I didn’t sleep very well last night, lots to think about, from the fleeting nature of life to whether I can take my own pillow to the hospital.
Obviously God has entered my thoughts and discussions the past few weeks but my inability to pray hasn’t suddenly changed. For a few years now I’ve felt disconnected from God, or, more accurately, my idea of God. I would explain it like this:
I spent my first eighteen years on Earth as a Roman Catholic. In fourth grade I wanted to be a priest. In seventh grade, I discovered girls, who didn’t discover me until after high school. I saw the world through Catholic eyes. I had the encouragement of a large family of devout German Catholics and five years of parochial school. I prayed to the Virgin, trusted the priests, went to confession and expected to wind up in Paraguay when I died. Make that Purgatory.
After high school I joined a Bible study and started reading the Good Book for the first time. I was given a Bible since, being an average Catholic family of the time, we didn’t have one in the house. While studying Mark, I had a born again experience on January 10, 1971. Everything changed immediately. My head was theologically spun around, altering my perspective. I now saw God and the world through Protestant eyes. Ideas that had controlled my life were suddenly replaced by a new paradigm, triggered by my personal encounter of God. I stopped going to mass and started attending a house church with six other people.
For most of the next thirty years I was in “full-time” Christian service. Everything in my life revolved around knowing God and making him known. Then a few years ago I experienced another paradigm shift, which I will describe elsewhere. It cast into shadows most of what I thought I knew about God and his ways in the world.
I went from being a Catholic, to a Protestant, to a ???. I have come to doubt much of what I’ve learned and taught about God, except that he exists. I have gone from feeling like part of the Bride of Christ to feeling like a widow. I can look back on wonderful times but the present seems sterile. I have gone from seeing constellations to just seeing stars.
(Read my page Stars and Constellations for a metaphorical explanation of how my vision has shifted.)
This is the spiritual condition in which this physical challenge now finds me. The one affects the other and I will try to describe how it all works out. I’m doing this for three reasons:
- to help my own understanding;
- to share with family and friends some insight into what I’m experiencing;
- to encourage others who find themselves on similar spiritual or physical journeys.