DO YOU EXPERIENCE GOD?

LOOKING AND FINDING GOD WHERE YOU MIGHT LEAST EXPECT

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MY EXPERIENCE OF GOD

"I have a hard time believing there is a God....I pray, but really devastating things continue to happen to me....I don’t know what I could possibly be doing wrong, but life continues to kick me in the ass....I look at the mean people in my life and they have it all. How does that work?"

Or even more disconcerting,

"I can’t really complain, you know, I’m healthy, have money, but the important things I’m looking for, like a relationship, never show up for me, and I’m getting older, and well, I work hard at living perhaps not a religious life, but certainly a spiritual one, and I just always assumed that God would send the right person, but I’m beginning to realize that I don’t experience God anywhere in my life. I mean I make a place for God, but God never shows up."

I could hear the emptiness in this person’s soul. It was like dropping a rock into a deep well and never hearing it hit the water.

I’ve never been much of a believer in the reward and punishment God (except when I was young) who sits around waiting for me to be good so God can send me blessings, or bad, so God can send me plagues. Nor do I believe in the slot machine God. You know sometimes you luck out and God gives you a "jackpot" and other times you walk away empty-handed. No rhyme or reason. It’s a mystery! Actually these are the notions of God that most people hold to be true, but unfortunately represent a three or four year old level of moral development. http://www.aggelia.com/htdocs/kohlberg.shtml

At age sixty five, I can tell you that my own experience of God has definitely evolved. I thought I would share that evolution with you in this hub as well as some thoughts I have about what might be conducive to experiencing God in your life. And it has nothing to do with behavior, the golden rule, penance, flagellation, abstinence from all pleasure, saying the St. Jude prayer every day, reading scripture, saying the rosary, going to church, tything or teething I know all of that seems helpful to some folks. But I want to explore some other elements of one’s life that may set one up ahead of time to experiencing God or NOT.

And I have no particular credentials for talking about God, except I live on this planet with the rest of us, and I keep asking all the same questions that everyone else does, and I enjoy asking the questions and exploring for--answers? Insights? More questions? Well, those too, but again, I’m looking for ways to experience God. And my hub is just a personal sharing which hopefully may "inspire" your own thinking about God and perhaps some revelations about where God banks, whether or not God is vegetarian, and maybe even whether or not OJ is guilty. But seriously, I hope the hub inspires you to do your own reflecting.

I thought I would first share with you a little of my actual life experience of growing up in a family with a Mom and Dad being what they used to call "staunch" Catholics. Do they still use that term? Well, yea, I know, they use it politically all the time, staunch Republicans. But do they still use it in reference to your religious denomination? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. The fact is we were staunch Catholics, so staunch that my Mom insisted that we were THE Catholics in the neighborhood. And I never questioned her. We were THE Catholics in the neighborhood even though I walked to Catholic school every morning with dozens of neighborhood kids. But I guess they were JUST Catholics. We were staunch, THE Catholics!

We were so dedicated that we chased Jehovah Witnesses off our front porch by throwing Douay Version Bibles at them and squirting them with a hose and shouting out the words of Baptism as we sprayed them! If my Mom was born in an earlier time, she would have been Joan of Arc. My Dad probably could have been Thomas, the Apostle. Yes, doubting Thomas, but heck, you still have to give Thomas credit. He was, after all, an apostle and not only followed Jesus, but preached his Gospel. We all have our doubts! It’s okay, Dad. Not a bad comparison really. I still love ya. My Dad is dead, you know, but I think he keeps track of the things I say about him, and has a way of haunting me every once in a while to get even.

To set the record straight, my Dad got up every single morning at the crack of dawn, not exactly an inviting image, and not exactly a fun thing to do, especially in winter. So up he was at the crack of dawn and off to St. John’s Cathedral where he served 6:30 mass. For those of you who are not Catholic, just figure, it’s a big deal and quite a spiritual practice. The nuns, who also attended the same morning service, thought my Dad walked on water. And when I was suspected of engaging in some hanky panky (unfortunately, I wasn’t) with a girl at the Catholic school I attended, Sister Jean Frances, the principle, said to me. "How could you even have an impure thought? Your Dad goes to Mass and Communion every morning."

I had no idea what she was talking about because I did not know I was suspect of messing around with Sylvia. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to, but I wasn’t. And not only did I not know what the heck she was talking about, but I did hear her imply she knew I was having impure thoughts, and indeed I was. My God, I was twelve years old. Of course I was having impure thoughts. But I kept it a secret, for crying out loud, especially from Sister Jean Frances. And it made me very nervous that she knew, and that made me wonder what else she knew I was up to. Did she also know about....hey, you gotta know what I’m talking about. Gotta keep a few things private here. Maybe God doesn’t know about that yet, and why should I go to hell or even purgatory on a press leak?

Okay, so back on track here. So I grew up in a very CATHOLIC family. You gotta understand, my Mom was also very ecumenical, and it didn’t take much, after Vatican II, for my Mom to get very involved in the charismatic movement. She spoke in tongues, she did. It was nothing new to my Dad. He never understood her in English, but again, I just want to give you a flavor of what I grew up in.

When I was three years old, I was helping my Mom feed the hobos. We lived across the street from the railroad tracks, and I think our house was marked. So the corporal works of mercy was just par for the course in our house. Of course, my Mom would only crack the front door when a hobo came knocking and wanting food or money. Then she would prepare a very nice lunch and send me out the back door to go around to the front door to give the hobo his gourmet brown bag lunch. Isn’t that funny? She worried about the hobo attacking her, but never worried for a second that I might get kidnapped or harmed!

My Mom, God bless her, and I think he has, was constantly ministering to someone, other than my Dad. Poor Guy! He should have dressed up as a hobo and came to the front door for a handout and then pushed his way in!

Anyhow, I grew up in a home where service to others was a big deal and just a matter of course. There were also plenty of CRAZY and UNHOLY things in my family, things that didn’t make sense, but there was still this overriding value that we are here to serve other people especially the needy. We had a lot of "strange" people showing up at our house for dinner, for hospitality, for a barbecue, and it was all out of seeing other people, no matter who they were, as somehow part of the Body of Christ. I didn’t understand that theological principle as a kid, but I knew something was a foot because there was almost no one who got turned away from our front or back door.

When I was fourteen, I went off to seminary to study to become a Franciscan priest. Kind of young, right? But that’s how it worked in those days. In some ways, those were the best days of my life. You have to understand, I was the only boy literally in between four sisters. So when I went off to study to be a priest, I, for the first time in my life, had brothers. I enjoyed being with lots of other guys, and I enjoyed doing all the crazy ass things that adolescent males do to the point of almost getting myself kicked out of the seminary. But I finally settled down.

After ten years of pursuing the priesthood, I realized that I would never be able to remain faithful to the vow of celibacy. I knew there was no way. A very very close family friend was ordained a priest in the mid fifties, and then married in the mid sixties, and as we said in those days, "left the church." In Jay’s case, he didn’t really leave the church, but obviously, the church didn’t want to have anything to do with him after he got married. But I could not forget the devastation my parents experienced when they found out. I could go so far as to grow a beard, be a hippy, and register as a conscientious objector, but I could not go on and be ordained as a priest only to later run off with the church secretary. I could not bear my parents being interviewed on Nightline by Ted Koppel. Well, the truth is, I could bear it, but they couldn’t!

"So Eleanora and Harry, can I call you Harry and Eleanora? What was it like when you first found out that Father Vernon had run off with Sylvia? Did you know they had had a thing when he was in seventh grade?" That would have killed them, so I thought.

Probably one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life, which changed my whole relationship with God, was my first sexual experience with another real live human being. It seemed absolutely natural. It was very warm, loving, ecstatic, and anything but sinful. It seemed as Godly as an experience could be. I was twenty two.

The following day, I realized that there had to be something very erroneous about my notions of God, particularly the notion that God was just sitting around, waiting for me to transgress sexually so God could punish me. Who would or could ever punish me for such a wonder-filled experience? I can hear some of you saying, "Well, I hope you’re right." If you’re saying that for yourself, cool. If you’re saying it because you already believe I’m dead wrong, then you don’t get to say that. Only I do, because I’m the one running the risk here!

Anyhow, from that day forward, my notion or, you might say, my mental model or you could even call it, my mug shot, of God changed forever. And my notions, my mental model, my mug shot of God continues to change maybe even every day. But I am relieved that I am the one in search of God. He is not looking for me. I no longer fear God like a convict being hunted. That doesn’t mean I cannot relate to the Song of Songs or the Hopkin’s poem, The Hound of Heaven. In both of these poems, God is a lover.

So what the heck am I talking about, mental models, mug shots? Well, from seven months in the womb forward, our amygdala (part of our limbic system in our brain) can begin creating mental models of life experiences. Mental models are created by repetitive life experiences which have enough similarity in neuronal firing patterns that our brain begins to generalize the experience and creates a mental model or template of the experience.

The simplest example I can give you without getting too complex is my own mental model of a fire truck. My mental model says that fire trucks are red. To this day, I can remember my toy hook and ladder. I was somewhere around three or four years old. I was fascinated by fire trucks and was thrilled to have my very own. And my toy fire truck, like ALL fire trucks, was RED. By the time I was four years old, my brain had it in cement. Fire trucks are red. So now, when I see a white fire truck or a yellow fire truck or a green fire truck, I have to stop and stare. My brain cannot automatically compute fire truck. Instead I say to myself, "Is this a fire truck? Well, maybe, but it’s not red. Let’s check it out to be sure." Yes, I back up traffic because I practically come to a stop as I pass the fire truck very slowly. And even when everything else about the fire truck looks like a fire truck, I am still hesitant to conclude that it is, because it is NOT red! By this time the cars behind me are honking up a storm! So I stop my car, get out, and shout "Hey, see that truck. You tell me what you think that is....!!!"

Well just like with the fire truck, we all have a mental model of God or you can even call it a mug shot. My earliest mug shot of God was someone very demanding, unforgiving, but also someone so vulnerable that they would actually cry if I misbehaved. Someone who would not only consider, but who would actually send me to hell for my transgressions. Damned, I was only a little kid and curious and playing show and tell with Tina down the street. Didn’t make sense that I could end up in hell for such a fun activity. Mom was forever telling me not to touch myself down below and at first I thought she was talkin Australia! She didn’t say anything about touching Tina! But I soon learned, don’t touch any down below, no matter whose it is. And as tempting as any naughty behavior might be, sexual or otherwise, that Big Guy in the mug shot had a way of knowing and keeping track!

I like the mug shot metaphor. You know, just like the police when they canvass a neighborhood and they show everyone a picture of someone who is missing or a wanted criminal. We kind of do the same thing with our mug shot of God. We walk around our life looking for a God who matches our mug shot and even asking others if they have seen this person in the mug shot. And chances are you can find someone who will tell you that they have seen the God of your mugshot. The only problem is most of us have a picture of God that is not very inviting. I’ve met plenty of people, even in my adult life, that have told me that God is exactly like the person in my mug shots from childhood. "Yep," they tell me. "God is as mean and as punitive and as just, as the picture portrays." Wow!

So, as I was sharing above, in my early twenties, I began to realize that my mug shots and mental models of God from my youth were not matching up with either beliefs about the Creator or my experience of life in general. So I began to try my hand at some composite drawings. The old man with a beard, an old angry man sending down bolts of lightning, a judge holding up the scales of justice, a Jesus crying over my transgressions, a powerful person keeping track, a powerful person who could possibly be hurt by anything I did and then would hold me accountable not for my behavior, but for the hurt I caused this infinite being, no longer fit. I was looking for a God who was infinite, loving, patient, kind, held no grudges, and to top it all off, is the Source of everything.

Are you kidding me? No, I haven’t yet come up with a good composite drawing. Thank God, no one is holding their breath or counting on me so they can find God. But I think it’s a good thing I haven’t come up with one yet. Yea, you got it. That way I keep searching, keep discovering, and not settling. God’s too big for a mug shot, anyway, BUT maybe the pictures on this post give us a hint.

When I told a person the other day that I no longer look at people and get stuck seeing them as fat, ugly, mean, cruel, loser, crazy, idiot, untrustworthy, out to get me, selfish, self centered, and on and on and on, they said, "you’re lucky." I think I am. Note, I did not say I don’t see people in these ways, but I don’t get stuck in that vision. So what keeps one stuck in such devastating visions of people and life? Well, a lack of anything else to fall back on.

Obviously, when I am little, I have little or no control over my life experiences. I am totally dependent upon the big people to provide my almost total experience of life, which then creates my mental models of what to expect.

As an adult, I have choices. I do not have to surround myself with people who are standing around waiting for me to fail, people who love me only on their conditions, people who have no commitment to me, people who love me only when I have something to give them, people who rather than celebrate my successes are jealous of them, people who constantly blackmail me with the threat of abandonment, people who actually physically abuse me, people who can’t drop everything to come to my rescue, people who can’t bathe me in pure affection, people who can’t literally hold me, people who can’t tolerate my hurting them and always have to get even, people who can’t exist without me, people who can’t feel whole unless they are leading me around by a nose ring, people who can’t tolerate my imperfections, who can’t tolerate my cracked mirror. Yes we have a choice. We do not have to surround ourselves with folks who tend to thrive on being ungodly. To the extent we do, it is going to be very difficult to experience God in our lives let alone recognize God in our lives. In fact, we won’t recognize God because all of our mental models of relationships, our mugshots all look like the people we hang out with.

How to get beyond these front lines, beyond the war zone, beyond the land of rejection and abandonment? Start by acknowledging, humbly acknowledging, and it’s not a blame game, just humbly and gently acknowledging, I hang out with people who are ungodly. And it’s not even a judgment of those folks. We can all be ungodly for our own good reasons.

I remember many years ago, agreeing to meet each week with an old woman who was being trained to evangelize in our neighborhood. She was close to eighty years old. She was so cute and so sweet, and I was impressed with her desire to be an evangelist. I was not a member of her church, but I wanted to be her cheer leader all the same.

One day, she asked me to read some articles from her church and I did. When she returned the following week and asked me what I thought, I told her that I enjoyed reading the articles and that they contained a lot of helpful information. The articles were about relationships in general and marriage in particular and how to get support when your marriage is in trouble. She wanted me to read this material because I had shared with her that I am a licensed marriage family therapist.

I told her I really liked most of what the articles offered, but I was also concerned about an underlying element of hate in the articles. I told her I didn’t really understand where the hate was coming from or what its purpose was. It was subtle, but there.

She instantly responded with, "O yes, God hates those who do not follow his way." I was stunned and even more stunned because I could feel "God’s hate" emanating from her and directed right at me. If she had a gun, she could have shot me without blinking an eye! What’s interesting is that I did not say "I don’t want to meet with you anymore." She just stopped coming. Maybe she could also feel what was inside her, but did not make the connection that she was a tad ungodly. She thought it was me. And I’m not trying to deny that I am as ungodly as the next person. But I am making it a practice to be godly with the people around me, whether it is a person I don’t know, who is in line in front of or behind me at the checkout stand, or someone I dearly love. And yes, I don’t do that perfectly, NOT at all. I’m working at it. I’m swinging the bat and maybe batting .300

Here’s something else to look at. If your mental models or mug shots of God only tell you where God is NOT, then you will not look for God just where God might be after all!

What? Here’s an example. Everything in my traditional Catholic Christian training tells me that God does not exist in trees. That is what some Christians call Pantheism, yet when I stood next to a 2500 year old Redwood tree in Northern California for the first time fourteen years ago, I instantly experienced God in the tree. And subsequently, I began hiking the Vivian Creek Trail here in Southern California every Friday morning for a year. I experienced God on that trail in so many different ways it would take a million billion hubs to share it all.

When I hiked, I intentionally hiked alone and early in the morning. I was a tad afraid of bears which roamed freely, but I fortunately never came across one. But the fear was an important part of the journey. I had to rely upon the goodness of the bears, the forest, the universe, GOD, to take care of me. I had to rely upon something or someone that was beyond my self. It wasn’t easy to wrap my brain around that. I suppose if I had been attacked by a bear, I would consider what I am telling you now as totally lame. But I wasn’t. And being that reliant seemed to take me to a place where I experienced that part of God we cannot touch. But somehow you know God is there. Try it on for size.

I did see many a family of deer, and it was interesting they way they watched me and communicated with me. I also saw trees that were alive and trees that were dead and each had something to tell me about God. I saw rocks by the zillions and they often called out to me, just like in the Psalms, "Pick me up." No drugs, just an openness to Mother Nature and all she has to offer. Dan Millman in his book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior describes these kinds of experiences as well as Wallace Black Elk in his story of being chosen to be a Lakota Medicine man.

Hiking the trail also seemed to make time stand still. It was experiencing what Jon Kabat Zinn describes in his work, Wherever You Go, There You Are as living in the NOW. Zinn invites us to live our entire life as a meditative practice without ever having to take time to sit on the floor, hum, and contemplate our navel! His invitation is to live literally in the moment rather than in the painful past or worrisome future. And guess who else lives in the eternal NOW? So when you tune into the NOW, you’re opening yet another door to experiencing God.

There is a saying that really makes you think. Silence is the cup that holds the music! Say it out loud several times till you experience it sinking in. Yes, it is one of those "what?" sayings, but just let it sink in. It will eventually make sense to you. Our brain has the intuitive and imaginative capacity to get it. If you’re a musician, you probably already get it.

SO, in my experience in recent years, Silence is often the "cup" that holds God’s breath, God’s voice, God’s touch, and the knowing of God.

That is not to say that God is not in the noise, but we have plenty of that, and it might be a little more challenging to hear or recognize God in the noise. So I make silence a part of my day. It’s not a big deal. I just stop every once in a while and sit or walk as quietly as I can, and I listen to the silence. It doesn’t take much to lose the connection with the silence and to begin thinking about every and anything. When that happens, I just stop again and come back to the silence. Hiking that Vivian Creek Trail early in the morning was an "easy" way to connect to silence. The silence was so profound there that it seemed like the entire universe could hear my footsteps hitting the trail.

Another place to look for God is in the darkness. What am I talking about? Well, some of you probably already know, but my experience of God in the darkness began when one of my sisters started going blind. She was absolutely terrified and extremely depressed as the darkness gradually swallowed up her vision till there was literally no more light at the end of her tunnel. Because of heredity issues, I knew I might also lose my vision someday, so I thought it could be helpful for me to learn to be at home with the darkness. So I began closing my eyes and going into the darkness that seemed to exist behind my eyeballs. At some point, the darkness became very peaceful, a friend, a place I was even tempted to go while driving! But I’ve always resisted! Hey, I have to keep you on your toes with such a long hub.

One final suggestion is to experience God in your personal practice of SELF RESPECT, and make sure you include this in your composite sketch or your mug shot. Yes, self respect. If you can look at the way you live your life and you can come to the conclusion that you, in fact, respect yourself, then you have opened the door to experiencing a connection with God.

A few paragraphs ago, I talked about the choices we have as adults, particularly choices about the people with whom we hang out and surround ourselves. In Power of Intention , Wayne Dyer also talks about choices. He tells us that we have two choices: to be a host to God, our Source, or a hostage to ego which is our personalized notion of who we think we are. Our ego leads us to believe that we are separate from everyone, separate from what is missing in our life, and worse separate from God. We judge ourselves by our successes and failures. Ego’s insistence on self rejection is what captures us and prevents us from being a host to God. When we are a hostage to ego, we have lost self respect.

Apply that paragraph to this very hub. When I acknowledge that I am eternally connected to the Source, then I become conscious that the intention to write this hub, for example, is not about ME, but about allowing the Source to write through these fingers so you can read this hub on your computer screen at this moment. On the other hand, when I begin to doubt that I am worthy of fulfilling my intention to be a successful writer, then I block my connection to the big Writer in the sky and I disrespect myself.

If you think you are unworthy to attract God’s blessings, then that is exactly how you perceive every thing that comes into your life. The flip side, when I respect myself, then I see myself as worthy to attract an abundance of all that I yearn for. When I disrespect myself, I say no to God, and I stop the potential for good things to show up in my life.

And none of this is about so-called positive thinking. It is about staying connected to our Source and taking the risk to believe such a connection is real. It is as real as my belief that I am not worthy of good things happening in my life. It is as real as believing that there is no connection.

Dyer also tells us that when we stop believing that we are alone, then we can believe that we have a Senior Partner on our life journey . I’ve been listening to Wayne Dyer talk about this Senior Partner for about five years, and it has always sounded attractive to me, but I was stuck in unconsciously thinking that I was not enlightened enough or good enough or worthy enough to have God as my Senior Partner. As I began to connect self respect and all the challenges involved in respecting myself, I realized I needed a Senior Partner and finally allowed myself the honor. It was just there for the taking.

The most concrete way for me to "assess" whether or not I am practicing self respect is to look at the way I am taking care of myself on a daily basis. Do I get enough sleep? What foods am I shoving down my throat? What kinds of addictions am I having affairs with? How am I carrying my body? Am I walking tall? What is my breathing like? And am I taking care of my voice? And what am I giving voice to? Am I giving voice to absolutely everything I want to say yes to and absolutely everything I want to say no to? I’m not talking about getting my way here. I’m talking about simply giving voice to my yes’s and no’s so the people with whom I live and work in relationship know clearly my needs and boundaries and can then respect and respond to them.

Carolyn Sloan has a wonderful read for us in her work, Finding Your Voice . It is both a workbook for singers as well as for anyone who wants to explore the spiritual pathways available to each of us thorough our voice.

Not giving voice to our yes’s and no’s may leave us at everyone’s mercy and it is next to impossible to experience God in that place. Sometimes what appears to be the focus of Christianity (turn the other cheek), can keep us from giving voice to our yes’s and no’s. And picking up your cross and carrying it is not the same as being crucified. There is only one Jesus and you and I ain’t he. There is no line here. "Okay, you’re next. Up on the cross you go!" But if that’s what is in your mugshot of God or Jesus, then you will experience being crucified over and over again. And granted, those experiences may earn you sainthood, but they may also be the disillusionment that robs you of your faith in a God that looks like nothing else on the face of the earth and simultaneously may looks like everything on the face of the earth. Living in that paradox is like walking a tight rope, but it is also vibrant, as vibrant as the tight rope itself and provides us with that connection that is always there, but the experience of the connection too often eludes us.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING TO THE VERY END. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT AND VALUABLE VANTAGE POINTS ON THIS TOPIC.

 

Comments 38 comments

justom profile image

justom 6 years ago from 41042

Beliefs are a touchy subject that have gotten me into spirited conversations that I no longer want to participate in. I've always kinda walked my own walk and the older I get the more I like my walk. As far as silence and darkness, they've created much of my peace. Sorry I seem to say this every time I comment but I love reading your hubs (always to the end:) Peace!!! Tom


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thanks jusTOM. Well, I enjoy writing them, so you can keep telling me. I love to hear it!! I do not enjoy those ungodly "spirited " conversations either, and that's why its fun to do a hub like this! Glad the silence and the darkness has been a source of peace.

Peace. Vern


terri huerta 6 years ago

wow, I am really gonna miss the hub pages . Because once 'diana comes home i dont think you will be writing as much...do I even need to tell you how much I enjoyed this one.

see you thursday


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

I am so glad you enjoyed this. Hope you laughed a lot. Wanted it to be inspirational, but also funny. I laugh when I read the funny parts!! I've been pretty steady at publishing at least one a week for the past year!!

Thanks again for your support

Vern


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

How interesting V.I have been involved in at least 300 debates about the religion and God thing...never,and I mean Never!have I seen One person change there mind!I suspect our beliefs are so deeply rooted that incredible pressure on core values is required to change them.Perhaps that accounts for radical spiritual changes when near death,trauma,violence,etc enters our lives.Another well written hub V.Thanks

Dean


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Good morning, Dean. Yep, changing one's mind. That's why it is so cool to be able to write about this "stuff" here on hubpages, quells any evangelistic fantasies I might have and allows me to just share my experience and let it be that and appreciate everyone's different perspective or "vantage points." I am happy, though, that my mind continues to change and every time I meet God in some new way, I get to say, "are you kidding me?" or "Hey, Big One, what's with the disguise?" or "What did you say your name was? Can you spell that?" Reminds me of that ol' Cosby routine, Noah's Ark. I told a religious group, who had asked me to speak at a luncheon, that I have been in practice for so long that one of my first clients was Noah. And Noah kept asking me if I thought he was really hearing the voice of God or hallucinating. I told Noah that I really didn't know, but if he thought it was God, he better pay attention and I'm sure glad I gave him that advice! I thought it was hysterical, but everyone just stared at me!!! I sort of teased them about not laughing, but that didn't do it either!! Anywho, thanks for reading and commenting, Dean

Vern


ai 6 years ago

Oh Great Spirit, earth/sun/sky/and sea,

You are inside, and all around me.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

hey verbmuffed, thanks for sharing. I find God in listening sometimes; paying attention beginning to end and even in the middle. Just sitting and listening.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

OO! Is that how to spell OO? What you shared, storytrus, is more profound than meets the eye. the paying attention part in particular. Millman talks alot about paying attention. There is a lot to see and hear, or perhaps a lot to TAKE IN when one pays attention. Thanks for sharing, because, seriously, I've been practicing a lot of different "stuff" lately and in practicing one has to pay attention, but then one might not focus on the paying attention. I like that. It creates kind of a "buzz" when you pay attention. And thanks for my new name!

Vern


palmerlarryray profile image

palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

Wow Vern.... Amazing stuff. It's funny how much we have in common even though we all come from different backgrounds and generations. I grew up Jehovahs Witness, and yeah, I've been chased off a few porches too. When I got out of that, I went through a spot where I believed there were a lot of gods, kind of like greek mythology and they were all good or bad depending upon their mood. Then I went through a stage where I thought I was god... now Im finally content to sit back and listen. God sends his little messages when he wants me to know hes still there. We had a rough few weeks and I really had to notice HIM during that stretch. A guy I knew for years, who recently got involved with church, sold us a van after I blew up the car and he told us just pay me when you can.... I was like WOW... something has changed here because this isnt the guy I knew. and then while we were there to pick it up, still with no money, someone called and offered him cash for it and he turned it down.... it was amazing. A few days later the neighbor came over and mowed the grass while I was gone and all sorts of people have been really helping out. It has been wonderful. God does reward us sometimes even if we dont always deserve it.

Thanks for a great hub and another great reminder.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Good morning, Larry. I wasn't sure if I was going to be offensive by using the JH example. I think it's obvious it was a "little" exaggeration, but a good example of being STAUNCH! Now I'm paunch! Glad I never chased you off the porch!! THANKS SO MUCH for sharing your experiences in the last couple of weeks. Renews your faith in EVERYONE! Just wondering how you blew up the car?! I get a lot of funny images in my silly brain as I read that and hesitate to put any of them down less we both get knockings on our door from those guys in black coats!! Wonderful to have such a friend and the day will come when you will be able to give that to someone else or perhaps even back to your friend. It is so interesting how that works. Take care.

Vern


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Your hub name is obviously intriguing. Will have to check out your hubs. I am a licensed marriage family therapist and I tell people all the time, it's about healing, that's what the word therapy means. Namaste, kimberly

Vern


palmerlarryray profile image

palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

Well Vern, blowing up a car is easy. Hit a pot hole really hard and break the frame right under the radiator where it jams into the bottom of the radiator and blocks it off. The car will begin to have a vibration but you'll assume you just knocked it out of alignment. Now drive it for 3 months like this.

Now here's the tricky part. The hottest day of the summer, decide to charge the air conditioner and leave the car running for 15 minutes like the can says. The car will say it's getting hot so shut it off and let it cool down. Now check the antifreeze. Because the frame is wedged in the radiator, when you open the cap, the radiator appears to be full and the puke tank is full. Must be alright.

Now drive an hour away 2 days in a row to a) take daughter to surgery, b) Take son to hospital and c) Take said son his clothes. On trip C, park the car in the parking garage, noticing a slightly odd smell but nothing more. Visit with son for 15 minutes and return to find your car is dead. It's that easy and I offer a course in blowing up cars for $1399.95 plus tax....lol


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Seems like it would be "easier" to drive it around without oil!! Well you worked hard to blow that car up!! I hope you were not stranded for too long. Last night, I went to a performance of Music Man at a place called the Redlands Bowl. It's quite an amazing venue in that it is free. They ask for a free will offering during intermission. There is an underground garage where many people park and typically the garage is closed and locked at 10:30, but on bowl nights, the company who owns the garage agrees to keep it open later. Well, last night, someone forgot and about two hundred of us had our cars inside the locked underground garage. I thought I was going to have to walk home--about 11 miles. But someone finally came to rescue us. It was a guy in a red top with a car that was making funny noises and he drove the car into the chained link like garage door and at the very moment he hit the chain link, the car blew up and so did the door. So we were able to get home. Nah! The police came and opened the door and then made snotty remarks about all of us not being able to read the sign!! Go figure. Glad it all worked out for you and you got another car. Sounds like life could be stressful for you right now. I will send extra prayers and good energy your way. My wife is back in your neck of the woods and has been for the last two weeks. I keep thinking you are in Oregon or some place North, but you are East in MO, right? Take care

Vern


Olivehead/seed 6 years ago

Had some time this morning so read your hub and all the comments. I too at twelve was accused by Sr. Eulalia of being a prostitute basically and how could I when My father went to Mass and communion every morning and my sister was a nun----what a pile of shit!!!!!!! Anyway, I have created a wonderful vegetable garden this year and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't receive a very simple, peaceful feeling when I'm out there. I always thank God for creating all these different vegetables because they have given me so much pleasure---the simplicity of it all---vegetables----happiness!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Kimberly, thanks for your continued comments. I love just reading your words of wanting to live peacefully. Why not? Yes, it is difficult, and at almost age 65, I feel really okay experiencing God as I experience God without comparison to dogmas or laws which sometimes are developed out of something other than godliness. I have considerable "turmoil" in my life right now, but I find peace in my walks (with God) and in my meditation, and in being open to what Wayne Dyer calls Intention. It takes me out of the "awfulness" and takes me to what I can bank on, living in the NOW and the more I live in the Now, it seems that Living in the NOW and Living with or in God are synonymous. But I still feel the turmoil. I'm not at the level of the Dali Lama yet!!

And Oliveseed, Well, I knew you were into thievery, rosary beads of all things, but I didn't know it resulted in walking the streets. Should have told her that not only did your Dad go to Mass and Communion every day, but that you STOLE rosary beads! I am so happy that you are happy in your garden. I have always wanted to grow my own vegetables and really got into it one year, long time ago, and I think we ended up reaping one miniature watermelon! You got me thinking now. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and commenting. Means a "bunch" to me. It's like you're my ear of corn, my olive oil, my boroccoli. I don't know how to spell boroccoli, only how to eat it. With olive oil and parmesan cheese. Do you grow borocoli. what do you grow in your Garden of Eden?

Vern


palmerlarryray profile image

palmerlarryray 6 years ago from Macon, Missouri

lol.... I have took down a few fences that way... back when I was a kid, 17, maybe 18... I used to work night shift and the drive home the sun would get in my eyes. I would blink and fall asleep a few times a month on the same stretch and tear up this farmers fence. It got to be such a regular thing, he would call me up "You coming to fix the fence today? Yeah I'll be there when I wake up"

It's a wonder we all survive growing up. I remember when rolling cars was fun and now I get mad if someone passes in a no passing zone while my kids are in the car.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

LOL Hey, I bet that was just last week. You're too young for it to be too long ago!! I had the urge to hit all the orange cones the other morning. Wondered if I could hit each one so it would somersault into the air, one by one! Look pretty cool for a quarter mile run of orange cones!! Not sure how to practice such a feet, but it's a wild image. Drive safe, my friend. I will drive for reals and stay out of my imagination.

Vern


EnglishM 6 years ago

A good read, vrbmft. Personally, I eventually followed the advice given to us by Jesus: "Keep on asking, and it will be given to you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you."


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Leave it to Jesus! Jesus said so many wonder-filled "things" and this is one of those quotes that you do not hear quoted very often, or at least I don't. Those are good reminders because a lot of what Dyer refers to as "ego" keeps us sometimes from continuing to ask, seek, and knock. Thanks for reading and commenting, EnglishM

Vern


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Kimberly shared the link to your hub in Facebook (we have known each other online for about 12 years) and I enjoyed reading your hub! I too come from a Catholic background with priests in the family, but I prefer the spiritual life without attachment to religion (its just my choice). I love Wayne Dyer, the Dali Lama, Eckart Tolle, and many of the gurus who teach detachment, being in the now and such, but it takes a daily practice!

Thumbs up!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Hello Violet

Thanks for reading and commenting. Given your catholic background, you can especially enjoy the funny parts of the hub. I am still connected to my My "catholic" roots in many ways. There is something precious about those roots despite all the nutiness! NUTINESS! But I also dance to the beet of the Big Drummer in the sky who I found out isn't Catholic! Imagine that?

What was that about daily practice? YEP! But I am enjoying the practice these days, different from having to practice the piano when I was a little guy, ironically though, I wish I had practiced more now that I look back!! But the spiritual practice of living in the now is becoming more and more rewarding and whn people say, "Wow, isn't time just flying," I can no longer relate because it seems that I do not live in time anymore. Well, obviously, I'm not flaoting yet, so yea, I do a little bit, but not like before and I like that. So take care and stop by and read more.

Vern


Anne Lee 6 years ago

Another good Read!


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

very interesting read, and I'm southern Baptist... but my wife use to be a Jehovah Witness. - does that count?


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Anne, thanks for reading and commenting. Hope all is well with you and Miriam.

Samson, Southern Baptist is good, so is Northern. I think you're name may help at the pearly gates. I don't know if you ever listen to Garrison Keeler, but he has some really humorous stuff about the different denominations. Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting.

Vern


BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

Awesome, awesome hub. Extremely well-written too. You make so many intriguing points here.

Without going too much into my personal beliefs, I can say that your concept of God is a very sophisticated one! So many of us struggle with, even learn to hate the concept of God, or all spirituality, because of the sense of impending judgment often associated with God. Without considering that, if there is a God, He'd be more understanding of our faults and know us by far better than we'd know ourselves!

You make an intriguing point about connecting to God in situations we might not immediately associate with God--nature, darkness (!), silence. That rings so true with me. Sometimes the silence is the place where I'm most at peace; it can really be a transcendent experience. Thanks for reminding me to seek that out in my everyday life. "Silence is the cup that holds the music" -- awesome words. As a musician, I think I am starting to get it :)

The most powerful point for me was the idea of self-respect--how not respecting yourself can cause you to block God's blessings (or at least, your perception of them). When you do acknowledge your own worth, that opens the floodgates of possibility in your life. Very deep; I've bookmarked this hub and will be thinking on that concept for a while.

Great stuff, my friend. Rated up and "awesome"!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Ooo! How do you spell ooou? Well, reading your comments, Benny, gave me chills. It is so "awesome" to have someone reflect back what I wrote and get it as well. There is so much up in the air in my life, and my connection with my Senior Partner has really sustained me. I have a picture over my desk here in the office of the laughing Jesus. I don't know if you have ever seen it, but it's a marvelous image of divine humor, and if God does care about our behavior, I imagine, most of the time he is laughing and shaking his head and could care less about condemning us for any of it. And I too go through times where I totally forget about God and think I am in this big universe all by my little self, moments of either ignorance or narcissism. Anywho, you have me writing another blog here!

Thanks again

Vern


Sky321 profile image

Sky321 6 years ago from Canada

Great writing! I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing from your heart.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thank you Sky. It almost sounds like a prayer! I'm glad you can tell it is from my heart, my soul.

Thanks again

Vern


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I read this hub from beginning to end. You were certainly blessed as a child. I realize your mom sent you to feed the hobos but you were an innocent child and she knew they would not harm you, they were looking for only a bite to eat. But the way you told it was funny.

Just remember through thick and thin God is by your side. Sometimes when we ask for things God may have another plan. As I read what you wrote not only was it a spiritual journey for you but it was written from deep within. Wonderful read! Keep writing! :)


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Hello AE. God Bless you for reading from beginning to end. Your comment literally inspired me to read this hub myself one more time from beginning to end. And I

needed to. Been tough couples of weeks. And I have stayed connected and reading this hub this evening was a real reminder of my Senior Partner. God is very generous and very funny. I received a BUNCH of needed funds in the post office box this weekend, but then today, all my cash paying clients cancelled and I had a new phone line put in that would not work with my credit card machine!!! I was able to laugh and smile. I'll take care of the credit card machine in the morning. Soon enuf!

AND HOW IS YOUR MOM? I continue to remember both your Mome and Uncle Clyde on my almost daily walks.

Take care

Vern


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

@Vern that would have been funny. We have to laugh through all kinds of times, instead of getting upset. Your hub inspired me to write a journal about my mother's journey and what we are doing and what is happening. Today I published a hub so that I can find way to move through this pain and hopefully in the end, I will be able to recap and remember what was put in front of me. My Uncle Clyde is in Nevada doing clinicals and mom is taking one day at a time. SHe is home with us, but I find myself breaking down and crying at the spur of the moment. Thank you so much for your prayers and I hope you take the journey with me, it was also a way to keep everyone updated. Like a progress report. Keep on writing and your are an exquisite writer. You made me laugh, smile and act serious all in one sitting. You are an inspiration to others and do not ever forget it. :)


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thank you for reminding me of my gifts. I just left a comment on your latest hub and I really am there with you. Check out my blog entitled the first feather. http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/THE-FIRST-

And you might also want to check out the blogs my son wrote on Blog spot. There is a link to it on that hub.

Take care

Vern


Justsilvie 6 years ago

Great Reading! Your writing makes one want to keep reading.

Having spent most of my adult years jokingly (somewhat) labeling myself as a recovering Catholic or Agnostic (I never denied the existence of, but was never convinced either.)

I am finding myself later in life searching again. I am not sure what or who God is but I feel something. I know I will never become a bible carrying Christian or belong to a church but I will continue talking with whatever power that is out there because the results are feelings of inner peace and often answers that I need.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

And that inner peace is as good as a way to try to define God as any. Wayne Dyer has the meditation where you just emit the sound of "aw" as in God, and it is pretty amazing to me. When I do it, even while walking or driving, the peace is almost instant. Thanks so much for reading. I am glad you know catholicism by experience because then you can laugh as hard as I laughed writing portions of this hub. I think there may be another hub where I refer to the notion of recovering Catholic and conclude it isn't an experience you can recover from!! Yes, there is. I just found it. check it out, Sylvia;

http://hubpages.com/literature/ONCE-A-CATHOLIC-ALW...

And by the way, thanks for the email and you are welcome.

Vern


Elefanza profile image

Elefanza 5 years ago from Somewhere in My Brain

Hi Vern,

LOVE this hub! Have you ever read Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich? I read her in college and reading that was perhaps the most beautiful experience I've ever had. This society and us make it so hard to hold to love. It is so easy to let the hate in without even realizing it!

I know Catholicism in a twofold way, one being as the youth that had it forced on me at a very vulnerable time and later as a daughter in law whose husband's family has shown me such love and acceptance that I feel as though I could weep. THAT is true evangelism.

Your comments on self respect and surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting people are so true! Yet it's hard because I feel as though I can understand why people aren't always as they should be and I want to help them see their value. But there are times you just have to let it go, I think, although it's really awesome when you see them become better. I don't know. In any case, thanks for writing such a beautiful piece!

Elefanza


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 5 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thanks for reading Elefanza. I appreciate you giving life to some of my older hubs and leaving the comment. I continue to experience God in so many different ways. Most recently in the love that people have shown and given me. Sort of overwhelming actually. Kind of a new experience. Similar to what you were saying about your inlaws. I am finding that our foundation for experiencing God may rest in the first nine months of our life when we experience attachment and if our experience of attachment is a secure experience, it sets us up for experience God as a loving God and a God we can feel safe and secure with. On the other hand if our attachment experience is riddled with abandonment and chaos, then we will experience God as always lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity and a reason to abandon us and punish us. Well, I could write another hub on that one! I am happy that you are enjoying reading these hubs and I will be catching up to yours in the next couple of days. What I like best about hubpages is the way we can mutually support each other. Thanks again

Vern


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 5 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Elefanza, forgot to mention, I am not familiar with Julian of Norwich. Sounds like a writer from an earlier time and there are many wonderful "minds" from way back when and many of writer and a philosopher who gave us insights to God different from the traditionalist and more Graeco philosophical theological writers, like Thomas Aquinas. I will have to check it out sometime. Maybe tell me more about it and what Julian offers. I would be interested.

Thanks again

Vern

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