What if I trusted god?
Doesn’t trust by definition mean not knowing? Isn’t god by definition something I can’t know?
But what if I truly trusted trust? Could I place mine in this unknowable god? What if I surrendered this constant fight to fend off invisible threats and beat every dark fear to the punch? Maybe I could give it up this constant need to choreograph the people and events around me if I decided it wasn’t necessary. What might that feel like? Why is it so difficult?
I could try thinking about how I got here. How much say did I have about what I thought ought to happen in my mom’s womb? Innumerable complexities aligned with inconceivable precision to bring about the organism that is me. My mom herself had no clue what was happening. All life originates from a process far beyond anything humans could ever comprehend or rig. To give that process a name or classify it as “biology” doesn’t make it any less dumbfounding.
At birth our consciousness consists of trust and little more. What is crying but half a bridge-? As a survival strategy, it’s founded on the blind, helpless trust that someone will respond, someone will care. That impulse – a precursor to prayer – is the only power given a human infant, but it’s the only one we need.
All that for what? So I could grow up to earn money and buy groceries? So it seems. What if god has no extravagant “plan” for my life but loves me overwhelmingly regardless, simply for being me? What if all the love I’ve ever felt and absorbed, every embrace from intimates and each kindness from strangers, every affection to ever move my heart – what if all of that energy pooled together were just the tiniest smidge of god? What if an ocean of love is what generates every leaf and imbues every living thing with the urge to venture and delight and to rest and heal?
I might decide that, in ways far beyond my understanding, this intelligence orchestrates the outer world as much as inner, shapes every circumstance as much as every cell. What if I could see that there is even more beauty, grace, and agility in the spirit of the gazelle in that moment when the cheetah’s jaws close on its throat than there was in its spirited flight, as it escapes the bonds of muscles and neurons to rejoin its brilliant source? What if my perspective let me understand that from the beginning those two have been one, because the cheetah (in its mother’s womb) and the gazelle (in its mother’s womb) are two notes of the same symphony, one wave overtaking another with the same momentum?
Maybe then, in the same way, I could be okay with whatever happens. Maybe I’d get it that my life is just a life, a storyline beaded with random incidents but beautifully embedded in some enterprise both gargantuan and exquisite, more vast than I can ever conceive. It could be that the universe is indeed unfolding as it should, with me in it, so that I am still, in a sense, within a global womb.
Maybe I should think about the clear-eyed toddler I saw today outside Fred Meyer whose mom had just put her astride a fiberglass horse (without even feeding it quarters), who squealed with the uncontainable delight of now: something AMAZING was happening! The mom’s love showed in her eyes, but my love for the two of them flooded inward from my smile – just some lady walking by – with intensity neither could guess. Why? Because they were me with my son ten years ago, and my mom with me half a century ago. With them were the echoes of children long since aged and dead from centuries past, their horses of ceramic or wood now crumbled to dust.
That child will die. My friends and family and pets have died. And, yes, sometimes shit happens that is not of god. There’s suffering and loss and disease and unfairness, so that my eyes teared at the child’s tender vulnerability, like mine and like yours. God can’t guard us from pain and mishap. But always, always there is love and more love – growing back, surviving, passed down – and the chance it gives us to cast its brightness on the now, to delight in our sheer being, to know joy. The avalanche takes down trees centuries old, but amid the rubble, with the season, springs a tiny seedling. These are the ways of god.
What if I put my trust in that ongoing love – mine, yours, god’s – as a tremendous net I can fall into? What if all of it is good – not just striving but failing, not just birth but death? Then I can fill in the dark unknown future with a flickering faith that god’s goodness is the ultimate power underlying all life, that it has always supported me whether I’ve known it or not, and that it always will.
That way I’m freed to seek out my own fiberglass horse in whatever form it takes. I can rejoice right now just because I’m alive. I’m here solely to be me and love you, not to stress and plot and worry about stuff I’m powerless over anyway. I seek god’s guidance, try my best, end of story. My ideas of how everything should come about or end up are just that – ideas. As for reality, God’s got it.
I’ll roll with that.