Sunday, August 12, 2012

Practicing the Presence of God

The last time my husband Bill almost died, I got a pretty good but unpublished essay out of the experience. Times have changed, bringing blogging along as a medium. But writing to think things through remains a motivating factor for any writer. So I guess I'll blog my way through this crisis, since I am a late adopter of new media. 

Another new thing in my life is that I am a seminary student. I was at the Earlham School of Religion doing an intensive course in spiritual formation. When Bill had his car accident, I was literally in the middle of the two-week course, miles away in another state, and without a phone signal (TMobile has heard from me about this). So I was in good spiritual shape to make the trip. Good student that I am, I learned a lot on the way. 

how to drive safely at 80 miles an hour;
how to imagine that Jesus was my navigator (I was hoping to get reacquainted with Jesus at seminary, and suddenly there he was in my car, like a handsome stranger had sat down next to me and said, "I'm here to help: take I-465, not I-865");
how to have real honest-to-God faith that God would get me through;

"God doesn't give you more than you can handle" has always struck me two ways. At times it strikes me as a meaningless and insensitive platitude that can annoy a grieving or shocked person. At other times it strikes me as true spiritual folk wisdom. It's true, even if not terribly original.

My husband and this accident help me understand the Bible and biblical history. I think of him as Paul, knocked off his horsepower on his way to Champaign-Urbana (you should see the horse), with God saying, "Bill, Bill, pay attention." It may not seem that way to Bill. But he doesn't mind being prayed for and he is spiritually open, even if uncommitted. And I think the story of the Road to Damascus is a memorable metaphor for abrupt change, catastrophe that is transient -- Paul is blinded only temporarily -- and course correction. 

So I am trying to make God a drinking buddy (I hear his son has a line on good wine) or become more aware of the presence of God in order to get through this crisis. Please continue praying and thinking healing thoughts; Bill has surgery scheduled tomorrow. 

Feedback welcome, especially theological feedback.


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