One of the reasons I changed churches (unofficially, haha. I'm not at a point where I would say that I'm not a Catholic, even though I rarely go to the Catholic church we attend. If there can be secular Jews, I guess I can be a secular Catholic. :D) was that going to the Catholic church never meant much to me. I knew that it should, and I wanted it to, but I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen that never did. A friend invited me to visit his church, and after some initial resistance I went. And you know what? I think I've gotten more out of the 3 1/2 months I've gone to that church than in my previous 35 years of attending Catholic Mass.
I've blogged before about the differences in my experience in the two churches, so I don't want to go into that any further here. Instead, I want to talk about my relationship with God. Since the religion discussions and new church-going began, I've been reading a lot on Christian living. And struggling with God's expectations...really struggling. Sometimes I think, There's no way I can live up to this, so why even try. I think how much easier it must have been for the people who actually met Jesus during the course of his ministry. And yet, even among people who saw and heard Jesus were many hearts that were unmoved. The Israelites who were rescued from Egypt by God and saw many miraculous works on their behalf lacked a sustaining faith. So there's no easy answer. Once again, I hear, Just believe.
I'm seeking God. I feel closer than I was at the beginning of the summer. I have recognized some of his actions in my life. I'm thinking a new way about how I should be, even if I struggle with implementing that. I've once heard His still, small voice. But I don't yet feel God. It's head knowledge still rather than heart knowledge. And because it's all still in my head, I've been trying to imagine what it would feel like to be in God's presence because I can't quite get myself around Someone SO great, so much more than anything in my experience.
Some of the things that have crossed my mind are...
- The feeling you get when you first fall in love. That person is all you can think about. Your friends are sick of hearing you talk about him. You smile all the time. You would be happy just sitting next to him because you love being around him so much. How much more powerful would our feelings be for our Creator?
- The hero worship you might feel for a firefighter who pulled you out of a burning house or who saved your child who you couldn't reach. How much more gratitude should we feel towards God?
- The comfort of sobbing in a friend's arms, of a parent lifting you after you fall. The relief you feel when you talk to someone who understands whatever it is you're going through.
- The recognition, once you have children of your own and some space separating you from your childhood, of just how right your parents were in their rules for you. =D
- On our camping trip, in several places yellow bands on trees marked the height water reached during a flood resulting from a breach of a man-made resevoir. The amount of water is incomprehensible. And God brought forth the waters from Himself. Even the fact of the river that keeps running and running is astonishing. When you really look--really look--at the world, it's awe-inspiring. And God created EVERYTHING.