Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fatigue And The Experience Of God

Yesterday seemed like the day from hell. I was frazzled most of the day even if it didn't show. It wasn't till the end of the day when I started listening to a Talking Heads concert that I began to feel calm. I guess music does soothe the savage beast. The basis for my internal meltdown was fatigue. I didn't sleep well on Sunday night. It was an exhausting weekend with little down time. So much interaction, even with people I care about, is exhausting for an introvert like me. The experience with my father was emotionally draining, and all the running around on Easter visiting family was draining as well. When I got to work yesterday everything seemed hectic and demanding and I felt thrown into my day. Nothing bad happened and nothing was a crisis but I felt pulled in many directions. For someone who tries to practice mindfulness in my everyday life, multi tasking, while feeling under the gun, is a challenge. I was able to sneak away for a relaxing lunch with an old friend from my high school years and that was a nice oasis in my day. On a different day when I am better rested none of yesterday's activities would have seemed like a big deal. When you are really tired even the little things seem monumental. The day ended on a happy note because I had dinner with Chloe and her parents. That went well even though someone ate most of my chicken McNuggets even though they had their own Happy Meal! Momma told me there would be days like this.

What is the experience of God like? One of the best descriptions I have ever heard is that it's like a face to face encounter in the dark with blindfolds on. Everything you have ever heard about God or tried to express about God is an analogy. No one can say anything about God that doesn't begin with "God is like......" We like to believe that all the warm fuzzy feelings we may experience in church or in prayer are God. In some cases those feelings can be attributed to an overheated room. You can never really judge the experience of God. Sometimes when God seems very far away, He/She is closest. I wish we had a pronoun in the English language that wasn't masculine or feminine! Actually, regardless of how we may feel, God is always present. He/She is never far away. How do I know this? I don't know this in any intellectual way. I can't explain God or prove the existence of God but I believe there is a God. Like everyone else who ever tried, I can only describe my own experience of God in analogies. There have been fleeting moments in my life where I believed the presence of God was so strong that it made me think of the poetry of the 16th century Spanish mystic, John of the Cross, when he said, "Break the web, O Lord, of this sweet encounter"! It's the feeling that you must either die or be thrown back into your life. The experience of God is like looking at the sun. You can only take it for a moment or you'll go blind.

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