Questions of Faith (pt 1)

If there is a god and he/she/it put us here on this earth for a reason, aren't we looking a gift horse in the mouth to live in constant anticipation of being taken from it and put on a cloud somewhere? Maybe even an almighty slap in the face: Gee, thanks for making the world - nice work - but I think I like your place better.

Personally, I'd like to stay here on earth and enjoy the cool grass beneath my feet, the creamy sweetness of ice cream on my tongue, and the kissable dip at the top of my child's nose. I want to continue to be astounded by fig wasps small enough to fly through the eye of a needle yet are crucial to the massive fig tree's survival (PBS).

I was raised to believe there was a better time coming and that our time here on earth was just a necessary wait at the bus stop to God's Right Hand. (I think our church was unusual in that it believed in a "Kingdom on Earth" and if deemed worthy for admittance we would be transformed.) I remember feeling guilty for not wanting my life as I knew it to end, to be taken from my parents, my sister, from a future husband and children. The idea of being flung into the heavens was a literal nightmare to me (read my fictional take on a dream I had at age six that has stuck with me for the last 30 years).

I no longer wait at that bus stop. I decided to walk away with my feet planted firmly in this lifetime, using and being grateful for the gifts I was born with. And to love this earth and all its people - now.

While waiting for a choral rehearsal to begin in the deep southern town I called home for three very long years, I was chatting to a fellow soprano. The details of the conversation have deserted me but how it ended are etched in my memory:

Ah caint wayt to git mah waings!

I was so astounded I could say nothing. I thought how sad it was that someone who was about to lift her beautiful voice - her gift - in the refrains of the expressed gift of the composer and conducted by a man who was in turn sharing his own gift of musical ability, would be wishing to be somewhere else, someONE else. To me, there is no greater gift than to be given the chance - the potential - to use and share our talents, to express our creativity here in the greatest expression of creativity - this world.

I do believe we are here on this planet to fulfill our potential, whatever that may be. I do believe "heaven" is the high we get from doing something we love and the challenge of learning how much more we can achieve (see my post on "Flow"). I also believe we should be helping others to recognize and pursue their own potential through teaching and compassion. I believe "God" is the creative energy within everyone of us, the spark of intuition, and the ability to heal and comfort ourselves through the inner wisdom we all possess and have access to through prayer, meditation, dancing, drumming, or writing.

You may question how I can prove any of this. I can't. You can't prove a feeling. (Although thousands of fellow artists, thinkers, and former fundamentalists will tell you similar things). And I don't need to. I am living the way that makes the most sense to me.

And I am at peace. Isn't that what any loving father would want for his children?

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