“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
I have spent a great deal of my life seeking perfection. I thought perfection meant a beautiful rose garden in the front of our house, straight As, and my parents would never get mad, that my siblings and I were the model children. I realize, looking back on the days when all of those criteria were met, I still felt we weren't perfect and that we just weren't there yet. And I tried so hard to fix it all the time.
I asked myself today why I needed perfection and I realized it was because I wanted to be happy, and feel loved and accepted. I didn't feel those ways and I couldn't understand why. I kept trying harder and harder. I thought if I just did enough, said enough, prayed enough, I would deserve to feel that way – that God would grant me those feelings. But that isn't what happened. The more I tried, the more unhappy I felt.
Finally, I gave up on the idea of a Higher Power or a God because I was in so much pain that I simply couldn't believe in a Higher Power that would allow me to feel that pain. I used to think “God is a sadist. If not, miracles would have been sent to me every day to save me from this life.”
And I was looking for miracles. So great was my pain and resentment, that I wanted an equally great apology from God. I wanted miracles. Big miracles. I was looking for a booming voice from the skies telling me it would do exactly what I want. But that wouldn't have helped me at all.
Instead my Higher Power gave me exactly what I needed. Which, at times, included painful situations to allow me to grow into the person I need to be. That was a big miracle in itself to be loved so much that rather than submit to what I wanted, I was given what I needed. I am reminded of parents allowing their child to take their first few steps and fall. And the child would cry from the pain, and while the parents would give love, support, and encouragement, they allow the child to learn to stand up on its own because they know it needs to learn so that it can learn to walk.
I did not realize that back then. I guess I didn't realize because I was looking for God to make an amends for what I felt that I was put through. I smile at the thought now that I was like a child angry with its parents for teaching it to walk. So, of course I didn't see it, because my Higher Power never did anything wrong to make an amends. My Higher Power only ever loved me. And my Higher Power tried to show me that constantly. Every time I found a book I loved to read, or an activity that I enjoyed, or a cause I felt passionate about. They were little miracles to make me smile or feel connected with the world around me. In this way, I was given love, support, and encouragement while I learned how to stand and walk.
Today, I connect those moments of happiness with my Higher Power. Anytime I encounter a corny joke that makes me laugh, a flower on my walk, a hug from a friend, a wise word from a Sponsor, or a kiss from a loved one, I remember that it's a big miracle sent to me to remind me how much I am loved and accepted by my Higher Power, and I am happy.
A meditation for July 26, 2013
Watch Over Me – Bernard Fanning*
*Thanks to Heidi for the song suggestion!