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Thursday, February 7, 2013

How Big is Your God?

I've been holding my tongue for the past couple of months while the walls of a sturdy structure were demolished, quite surprisingly. I don't think I can do that anymore.

The majority of people who know me and know me well, they know I am a Buddhist. In being so, though, I don't proselytize. My opinion is that we each chose the religion we relate to best. I guess that's why I'm struggling now watching two dear ones struggle. I hear them talk of this great relationship they have with God, but somehow their God is suddenly too small to help them.

I want to shake both of them - and yes, I do mean both of them because it takes two to let something you both committed to with your whole heart fall apart. I want to let them see what those around them see. I want them to come off this ever-faster-spinning merry-go-round and stand where they are. Stand solid and see what the problems are, not in the haze of gossipy whispers. Not with the past hugging their backs and dragging them down. Not with the pressure of doing for everyone and forgetting to do for themselves, the core, the most sacred part. I want them to stand still and listen…to see what they are doing.

They are not young in their faith, so it astounds me that they both have thrown their hands in the air. I’ve heard them both talk lovingly of the grace of their God, of how refreshed they fill in his presence, and how he has saved them over and over.  I’ve seen them reach out with their hearts, to fill them when they cannot fill it themselves. I have seen it cover them like a blanket to hide under, to recover and repair, like a tent on a bed that is an island in a house.

But now, they are letting each other slip away…and they are letting the most impressionable ones watch them, thinking their actions are benign, not realizing how every move to break apart their family is a rip that scars. It will never heal the way you think it will. And it’s not in your hearts alone, but in the ones watching you.

Yes, they do this with all their children watching, too. They do this while they tell their children that their God can solve all things. They do things while they convince their children that no matter what the problem, their God can walk them through it. They do this while they say their God will never give them more than they can handle.

And I watch them turn their God...their faith... their beliefs into something so small...so tiny...that the heart of bird would be cavernous in comparison.

Too often I see people casually give up on marriage as if it really were like TV sitcoms where the family disappears for five minutes during commercials and suddenly everyone is forgiven, everything is solved. They believe the fairy tales and the story books, though they've invested enough time in a real relationship to know better. Those of us on the other side of that commitment know that even when the love seems waning, you do not give up. Even when your partner stops paddling and you are left to do all the work, you do not give up. Even when he reaches for the door and wants to walk out, you don't let his hand casually slip through yours.

It's a miracle when two people find each other. When the rough patches come, faith may be what holds you together until you reach for each other again. It is not my faith. But you said it was yours. And now you say your God is too small to help you. When did this happen? When did you let it happen?

I wish you would find your way home – both of you. If for no one else, even if not for each other, then for the children’s lives who you have taken into your care. Let them know that when you took each other’s hands and said you would stand there, for each other and eventually for them, that you meant it. Your God is bigger than both of you, if you will let him.

copyright - All rights to the work posted on this site are retained by Cass Van Gelder. If you'd like to use some of my work, please ask. To do so, the permissions must be spelled out in writing...from me...I mean it. I have horribly mean cats; don't make me use them.

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