I've spent a large portion of my life feeling like a troll. A stubby legged, wild haired, mushmouth of a troll. In my weaker moments, I still find myself feeling like this from time to time. Never quite good enough. Never quite smart enough. Just waiting to be thrown over one more time for the real prizes in this world. I'm not entirely sure why this is...I was the firstborn child of a couple who'd been told they could never have children. The first of six, for that matter. I was read to, loved and exclaimed over for the first few years of my life. But no matter that--I always felt inside that there was a piece missing, or that I was somehow secretly defective in some way. Once I got old enough to be out in the world, I did whatever I could to make myself invisible. Invisible, or incredibly larger than life and outrageous. One extreme or the other. Either way, you couldn't touch me. I set myself apart from my family, from my peers, from everyone and everything.
I certainly set myself apart from God. I would spend years reading everything about every religion or spiritual endeavor I could get my hands on. I had just enough information to be dangerous, as they say. I would ferret out lots of info, and abruptly walk the other direction. I railed against the God of my misunderstanding. I envied people with religious backgrounds, because they seemed to have something I wanted, but thought I could never have. They had a safety net, was what I decided. I used to tell people that I lived my life on the high wire, with no net. And I believed it. I could not imagine a deity that would allow as much suffering as I saw in the world. I couldn't imagine praying like people did, or believing like they seemed to believe. It was a bunch of crap to me. Opiate of the masses. I never once attempted to have a personal relationship with God. Never thought it was possible OR practical for somebody like me. I would look at those other people and then I'd have to make fun of them or tear them down in one way or another. Fear is a curious thing.
After I got sober and started looking for a way to change this miserable existence I lived, I started having to work really hard to find my way back to God. As Rumi says:
Has Known God.
Not the God of names.
Not the God of don'ts.
Not the God who ever does
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them , saying,
"Come Dance With Me."
And some days I worked very hard. And some days I worked very little. And some days I just sat in my shit and cried. And slowly but surely, I began to feel the hand of God reaching for my hand, and the thing I learned was that all I had to do was reach out a tiny little bit, and there God would be. And I began to read the poetry of people like Mary Oliver and Rumi and Gibran, and I learned a lot about God. I would sit by the ocean and watch the waves crashing and the birds that walk bravely into the surf, knowing they will find food there, no matter how high the waves. And they would scamper out and scamper back in as the tide washed up and I would laugh at the show. And I saw, one day, that I was that bird. That I was that ocean. That the love of God is the dance. And something washed over my soul. And I knew that it didn't matter if I understood the concept of God. It didn't matter what I believed. It didn't matter how I believed. The energy that runs from the rivers of Gods love to the tiny streams of the human soul runs no matter what. It is everywhere. It is vibrant. It is there no matter what I think or see or feel. And I can relax and live in the details, where God lives.
And that I must see the other people on my planet through the filter of God's love as well. And then I can stop expecting them to be anything other than what they are. Because they ARE perfect. Perfectly IMperfect. Deliberate flaws, like the ones woven into the Persian rugs, meant to remind the talented weaver that he is not God. And then I can breathe a sigh of relief, and trust that all is exactly the way it is supposed to be. That I can be a child of God and be the best me I can possibly be, and it will be enough. It will be enough.
I had some experiences this week that have nudged me into some reflection, as you can see. None of them were earthshattering (well, except to me), but the planets have lined up and it must be time for one of those shakeups that we all love so much. A lot of it has centered around my ego, in one way or another. And my heart. And it has caused me some pain, and some tears, and mostly (eventually) some joy. Because I know it is that hand of God reaching out for me one more time.
Reaching for me, saying, Come. Dance.