Poor atheist has no clue that God is guiding her steps. God does it anyway. If I were God, I’d leave the poor bastard to figure it out for herself. Lucky for her and the hateful Christian that judgmental me doesn’t get to step in for God. I’m not sure who would be left if I got to sling the lightning bolts. God may not choose favorites but I sure do.
My friend loves Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God. He likes that series so much that he has a shelf full of Walsch’s books. I like the idea, but my conversations with God are never quite that eloquent. I listened to an interview on Morning Edition the other day and a writer quoted one of her son’s teachers who said, “Do you want to be right or kind? When there’s a choice, pick kindness.”
My mind immediately scoffed at the inaccurate quote. It’s supposed to be, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? We hear that quote in AA meetings pretty often. My certainty that I am right makes my stomach churl and my mind break out in resentments. Just accepting things and people as they are, not as I want them to be, keeps me way happier. But kind? What would kindness do for me? How does that fit in the equation? Right<Happy. Right<Kind. Happy=Kind? Happy<Kind?
The God of my understanding broke into my thoughts. (Pick kindness always) Really? What about tolerance? What about accepting people as they are? (That’s a good way and in the end that’s the kindest way. Kind to yourself. Kind to other people. But sometimes kindness doesn’t make you happy or right. Offer a kind word, your place in line, a smile when you don’t feel like it. When you see one of my kids at the freeway exit holding a sign, just give him money if you have it. At least, don’t start judging him. Don’t roll your eyes. I accept that you are doing the best you can when you don’t do my will; accept that he is doing the best he can.)
God sometimes reminds me that kindness extends to myself. Since my son Jack died, I can make myself feel like a failure as a parent, as a human being. There are times when I’m tired or frustrated that the voices in my head reinforce those thoughts. I don’t know if non-alcoholics have those voices but I, an alkie, sure do. They are the voices that remind me of every mean word, every hasty judgement, every lapse in mothering I made in Jack’s life. They have a retort for every defense I offer and I can end up frozen in misery. It’s in that miserable silence that God usually steps in. (Are you finished with that thinking? Do you really think that’s what I think. I am in love with you, Margaret. Stop, stop, stop killing yourself with those thoughts. They aren’t coming from me. Get up and call somebody. Don’t just sit there. Get up! Get UP!)
I’ve come to rely on my conversations with God because they follow the T-H-I-N-K guidelines (True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind). God doesn’t give me any insight on the lottery or secret knowledge about the universe. God’s words remind me that patience and tolerance are important, prod me to apologize when my words have been harsh. So far, God doesn’t tell me what YOU ought to do. Just me. And I kind of like that God. He’s my VVBFF.