Apophasis

People sometimes tell me they think I'm a good person. That's nice. Thank you. But I'm not sure really what that means?

I am no better or worse than any other person. Sometimes I do good things, and sometimes I don’t – regardless of my impulses. It's a good thing none of us gets what we deserve...sometimes. 

I am a person of deep belief in God, even though I act sometimes as though God isn’t there. 

I am not one who gives in to anger, believing as I do that it is of secondary importance to what I’m really feeling just behind it. And yet, sometimes I get angry.

I am someone who lives for family, even though I don’t always know how to act towards them.

I am surrounded by friends and occasionally feel lonely. I'm a pesky introvert.

I am a Virgo and yet only sometimes act like one – and I don’t even believe in horoscopes.

I am an Enneagram six, even though yesterday I thought I was a nine and tomorrow may be something different. Because I am not the same person I was yesterday, either literally or metaphorically. 

I am true to myself, even though I often act differently depending upon who I am with and where I am standing. Yet, I am not a chameleon. I am not merely an impulse. Maybe it’s just the moment that changes.

I am neither a nihilist, nor am I a fatalist. And yet I hold firm to the belief that we are not rewarded simply for good behavior as religionists believe. And I believe that prayer is often answered with a resounding “No.”

I do not believe that God saves us from calamity just because we ask, because there are many who pray and are not saved, and I cannot believe that my prayers are better than theirs.

I have learned over long years of my life about what I want for myself. This is largely due, through trial and error, to learning about what I do not want.

I have made many mistakes and have somewhat fewer regrets and, yet, I believe that none of them were in error if they have led me to where I am today. 

This way of thinking about myself and the “who am I?” is in part due to the way I have learned to think about God and all of the other mysteries of life of which I am but one and with which I am entirely One.

I have learned that the moment we speak about what God “is” then we must be required to write that definition on a list of those things which God is not. Because we are simply incapable of knowing and naming that which is beyond our ability to comprehend.

As much as God may be said to be revealed, God must also be said to be hidden behind the veil. 

I have made much in my spiritual life these days of the sense that God is in the void waiting to be found. And that the void requires us to leap – leap into the great abyss that is the human heart.

For the greatest distance for us to fall, is the distance between our head and our heart. Into that great waiting space that steps outside of what we think and what we know and what we think we know.

It is there that God may be found, and once we do, we shall never be able to put words to what we find. We shall simply have to be content with silence.

God may be One. And God may be Three. And God may be the three hundred and thirty million of the Hindus. And maybe, God is even Zero. I think God doesn’t get mathematics.

God is order and chaos and stillness and the roaring of a ravening lion. God is…

If I cannot, after 51 years of life, figure out who I am… how then shall I have the audacity to claim to know what God is.

My religious tradition may provide me with a vocabulary, and just as often as they give me comfort and a way of visualizing the One, Holy, and Living God – they also fall silent when my experiential glimpses of the Divine Life scream out “No! This is not enough. This is not what God is!”

So, let me be clear.

I am deeply happy and grateful for my life, even though I often complain.

I am deeply happy with my faith, even though at times my doubt weighs heavily upon me. Not that I doubt God (even though I often do) but that I doubt my faith.

But I would rather spend my life living in the tension between recognizing what I am not before being prideful about who I am. I had nothing to do with it.

And I would rather spend my life uncovering the richness of what God may be, by rejecting those things I say that God is the very minute the words leave my mouth. And, even still, I will go on talking about God because that is my nature and my duty, and my vocation. And so, my list will get longer and longer and longer.

And one day, after this negation runs its course, I hope to stand in complete awe and wonder at the recognition that both God and I are so much more than I would allow myself to believe in my short sightedness. 

That we are here at all is miraculous, or maybe, simply, a happy coincidence.

But as a good friend used to say, “a coincidence is nothing more than a miracle where God chooses to remain anonymous.” 

I don’t believe a word of it.