical one. No matter what evidence I tried to present of the existence of God he broke it down and made it sound like utter nonsense. At the end of the school year he went to visit his grandparents in Hawaii. I got a letter from him a few weeks later. Apparently his grandparents had taken him on a helicopter ride over the volcanos of one the islands. The astounding beauty of the island triggered a spiritual epiphany. He suddenly "just knew" that it all could NOT have been a cosmic accident. There IS a God, he concluded. So he found God in a freakin' helicopter while flying over a big smokey pit. I was floored. All those wasted hours trying to convince him and that's what it took. I felt very stupid. I could almost hear God saying. "I actually don't NEED your help to prove Myself. You get most of it wrong anyway, so if you wouldn't mind, just Shut Up and let Me handle My own introductions."

Well that's just some of my experiences. There's more but I'd rather not go through them all. Besides I'm finding this post lacks edginess and I don't want folks to think I'm going all soft. It's good to reflect on the past, to look behind you. But I still wish God would help me out a little right now -- when I'm struggling to get through to Him. I mean sheeesh, He should be happy that I'm at least trying. A lot of folks are perfectly happy to ignore Him on a regular basis. Shouldn't He cut me some slack and help a sister out?

Well, my quest for spiritual enlightenment continues... which, I suppose, is exactly as it should be.


Fat Chance said...

Hey, hope you don't mind some support from a fellow writer.

About your comment: "when I'm struggling to get through to Him..."

To show you a little about God's personality... (You certainly got some glimpses of Him as you relate in your posts.) There is a scripture that states: "Be still, and know that I am God."

I've been taught that God will speak to you through a.) other believers, b.) scripture, and c.)circumstance.

And even messengers are human, hence the "hitting" on you by the otherwise kind man from South America. The spirit is willing, but... you know the rest.

Potted-flower said...

If there is a god, he hasn't helped me out for more than a decade. He has left me. Thats why I gave up on him, he gave up on me. I tried to pray, but it was nothing. Please, god, wake up.

Eunique said...

about finding the truth..
the true -self.

have a look at the website

you might find it interesting!!!


Fat Chance said...

Whoa. Here I am, an impromptu spiritual advisor. Totally unworthy, I assure you. But I feel bad for you and our blog host. I like the way you spoke to God just now (God with capitol "G"). ;)

That's the way to pray sometimes. Not all holier than thou. And not formally. Just an honest conversation, which might sound angry and even irreverent, but hey, at least there's a conversation.

I've learned that if there has been silence, we just haven't been listening. And trying to explain pain, suffering, the human condition: I recently read that God suffers right along with us when things are going badly. I sure hope-- and pray-- you have some good come into your life.

Girl With An Alibi said...

Potted-flower- Yeah God can be real stubborn that way, not doing stuff you want Him to do when you ask.

But I think for me His silence has more to do with my own issues that I don't like facing. Kind of like Fat Chance just said. "Be still and know that I am God." It doesn't mean "shut up and just accept it." It means "relax and you'll realize I'm right here." It's that first "Relax" step that I keep tripping over.

Trust me though, He'll answer you when you least expect it and usually when you don't want Him too. That's how it usually breaks through for me. But as you can see it's a cycle of challenges even for people who are convinced of God's existence already.

Thank you both for your comments.

Girl With An Alibi said...

Thanks Eunique! I'll check that site out more when I have time. I've been working on my meditation skills so there might be some insight there.

gone said...

These are great moments that you have shared here. But, I want to encourage you that spiritual enlightenment might not be what you are looking for . What you want is a relationship with God, which I think you have. These moments you've described are really relational moments. This is what you are looking for! And, in time, there will be more. The fact that you can talk to God in a conversational tone (right on, Fat) means you are way ahead of the majority of Christians. Your perspective is a healthy one and it need not change.

Girl With An Alibi said...

That's true. I probably used the word "enlightenment" a tad loosely (although you can never get enough enlightenment, ya' know. ;D)

I guess I feel I've alienated God in some ways. Like there's something between us. You know how when you have a fight with your honey and you both get all silent and moody until one of you breaks down and says something that equals "I still love you, Do you still love me?" Then all you want to do is make up and get all lovey-dovey again.

I think most of the world is desparately in need of Spiritual Make-Up Sex With God. Does that sound gross? I don't mean it in a sacreligious/creepy/icky/literal way; I just don't know how else to explain it. (Well heck, the Bible does refer to the church as God's Bride... or is it Christ's Bride... whatever, I hope you get my point.)

gone said...

Definitely got it.

John said...

Not being a really religious person myself, when I was moving from Southern California (the great OC) to Boulder, CO there must have been at least a 100 times when I was in complete awe of God's work. From sunsets in Huntington Beach to the rock formations in Utah to the emerald green valleys in Eagle CO, I am STILL taken back by all HIS/HER wonderment. Even now, I wake up and look out my bedroom to the Rockies. Wow!

Maybe it is not necessarily praying, but really recognizing and seeing the place he created for us. My connection to God is mowing my lawn, working in my garden, and refilling my bird feeder. With the recent arrival of my daughter, I see God in a new light, through infant eyes.

Potted-flower said...

Wow. So, if I can talk to God, then I am ok? Oh. Good :)

Sara said...

The story about your college roomate, maybe you helped God by opening a door for Him. Maybe all those debates you had with that guy helped open his heart a little to the possibility so that when he saw what he saw, it could process.
I don't know.
John- In my opinion nothing is more profound in this life than having a baby. It amazes me when folks aren't completely humbled and awed by the whole process. They must be numb. Congrats on yours! :)