Gary Larson Depicted IT So Well...

Gary Larson Depicted IT So Well...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I am not sure where we get the idea that God’s Will for us and our version of a happy ending are at opposite ends of the table. I don’t know why we think that we might want to go to France, for example, while God might want us to stay home and wait tables at Joe’s. Somewhere a lot of us seem to have gotten this idea that if something is fun, then it’s not on God’s menu for us. Kind of like “Okay, I want the lemon meringue, but God probably wants me to have the lettuce leaf, so I’ll just order the lettuce leaf . . . .”

I think a lot of the ideas we have about God’s Will are actually somebody else’s bad idea, if not ours, then our culture’s. We’re still pretty sin-soaked and Calvinistic in some ways, like most of the great dancers were maybe forced to walk the plank while the Mayflower was crossing over.

Personally, I think God may love to cha-cha——and even to slow-dance. I think God might have built in a sort of honing device that works like this: “Want to find Me? Look inside and see what makes you happy.” In other words, dreams may not be cruelty from God but clues about finding the Hideout. Maybe a spiritual awakening doesn’t mean “Okay, the fun’s out of here.” Maybe it means “Oh, the fun is beginning.”

I think that maybe my dreams come from God and that my version of them is sort of the rough draft. I start to work on a dream and God comes along and finishes the sketch, or draws another doodle I like even better. I’m thinking about how to tolerate the lettuce leaf another time and God is baking the lemon meringue pie I really want or the coconut cream I like even better.

One of the problems with believing that God wants me on the lettuce-leaf diet is that then anytime I actually get a bite of something sweet, I am sure God is going to yank it away. This is what I call Indian-giver God. (Although why do we call it Indian giver? Weren’t we the ones always taking things away from them?) In any case, you get the idea. It’s this belief that God hates square dancing and Dior and really gets off on Gregorian chant and burlap.

It has occurred to me over the years that maybe God’s got a pretty full emotional keyboard and we are the ones who get stuck in the somber and depressing keys.

We’re the ones who say “Forget going to France. Be happy if you don’t get the red-eye shift.”

I am not saying that God’s Will for us is always manic and cheerful like a Road Runner cartoon. I am saying that there might be a much wider picture than the part we focus on and a much nicer sound track than “Woe is me, here we go again.”

When it comes to God’s Will, I think we’ve got a tendency to act like God is one of the networks and we’re in for another year of cop shows and yuppies who live in the same building. We have a tendency to expect God’s programming to be “You live and it’s not a lot of fun and then you die.” We tend to get ideas that God is a very serious character—and that we lack character ourselves if we want God’s Will to be anything other than the good shift at Joe’s.

I have noticed that we have a pretty humorless version of God. We ignore baboons with bright red asses and hummingbirds and puffer fish and act like maybe the footage of war and famine is God’s fault and God’s Will and not our own nasty monkey business. If everything wrong, rotten, bad, and depressing is God’s Will, then it really lets us off the hook. If famine is God’s fault, don’t send CARE packages. Let them thrive on the same lettuce leaf God want us ordering at Joe’s. If we’re depressed and miserable—blaming it on God, well then, it makes helping other people seem like one more dreary chore, doesn’t it? Kind of like helping your sister clean up her room.

If, on the other hand, our idea of a good time might be all right with God, even something God might give us a hand with, well then, it isn’t quite so hard to pitch in and help somebody else, is it?

It’s my spiritual experience that if we remember the “play” part of “play nice,” then God’s Will doesn’t seem quite so grim and scary. If we’ve got to wait tables at Joe’s for a while, we might flirt with the cute Jamaican cook and learn to make Key lime pie.
Julia Cameron