Monday, October 4, 2010
So what was God’s plan?
His plan was to get a group of men to come together to build. To brand themselves uniquely with different names, different modes of worship, so that there could be some sort of uniqueness. His plan was to get people together in gatherings where in unity they would sit down, stand up, dance, clap, pray, raise hands, wave hands, talk to their neighbours, give an offering when told to. His plan was that there would be a unique language, or parlance or lingo, used by faithful faithfuls that made no sense in the actual language but that was understood in these unique circles, with words like ‘I am strong’ when one was sick, or ‘it is well’ when one needed to talk, or ‘My brother’ when you gave no thought about the welfare of the other.
His plan was that after each service, people walk out into godlessness, not aware of His ever-watchful eyes as they went about their business. His plan was that people could rip each other to shreds, with their mouths, with their actions, with their intentions…and even do so in the name of the lord – and yet feel nothing. Or maybe not feel nothing, but feel that what they felt, that little nudge of a still small voice was nothing.
Going on, his plan was that the few men who would build, and brand would also stand grand above the faithful band of God seekers, and would show them how to obey God, how to live for him, how to live their lives, how to handle every detail of their lives…because they knew about each and every one of these God seekers, their pains, frustrations, their backgrounds, their learning styles, their hopes, dreams and their divine destiny. By virtue of ‘leadership’ they knew it all.
Maybe God sits, silent, watching and constantly waiting, hoping, loving- and knowing.
Maybe if God was man he would wonder why Adam walked away from his love, why he called to the people and they elected Moses to be a go between, when, like a father, he wanted to dance with them all – because he could.
Maybe he would wonder why, after he grudgingly allowed Moses to ‘lead’ these people, they still did not come close. They drifted further and asked for a King. Maybe it would have torn his heart, wondering why men always seemed to prefer substitute relationships instead of just being with him. For Christ's sake, he had been enough for Enoch, and Abraham and Moses and Jacob and Paul! Even Moses, like Saul, was bound to fail, because what the people did not understand was that God alone had all it took to lead them and relate with them.
And maybe, if God was mad, in between teary eyes and a longing heart, he would have sent his son to change it all. To make all things new, watch as his kid was beaten and bruised as they both pursued a new living way. And as we all know, they both gazed in smiles as the veil was ripped in two, worried Pharisees scurrying like mice, not understanding with open blind eyes the prophecies that were fulfilled that should have made them as glad as aged Simeon. Their hearts were used to a norm that they would do anything to live by and live for, and even kill for if necessary, with God’s words…aye, they would try to kill Lazarus and send him back to his lodge in Hades!
But scarcely was the veil ripped that the weakness of man unfurled again. From all being equal and being brethren with the Lord, all having all things in common and all seeking, knowing and fellowshipping with God, person to person, each knowing him and telling the other about their unique fellowship, a fellowship that brought a true, sincere bond, there slowly came Constantine and Luther, service on a Sunday morning and cathedrals, priests made way for pastor, both complete with robes and a worshipping crowd. The rituals were taken away to become the service order – and the Centre, the very Lord, became the ‘other’, sitting silently in services, as men’s eyes watch with delight at dancing, purring pastors in clean suits and flashy carriages. Deacons and the board fight to climb the corporate religious ladders, to uphold the unique ‘Christian’ brand, as business techniques are taught during the rituals, pardon me, the service.
The sermon is over, the building now called church, and believed to be the House of God, is empty. The houses of God who will receive none of the tithe and wonder why their souls are parched have gone into their cars, or buses to go back to the routine of a godly godless lie…pardon me, life. The doors are finally closing, the cleaner comes through and all is quiet in the building, quiet enough to hear the silent drip of tears.
I had hoped that they would want to TRY to know me, to try to seek me personally. Not fight about things I said in letters written by dead men, that were to be directions to seek ME. Not base their lives around dogma that did not draw them close to me.
But maybe John is wrong. Maybe all is well. We are happy and we are ‘blessed’ in all that we do for ‘God is with us’ and ‘it is well’, for ‘we shall not die but live’, and are ‘covered by the blood of Jesus’
Or maybe the simple question is, if it’s not ALL about HIM, what the HELL is it all about?
My wife and I were spending the evening with a newly married couple. The husband happens to be a popular musician, and as we talked about some of the huge challenges of the music industry, life and other matters, he said he had known his wife for 13 years before they got married. She’d known him, his travails and had been his friend when he was not popular. It reminded me of my wife. We had known for 11 years, and it still seems a bit funny to realise we are married. You see, my wife is calm, easy-going, very discreet, extremely cautious when making decisions, not confrontational, but strong-willed.
She was a ‘good girl’, and when I was younger, I kinda’ liked some ‘fireworks’ in a lady!
Well, as it turned out, I wasn’t her type either!
Well, apart from being perfectionist, stubborn, overtly analytical, moody, very intense, crazy, abrasive, cynical, adventurous, God fearing, God tempting, erratic and sometimes weird, I think I was an ok guy.
But, despite our many ‘differences’, she had always been easy to talk to, we shared some very core values, had similarities in what we wanted out of life, and our conversations were meaningful. In short, she was, and has always been, a good FRIEND.
At this point, I have to say a few things. The ideal soul mate is not necessarily the person you are physically attracted to from the word ‘go’. Reason being, physical beauty fades. It’s also not someone who you FEEL so passionate about and can fly over the moon for in the heat of romance. Well, romance, like fireworks, may really light up the night sky – but it does not last and hence, cannot be used as a foundation for a lasting relationship. Besides, once you learn how, romance, like fireworks, can be manufactured easily!
Many times, your soul mate is that person you can let your hair down with, you can talk to for hours, who you can drag along to see a movie when you need company, who you can watch a movie with or just sit in comfortable silence with. It’s that friendship that lasts.
A soul mate is not someone who agrees with you on everything. There is a word for constantly agreeing with someone on every issue.
It’s called ‘faking’.
You are aware of their flaws, but those are flaws you can live with…and this is very critical. Everyone has a set of flaws and weaknesses AND everyone has a set of some particular flaws and weaknesses they can LIVE with (and have capacity to endure), without breaking down. Now while I am not for partner battery, some people have capacity to handle that when their partners dole that out. John Wesley was said to be dragged around the house by his hair when his wife was angry with him. I also know of instances where a lady believed a man was ‘IT’, married him and started getting beaten regularly. She took it for about 3 years – and suddenly, it stopped and they now have a wonderful relationship. Now, in the short run (which must human beings judge almost anything by) it must have appeared to all that he was a wrong choice.
But in the search for a soul mate, very simplistically, your soul mate may already be your friend. You may not just be seeing him/her as that special someone.
People watch movies and see the cars, glitz and ‘bling bling’ – or see the flashy lifestyle of the corporate and rich. With that as a background and knowing that women innately long for security, while men long for satisfaction, what we come to see and define as ‘security’ or ‘satisfaction’, many times, have already been pre-determined by society and the media. We say we are making an ‘informed decision’ when we choose a rich, good looking man with ‘prospects’ (which is basically an attempt to predict the future based on a limited understanding of the present, the variables that created the present, and NO knowledge of what the future really is like.) We choose a good looking lady, who speaks well, comes from a ‘good family’ and who we look good with.
I must say, it's quite shallow.
A really good way to make choices when looking at prospects is try to see all prospective partners, years down the line and all having the exact same cars, assets, looks or whatever…and then ask yourself, if they all have the same level of all things you desire, WHO would you rather be with?
Because, the ‘WHO’ is the person on the INSIDE.
And this is where I’d like to examine another expression used when it comes to marriage. I hear the expression, they ‘made it’ to the altar.
The altar is JUST a start. After the altar is where the journey really begins.
You see, a marriage is REALLY only a success IN RETROSPECT.
In my opinion, a marriage is successful when one partner leaves…to the afterlife AND where there was understanding and mutual ACCEPTANCE before the demise of one of the partners. Truth is, no matter how rosy or sweet any marriage appears to be, it’s still a movie in progress and no one knows the end. So some marriages start with a band and a bang and all things nice, and fall slowly into decay and divorce. Some start with no fanfare but the individuals bond and have a lasting relationship that is way beyond a public display of affection. And some, they just undulate ALL the way.
I’ve read of several divorce cases after 40 years of being together. So a marriage can hardly be said to be ‘successful’ or ‘over’ till the very last day – and this is a very vital lesson that those in and out of marriage must understand.
Before I round up this article, there is a phenomenon that plagues many marriage relationships. You see, may people realise, after they get married, that they still feel a close bond to someone from the past. They find a close friend, of the opposite sex, easy to talk to, easy to confide in, and so on. Many start to wish they had married their friends or wish they could undo the past and so on. Many, unconsciously, start to flirt a little, or some have outright affairs. I think it comes from a little misunderstanding about how we are as human beings.
Your partner is NOT the ‘ultimate’.
Simply because, NO ONE is the ultimate when you live close enough to see their flaws. You will always find someone prettier, more god-fearing, more sensitive, more sexually appealing, richer, and more intelligent.
And now I will re-state that sentence as: You will always find someone who APPEARS TO BE prettier, APPEARS to be more god-fearing, sensitive…and so on. And then when you divorce, you find out your new ‘angel’ has broken wings and a huge set of flaws, and you did not give enough time to develop the skills needed to live with, and bring out the best, in another person.
Do not get me wrong and go shaking your head in disdain at divorcees.
Marriage can be HARD sometimes (though it’s a lie that it is always tough) and each relationship is almost twice as dynamic and complex as the individuals in the relationship.
I have to be spiritual here. When you marry, you become one. In other words, your partner becomes, REALLY, your soul mate. In other words, you are one, but you may not know it or FEEL it YET. And whether it is admitted or not, divorced couples will always find a small part of themselves still wanting the other. There are loads of books on the subject, so you may try picking one up if that is a challenge at the moment.
In summary, don’t be led just by what your eyes can see. Many of those things will fade away in reality or because you get so used to them that they don’t count. Your soul mate, many times, may just be a friend, but it will be someone who you feel at ease with. That individual WILL be flawed, but it won’t be flaws you can’t handle. Do not be stupid and get in or out of a relationship because someone said ‘God said’ or ‘God said no’. Whatever your decision, have this firmly engraved in your mind: The ceremony will end and every one will go home, but only you and that person will live under the same roof for a long, long time. Your kids will have that person’s face, attitudes and mannerisms, and very possibly, core values.
That really helps to put things in perspective, doesn’t it?
Also, in your heart of heart, when you are with someone who you should not be with, you WILL KNOW. You may fight it because the person is nice or likeable or because you have been together for a while. But that internal compass is of extreme importance. It does not make the person bad or good. It just means the individual is the best fit for someone else.
And this is where I write the most liked, and at the same time, most hated words of many authors
Ah, I hated marriage! I definitely found all the expressions used to describe it slightly morbid:
I tend to think in pictures and flowcharts, so the expression, ‘settle down’ always reminded me of a sad floating object, slowly losing buoyancy, and finally sinking down to the bottom of a dark, lonely, well, where it would sit still FOREVER and gather slimy moss, or ‘Tie the knot’, which conjured pictured of tying a noose round the neck of some sad male, doomed to be led (for life) by an aggressive or manipulating female...or a combo. ‘Getting hooked’, that was definitely about dead fish on a slab! Worse still was the fact that one of the incentives for marriage was legit sex (or sex accepted by religion and society).
Now, when I was younger, the notion of sex meant crossing the final frontiers and a definite final loss of dignity, bringing pictures to my mind of two writhing groaning and moaning worms in soft earth, spurting smells and fluids, and chaffing as they strove for ecstasy!….Ewwww!!!
But that was then. I got married and it’s been one hell of a fun ROLLER COASTER. I guess I should have gotten on board earlier!
Truth is, marriage is a double or nothing deal. It’s nice with the right person. HOWEVER, when it’s with someone who MAY not be best fit, now, that’s a veeeeeeery rotten deal. Like a female friend of mine said, nothing will hurt like a being married to someone who doesn’t look at you lovingly anymore. I have also been opportune to sit between couples who have lost ‘the fire’. You sit still in uncomfortable awkwardness and finally happen upon a profound revelation – thumb twiddling demands real skill!
My take on marriage is, it’s simply a process where you get to choose your roommate FOR LIFE, and you take on the job of becoming all you can be, as you help the other person to be all they can be. You’re allowed to have sex and children may come along the way to TEMPORARILY add a sizzle to your life and learn, hopefully, how to live properly…but at the end of the day it’s just about the both of you. Finally, you have someone who is duty-bound to laugh at your dry jokes, because tomorrow night you WILL be by her side watching ‘sex and the city’ (or some ‘happy’ program about dolls and wishes, and romance with everybody dressed in pink!)
But somewhere out there, for the unhooked, is, most likely, the woman or man for you. What I have come to realise is, it’s not about if a potential partner is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. From personal experience, you can be dating the perfect lady and still know deep, deep, deep, deep down inside (if you know anything about listening to your internal compass) that this wonderful person is the best thing for ANOTHER person, not you. But the uncanny truth about lasting relationships is that many times your soul mate who you click with, or your ‘knight in shining armour’ who will cross the oceans for you (when that special one sends you emails from abroad via the internet) may be right in front of you.
Yep. Right in front of you.
Now before I get all theological and talk about how Eve was always in Adam, though he could not see, and how because she was his soul mate, she just clicked with him, (Check out how they BOTH made a bad decision because that is a sad part of their ‘clicking’), what sustains most couples through the seven big baddies is the good old ability to COMMUN-icate. Before I go further on that, the seven big baddies are:
CHANGE (in finance, status, life cycles, hormones, jobs, living conditions…etc)
And of course, IN-LAWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(Gbaaaunnnn + fireworks!!!!)
Now, there is so much talk, especially due to our movie-influenced pseudo lifestyles, about meeting the ‘one’ who sets you on fire, or having a passionate romantic relationship, or someone whose kiss sets off fireworks in your head, and makes one of your legs go up…duh! And of course, many want a relationship where their man spends ‘quality time’ (which, sometimes, means all day) with them (while making lots of money and doing several jobs at the same time…SOMEHOW!), where their wives can discuss business concepts with them, while taking care of the house, and the babies, as she does the dishes – and while pounding yam AND reciting scriptures, and once in a while, letting off ‘delicate’ farts that smell like Prada.
Three hearty cheers for the hopefuls.
I am not here to burst any bubbles, but let’s come back to the real world for a split sec. This article is about searching for a soul mate. The mythological background for this concept is that human beings were creatures with four legs and arms. Don’t look at me funny, because SOMEHOW we kinda’ looked good! But the ‘gods’ thought us too strong and split us in two, and now, sadly, we have just two legs and two arms. Imagine what David Beckam would have been like on the ball. But, according to the story, man was split in two and now, searches for his other half to ‘complete’ him.
On a serious note, as one goes through teenage years and makes the transition into adulthood, one experiences a growing level of self-realisation. You start to ask questions about who you really are, why you are on earth and what your purpose is about. At some point, we start to gravitate towards our dominant thoughts, or better still, our purpose. So, some will do anything to make money, while some will focus on a career, and some others will feel they were created to perform a specific task. Now, whatever a person’s purpose, known or unknown, there is always need for help in achieving that purpose.
And some level of assistance is needed to help you get to your purpose.
It’s also true that if the crew you set out with on a journey do not have the right skills, qualities and competencies to get there, you may not get there, or you may experience a lot of difficulty getting there, or you may have to let go at some point, and try to go it alone – or look for a suitable companion (or companions) for your journey.
You can easily deduce at this point that the quality of who YOU are, and who you are WITH, both play a major role in accomplishing life’s goals…or at a more serious level, your unique purpose.
To be continued…