I imagine myself lying next to you when you awaken. Nothing weird or sexual about it; I’m just here when you wake up. (OK, that might be kind of strange, but stay with me.) I’ve simply been watching you sleep, wondering at you. And you are so beautiful, such a miracle… and when you awaken, you smile at me in recognition as if you expected me to be there, and I say…
Hi! Can we chat for a second?
I can’t see your beautiful eyes as I write this, not physically, but can you please look into mine while I tell you my thoughts?
You’re just awakening, still half asleep. Don’t you hate it when your dreams close their storybooks for the morning? Do you find yourself, sometimes, holding to every last detail, looking for a clue, a meaning, a relationship with a realm that is so wondrous it can only be hinted at? Or laughing at a comical occurrence, or maybe even shivering with fright?
I sure do.
Well, when you’re ready, and those dreams have flown back to their heavenly perches, and you’ve stowed away all you could from them… take a deep breath, snuggle into your pillow and blankets and listen to me for a minute.
I’ve spent over half a century now thinking of eternal things. As a child, I wanted so badly to talk to God. I knew that somehow, later in my life, I would really, really want a meeting with Him, just to see how I was doing here. Because I knew I didn’t belong here. None of us do. But more on that later. All I wanted to do was to please God. I wanted to be good, and kind, and the kind of person that would make Him proud of me.
For a long time, I believed - and taught to thousands of people over the years - that God wanted me to be like Him. That made a lot of sense to me, at the time. And you know how it is with things we’re taught and believe as children… those ideas can be very persuasive. If only glue were as sticky as the things we’re taught as kids!
It’s not even close.
So, at times, I still try to please God. I find myself thinking religious thoughts about spiritual things… and the two usually don’t belong together. In other words, I end up putting a human spin on immortal concepts and the whole things changes flavor. The truth is still in there, but it’s not quite as pure. Still, my understanding has evolved. Hey, even a blind pig finds an acorn now and again, huh? (chuckle to myself.) Hey, I saw a little smile there! I love your smile.
Anyway, here’s where my understanding is now about pleasing God.
The God that created me, and you, and everyone and everything else… He, or She or It didn’t want a clone. God could have created clones, all day long. She (let’s change it up, in case someone is in danger of thinking God’s gender is important) wanted one thing, and one thing only.
God wanted you to be you. That’s it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the highest good we can do as human beings is to be true to ourselves. And that the greatest sin is to stifle who we are, deep down. Now, that sounds like a recipe for rampant narcissism. I mean, if everyone is true to themselves like this, we might fall so far as to elect a reality TV host to the Presidency!
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
What I mean is that…well, you know that when a person dies, no matter how good the mortician, the body always still looks like a shell? The first time I saw that was when my best buddy Timmy Hadden died when I was in 6th grade, only a few days into the school year. He’d been hit by a car. I had just been riding horses with him at his house a few days before, and now he was gone.
I went to the funeral with my parents. When we stepped in, there was an open casket. My Mom, who was standing behind me, grabbed my shoulders and whispered, “Now, son, there’s an open casket. You don’t have to look if you don’t want to.”
But I did. In fact, I stood there quite a while. Timmy had his favorite plum-colored hat on, the same one he wore to school. He had Levis on, and a shirt that looked familiar, too.
But that was not Timmy.
At that moment it became very apparent to me that we are more than our bodies, more than what we call, "ourselves." In fact, I comprehended right then that the most important part of us is what makes our bodies move. The thing that Timmy had before the accident was what I loved. Our bodies, I knew then and there, are merely vehicles for something greater.
That something, my friend, is what gazes back at me right now, this morning.
I can see you, and the light you cast is… you just don’t understand how beautiful it can be. The way you smile, and laugh! It’s a relief to me when you’re nearby. I want to thank you for that. That thing… that which animates you… that came from God. In a strange way that’s going to sound sacrilegious, that is God. Or, connected to God in ways that we can’t comprehend, if you like. But I like the first description better.
So, the point I’m trying to make in this rambling monologue is that for you to try to be anything other than the deepest part of yourself is a crime. We need you to be you! That’s the part of God that needs to be here in this world now. If it weren’t so, you’d not be here.
But it’s not easy sometimes, is it? We get so caught up in things. It’s a complex world right now. So many choices, so much distraction! And what are we distracted from? What’s the worst thing we could possibly lose sight of?
Only then would we happily kill another human being, or the planet. Only then would we limit opportunities for others to line our own pockets. Only then would we lie, and cheat. Only then would we place another’s happiness above speaking our truths. Only then would we capitulate to whatever unreasonable expectations another might place on us.
My heroes have become what I call, “The Light Ones.” They’re often flawed, as far as cultural conventions go. Their lives look messy. They may even be addicts, or sexually different from me. Artists, revolutionaries, musicians, sometimes the homeless… I've found that these people are often far, far less flawed in character than they are simply blown back by the dense energy of this plane. They always sensed more, were gifted spiritually, felt far too much. And they don’t know how to handle it, so they do weird shit. But often, what they do really well, they do as a gift to us. The rest of their lives may look, oh, so disordered! But their gift is the gift of prophets and seers, if we can only look past the disorder to receive it.
I’ve been talking a while now, and I know you need to get going, but what I wanted to tell you today is that you’re a “Light One,” too. I know you are. Your life… well, it’s a bit of a mess, in some ways, huh? I want you to know that what it looks like on the outside doesn’t matter. You’re beautiful in spite of this. I mean, it’s not a consideration for someone who knows God, and I am starting to.
So, I’m telling you I just really, really want you to bring your gifts. If you don’t know them, then find them. Hint: look to your interests as a child. Kids know what their souls love.
Please... find, develop and bring them because when you do, that’s when I get to see God, too. That’s when I remember my own connection to Him, and that I have gifts, too, and I feel inspired to develop them.
And sometimes, every so often, when the You that animates your body really shines through all the noise, I get to hear what God has to say to me, just for an instant.
And that’s something I always knew I’d want to hear, at this point in my life.