Wednesday, May 10, 2006

God and orange peel anatomy

I'm feeling better.

I had a conversation with a new friend yesterday about the white part on the inside of an orange peel. I used to eat that part as a child, thinking (God knows...) that it was somehow good for me.

I told this same friend that I cannot help but believe in God. I explained how I tried very hard not to believe in God for awhile, because I thought my faith was functioning as an excuse for not taking responsibility. And maybe it was, perhaps it still is. Nonetheless, my exercise in atheism was futile.

This was a good year ago now, after Copley and I parted ways. I thought that perhaps my faith was creating a false sense of entitlement. I was asking God to provide things I needed to take responsibility to procure for myself. I felt my faith provided a security that led to apathy. If things went badly, well, God had just ordained it that way. I thought I needed to let God go so that I could learn to take up the battle on my behalf. I had to become my own hope.

I remember thinking these thoughts while eating student leftovers in the refectory, staring out on the virginia-creeper-covered stone retaining wall that faces the building.

But I didn't really stop believing in God, not at least for more than a few hours. I took up my normal dialogue with God by sunset, whining at him Tevye-the-Milkman style. Faith in God as unbreakable habit. But the interesting thing is that since then I've incorporated my concerns about faith-as-excuse-for-apathy into my faith. I can't say it's made me a better Christian, but it has held me to a level of responsibility I didn't shoulder before. I am my own hope, because that which gives me hope is utterly beyond me and yet within me, that part of me--as Etty Hillesum says--which, for lack of a better term, we call God.

The orange peel, pith and zest included, is only a small part of it.

1 comment:

Red said...

You make me smile. Thank you