“Ideology separates us. Dreams and anguish unite us together.”
An atheist said to a believer, “The problem with you Christians is you believe in one God and yet you never get along.”
I’ve been educating myself through writing to this column. Writing keeps me centered. I just write what comes to my head, how I think and feel about a text in the Scripture, or a book I’m reading. Sometimes I write my responses to what I hear and see and to understand my feelings, my thoughts and to understand and accept others. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why do you think (or feel) that way?” or “Why so angry? Why shame? Or why so sad? Why amused? In truth, I’m trying to identify my triggers. Triggers are behaviors of others that make you react in shame, hate, and anger. They’re called triggers because there’s something in you heart that needs healing. Triggers remind you of the wound or weakness that your ego refuses to accept. I share what I have accepted and forgiven believing that there is always affinity, like-mindedness out there.
Carl Rogers, an American Psychologist wrote, “What is most personal is most general.” We are not so different from one another across the board — culture, language, and race, gender, economy, religion and creed. This truth made me unafraid of being different, accept my shortcomings, and recognize my needs. For many years, self-hatred was the giant in my life that needed to be killed. It also made me understand psychological projections, judgment, and criticism. Go to the root of the problem. Don’t jump to negative conclusions when you feel the resistance. Allow yourself to feel and linger there without fight or flight. David calls it, “Deep calls to deep”…. simply go to the basics. Simply be there in the presence of God. Practice to accept where other people are which is a power of self-acceptance. Life is not a contest. Problems may be the same but we individually deal with them as we are.
My friend who encouraged me to write said, “Reach out for many, and catch a few.” She was a Roman Catholic; I am Protestant. What united us was our belief in Christ. She never tried to convert me, and neither did I her. We never talked about our differences but the amazing love of God. When I go visit her, I’d go to Sunday morning mass with her and her husband. (Mind you, 6:00 a.m.) She had a great sense of humor, well-read and very bright. She was older than me, full of knowledge and wisdom. I picked her brain all the time. We once discussed this adage, “Don’t throw the baby with the bathwater.” This made me see that prejudices cripple your learning process and impede your growth. Don’t throw a good book just because the author is Catholic or a Baptist or an atheist. Or Anais Nin. Eat the meat and throw away the bones.
Paul wrote to the Philippians that “…I’m being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Life is a journey, not a destination. God doesn’t run. He walks…slowly.