This is an honest but pure blog. So please don’t judge.
Ever since I was a kid I would perpetually ask my mom “What if” questions. I would be in the car with her and I would ask her all sorts of them!! What if the sky was green? What if fire hydrants squirted ice cream out? What if dogs had a fifth leg? What if Dad was a pirate? What if there was a skeleton in the trunk of our car? What if I was an alien, (this might have been real)? What if we had wheels instead of feet? . . . . . . . Over and over and over and over again. It was a huge cycle. Just a constant wave of questions. Questions that had no answer and no solution. Questions that were just imagination. Questions that I asked knowing that there was no other way. . .
This didn’t stop when I was a kid. It just transformed. Instead of asking about the sky, aliens, ice cream, and skeletons. I began to ask: What if nobody ever takes off their masks? What if everyone is out to get each other? What if love is just an mixture of chemicals in the brain? What if heaven doesn’t exist? What if we made religion up to help ourselves understand the world? What if Jesus was just a man? . . . What if God doesn’t exist?. . . What if God doesn’t exist. . . What if God doesn’t exist. . . . What if God doesn’t exist. . . . what if? . . . .
Little by little the questions got more serious. Until I couldn’t really go farther. How can you go farther than God? I dunno… Throughout the college years and post-college I was always consciously or unconsciously thinking: ‘what if he doesn’t exist.’ I had such a problem with believing in something so abstract.
“What if” questions are not wrong. They stimulate the imagination and make us figure out problems and the best way to solve them. However, these were not simple “what if” questions. My child-like imagination had, at some point in my life, had been transformed into a cynical and analytical brain with a hunger for more logical and solvable problems. A hunger that grew to the point that it transformed again into an enslavement to the rules of Earth. An enslavement to laws, methods, equations, and evidence.
What did this mean? It meant that I never fully believed. I could never fully accept God and everything that comes with him: love, creation, hope, trust, Jesus, etc. I would sit in church or in a prayer session or a retreat and say: “Yes, I love you Lord and I believe in you.” Except, I can honestly say that I didn’t really feel it. I never really fully loved the Lord because I didn’t even believe he existed!!!
For my entire life, I have pushed this thought to the back of my head. I have suppressed it. It occasionally comes to the front of my thoughts. Those are hard times for me. I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like I am phony. I feel like that my life thus far, everything that I was doing to get closer to something that I didn’t believe, was all for naught. These times would be long nights of restless sleep, long days of endless reading, and long hours of empty prayer. In the end, I would come to the final question that God was asking me: “Do you love me?” This question would come in different forms.
Do you love me? Do you believe in me? Will you submit to me? Will you submerge yourself? Will you accept me? Will you give up control? Will you trust me? Will you be my servant? Will you have faith?
My answer? . . . No. It was always no. I could never do it. I could never give in. I could never give up. I couldn’t give God my only sense of power. My only sense of control. The ability to choose him or not choose him. By not believing in him, it gave me power over God himself. I would say no and suppress the doubt. I would move on to other things and forget about it. . . .
I was just on an 8 day Silent retreat. It was not fun. It was hard. It was tiring. It was painful. Within the first 24 hours, God drew me back to this issue. He reopened a closet that I have been opening and closing for years. A door that I didn’t not want to open again. It was a closet that I never thought would ever be cleaned out. He drew me back to this original question. Do you love me? A love that is not just a human emotion. An emotion that transcends this world. An emotion that fills the body to a point that it overwhelms us and nothing else matters.
He battered me for 4 days straight. He pounded me in every meditation with this question. He pressed the weight of these words onto my soul. He ground me into the ground. He tore me apart. He ripped away all of the gunk that had cluttered up my world. All the arguments and all the methods. All the equations and all the evidence. He tore apart this massive wall that had been created. A wall I couldn’t look over to see who was asking the question. I couldn’t hear the real words behind the question. All I could hear was a mumble. A shell of the real question. I trudged into spiritual direction everyday. Dragging my feet. Half asleep. Sore. I had been fighting. I had been wrestling.
God just continually asked me: Do you love me? . . . Do you love me?. . . Do you love me?
Jesus was on the cross one afternoon in my meditation. I was having a conversation with him. I wanted to know why. Why? Why did he do all this? Why is he doing all this? Why is he never going to stop? Why do I deserve this? Why does he want me? Why can’t he show me? Why don’t I believe?
Do you love me? . . . . Do you love me? . . . Do you love me? Over and over again he responded with his own question. But it was just one.
Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?
Something inside of me snapped. I dunno what it was. Maybe it was out of anger, maybe hope, maybe fear. I dunno, but it snapped. In my mind, I lashed out and grabbed the last brick of that wall and smashed it. As I smashed it I shouted with my heart, YES!
(this part is straight out of my journal) I said, Yes I love you! I love YOU!!! No but’s. No if’s. No maybe’s. I love you because everything in my life that is good has not been from me. I love you because I would not be happy without you. I love you because I would not be loved here on Earth without your influence. I love you because I see amazing things and hear amazing stories all the time. I love you because without you, Satan would OWN ME. I would be in a rotten relationship. I would be angry. I would be depressed. I would be jealous, hateful, and hurtful. I would be selfish. I would be addicted to lust, pride, food, and the praise of others. They would own me. BUT, they do NOT OWN ME. Those things do not own me. YOU OWN ME. They win some battles but YOU are winning the war. And I will NOT give up. I love you because if I did not have you, I would not be here. I love you because you are all that I have. I love you because you are my ALL.
He just responds: Yes. . . .
I think I will end there. I was going to wrap this up somehow but I don’t think that is necessary. I love him. I know he is here. I don’t have evidence. But I know. I know like I have never known before. I love God to the point that it hurts.