Saturday, September 02, 2006
As a teenager in church we're taught that God has a wonderful plan, and that it includes all the desires of our hearts, with a large order of fries, and that He will just lead us into it, if only we will refrain from smoking and having sex.
Naturally, with the death of so many other ideas, it was only a matter of time before this one hit the chopping block, and I really did want to put it off, because it's such a nice thought. Is it wishful thinking? Is it one more tactic for managing the angst of a youth culture with a grainy future?
Sometimes I wonder if just about all religious terms actually describe scientific laws or common sense principles. They just put a spiritual twist on it, so we don't have to go through the grief of learning how it actually works. "Jesus said it so it must be true," or "It's in the bible so just do it."
Like maybe there's no such thing as "calling," just a natural convergence of temperament, talent, and interest? Sometimes it's hard for us to figure out where that convergence lies, so we want God to call us to it, or tell us where it is.
But maybe it's just a construct. In that case, what is the implication for my life? In what ways to I need to change my approach to life? The reason I always liked the divine plan idea is because I never could decide what I wanted, so I was glad that someone would decide for me. I just didn't have faith in myself to choose my own path.... I was certain that once I chose, I would want something else. And I still feel the same way? Maybe I actually have more choice in the matter than I thought I did, but the fact is that I don't want that choice. It's too hard to make.
The christians always say, "if you can do it yourself, your dream's not big enough" and sometimes I wondered if they were just setting us up for disappointment. And when you've been trained to always expect such earth-shattering greatness from your life..... I think a lot of those kids I grew up with have abandoned that ideal, but they don't talk about it, or maybe even think about. At some point, they just settled for a bungalow on 2nd street and a mediocre marriage, maybe even a couple of kids. Some people would say that raising kids is earth-shattering, and I would tend to agree, but you know that the person who had those kids was planning to.... oh, I don't know, reclaim the sahara desert and end starvation in africa, and in that person's mind, they have settled. Have they? Or did they have an epiphany, in which they realized that we were encouraged to focus on the wrong things? Either way, they have given up on the paradigm handed to them, and adopted one of their own....
I don't know. it's first thing in the morning, and I woke up wondering. Wondering about my future, if God had it all planned out, and it was just a question of following the next clue, or if it's all me.... if I just have to decide what I want and make decisions accordingly, and stop asking myself if it's part of God's plan. Part of me wants to move to africa and raise little brown babies and resolve the energy crisis, but then part of me wants to move into a bus and live a minimalist existence, writing to support my travelling habit and my two hungry dogs. Part of me wants to marry a guy with a solid job so I don't have to work, and move into a bungalow near the park, and take tai-chi and kung-fu, and feng-shui my house and build solar fountains out of copper tubing.
I can't very well do it all, now, can I? And quite frankly, things have to fall into place that I can't control, in order for any of these to be the path I pursue. Things like..... oh.... men, just for starters.
I think that the root of it all is that I don't feel qualified to choose my course, so I really want to believe that God's got it all sorted out, but now I feel doubtful. That's really the gist of it. And I'm not sure how stop doubting, or find out if my doubt is justified.
I heard somewhere that in buddhism you try not to focus on the past or the future, because that way you only get lost. you should focus on the present instead. That's kind of what I've been feeling lately, that I just want to be totally present in my life today. I don't want to sleep through my life, thinking I'll just one day wake up in God's plan. If He has one.
You see? This is why I don't normally post in the morning.