I well remember my zealous youth, coming to believe passionately in a God who loved me, and forgave me of all my sins. I was taught to believe that there was only one possible way that I could approach Him, and love Him, and that any other alternative was in its nature an evil deception. I was living with a single parent father at the time- one who most certainly did not subscribe to my convictions. I wanted to quit school at the age of 16 and perhaps go away and become a missionary. My father put the kibosh on that idea by telling me that if I quit school, I would have to get a job, and pay rent- you know, all that grown-up stuff. I stayed in school long enough to graduate early, and then went to work to save for university. The fellowship of my faith community was the only rudder that I had to direct with- and “hearing from God” in order to be in the centre of His will was of penultimate importance. I assumed that because my father did not believe (as I did), that his input- as minimal as it was- had no relevance for me. I wonder now if it was my arrogance that drove a wall between us- that perhaps he never bothered to speak into my life because he felt that his words might have been surreptitiously swept aside like so many marbles scattered across a floor. Of course there is more to it than that- and relationships are always multifaceted. However, I cannot escape the niggling and uncomfortable idea that God just might have wanted to talk to me through my dad- and I pushed Him away. For that matter, I have been guilty of using God as an excuse to do my ‘own thing’, presupposing that because I read the sacred texts and sang the sacred hymns, I had a knowledge of the Almighty’s will inaccessible to my secular family. Ah the woeful and dangerous ignorance of the young. Fortunately God has not given up on me that easily- and where nutcrackers failed, hammers and chisels have worked the Divine will of character transformation- always a work in progress.
The rigid and insecure walls of my fragile temple have been breached by an unpredictable kindness over the years. God has been flagrantly loving square religious pegs that will not fit neatly into round theological arguments. And He has broken my heart with mercy in the process- for I have seen and despised what I have been, and drowned in the oceans of my solitary weeping. On this night of miracles and candles, of Maccabees and oil, deliverance comes in the cruse of memory. I remember words and worlds of words- and how life or destruction come from such a small part of the body. I remember silence- the helpless mute roar of suffering. I remember that I am not alone- that a holy Companion bids me seek the burden that is light, and the shared yoke. I believe. I cling to the One who is Love, and will not let Him go. Forgive, O God, the undeserving one who seeks Your loving compassion in the night watch.
Restore me to my family.