Thursday, April 06, 2006

Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret...

Do you remember the Judy Blume book of that title? Though I saw it hundreds of times in my local library as a child, I never managed to get it read. However, I was always entranced by the title.

For some reason, the title of that book has been reverberating in my head for some weeks. I almost titled by blog after it, but decided that I wanted to deal with more than just the issue of God in what I write.

What do I have in common with a twelve year old girl in prepubescent angst? Not much. Its the question that reverberates for me.

Are you there God?

That simple question. The explanation of who is asking. Simple. But is really is the question, isn't it? By which we, each of us, define our world view and frame all of our experience.

Are you there, God?

Since my son died, I have had to deal with that question. In the platitudes that were handed to me by well-meaning Christian friends. In my own soul, which has gone through periods of ambivalence, but never the full-blown interrogation of beliefs.

And when I speak of a crisis of faith, it is not that I cease to believe in God, but rather see the God that I thought I knew turn in to something terrible and unrecognizable. As if, when I ask, "Are you there, God" the answer in my soul is Yes, I'm here. Just not that terribly interested in your little problems, my dear.

I doubt many people have given expression to these sentiments as well as Jack Lewis (yes, I am obsessive - in my defense, he is often described as one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century). In A Grief Observed he wrote:
Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.' - taken from here
I feel that. I have lived those words, in so many moments of the last 16 months. And I feel as if I have two choices: to give over control to God, accept His will, and get on with things or give up these infantile fantasies of a greater power and get on with things. And I am not prepared to get on with things. I need to continue asking "The Question of God".

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