Scattered Reflections of a Monkey Mind

Scattered Reflections Of a Monkey Mind

My mind is all over the place. Can you relate? I’m like a kite on a windy autumn day, flying this way and that way. I came to the chapel to meditate, to reflect on God’s presence in my life and in the world but OMG, He (She) is not here. The Spirit is hidden underneath all my monkey mind distractions. What God? He sure ain’t here in the chapel with me.

Is he anywhere? Atheists claim that God did not create us; rather we have created God. Nah! I don’t buy that but they are partly right. The God we imagine as a benign old grandfather in the sky is definitely a figment of our imagination. I’ll never find that God in the chapel or anywhere else.

So I ask myself, where will I find the real God? Could be I’m looking in the wrong place. Maybe it makes more sense to search for him in people not in the sanctuary. God is in the moments of our lives. It’s like we have to go out of ourselves to discover his presence in the universe, in people, in nature.

If we don’t find his presence in a child’s innocence or in the heroism of a soldier dying for his country or in the compassion of adult children taking care of aged parents, where can we find him?

God is found in quiet time (if I can keep awake and discipline my monkey mind) but he is discovered more obviously in relationships. Ay! There’s the rub. Finding the image of God in one another is more challenging, don’t you agree?

In the musical Oliver, the little waif of a boy sang “Where oh where, oh where is love” Abandoned by his parents, physically abused at the orphanage, Oliver yearned to find love (God) in his life and it wasn’t easy. The people he had met in his short life didn’t exactly exude the milk of human kindness.

Like Oliver, the wounded vet or the spouse taking care of a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, can be pardoned if they ask, “Where oh where oh where is this God of love.” And you know what mates? Sometimes, we just don’t know. We yearn to see God and at times he has the unnerving habit of playing peek-a-boo with us. Is it okay to get PO’d with the Almighty? But where else can we go?

So, I will continue to search for God in the people around me, the washed and the unwashed, the saints and the sinners because I have experienced way too much love, way too much grace in my own life to doubt his presence.

And, I’ll continue to search for God in the quiet of the chapel because I know, (if only I can stop nodding off); I will find him there, too.









Saving the World All by Ourselves

Saving the World All by Ourselves

Fellow “do-gooder” and a close friend of mine were talking about all the people in our lives who needed help with their problems. Relatives, friends, kids, old folks all were up for discussion. We worried about all of them. Man! It was exhausting trying to figure out how we could rescue all these people. There wasn’t enough time in our days to solve all their problems. We were starting to feel depressed just thinking about our inadequacies.

Then, in a flash of enlightenment, (or was it the red wine?)  we hit upon the only possible solution. “You know something,” my friend said in mock seriousness “You and I can’t die. We have too many people depending on us.”

We had a good laugh at ourselves over our own imagined self-importance. We decided that it was time for self-appointed “fixers” like ourselves to get a life and time to take ourselves less seriously. The truth is, and we know it in our heads, we don’t change anyone.  People solve their own issues or they don’t get solved.

The troubled teen-ager I angst over will get over his anger issues (or he won’t.) The mom driving herself crazy over trying to balance taking care of an elderly parent and two little kids will eventually figure things out. The man with a drinking problem will stop drinking when he wants to and in his own time. Divorce happens, our pet pooch dies, kids make mistakes; but life goes on. It ain’t a perfect world but it’s all we got.

Does that mean we don’t lend a hand to a kid in trouble or take no responsibility for the planet we inhabit? Of course not. We are in this world together, mates. To be human is to care for others.

But we “fixers” need to accept our limitations. Even religious people (among the worst of do-gooders) would do well to acknowledge that whatever good we do is only a part of a larger design. God is still in charge.

The Creator has his own plans for our lives and the lives of wounded teens and traumatized vets and ill-nourished children. We are part of the plan and God or the Universe or the Spirit invites us to be part of the solution but we are not the whole show. God works through us but we are pretty silly if we think we are in control. Those who would carry the whole world on their shoulders, need to stop, look at themselves and, like my friend and I, have a good laugh.