How does one go from “God is trustworthy, the world is trustworthy, I am trustworthy” one week to “Everything I do is meaningless” the next? I’m not sure, but I might add “covering almost the entire existential spectrum at high speed” to my resume.
The trustworthy part arrived unexpectedly during my drive to work one day. Sometimes the universe gifts us a download of knowing after which, for a little while, we can perceive reality differently.
“Trustworthy” didn’t mean everything will be OK as we usually think of it—no pain, no loss—but rather that love fills all of life, even the hard stuff, so it’s already OK in a way we rarely notice. Also, creation has a “benevolent trajectory,” as my friend Markus says. On the cosmic, evolutionary scale, it’s all headed somewhere good, though again not necessarily good as we understand it.
I am trustworthy because God’s essential nature and creation’s essential nature is my essential nature. I’m not going to singlehandedly derail the cosmic experiment. As a matter of fact, I’m participating in its becoming, as we all are.
That was profoundly real for three days, and then literally a week later I understood why middle-aged people go out and buy little red sports cars—preferably a convertible, thank you. When all of the identities we’ve confused for our selves stop providing any sense of who we are, life becomes quite uncomfortable, and surely a sports car will relieve that discomfort.
How did I travel such an emotional and spiritual expanse so quickly? Humanity, I suspect, in the form of returning to my really healthy daily practice of not-enough-ness.
A vast chasm separates the person I think I’m capable of being from the person I’m actually capable of being. The imaginary person in my head maintains complete mastery over the physical and spiritual realms at all times. She always focuses on the most important task and completes it brilliantly, regardless of whether she got six or eight hours of sleep. At the same time, she’s riding the express train to nirvana, and it’s a straight shot.
Unfortunately, aside from being fictional, she’s missing the point. The world is already trustworthy; she is already trustworthy. There is nowhere to get to, not even nirvana. We don’t live to attain spiritual or any other kind of fulfillment. We are filled—and therefore fulfilled—by embodying loving kindness day by day, as my friend Bardwell once described his approach to life.
And we are already doing it. God is trustworthy, the world is trustworthy, you are trustworthy.
3 thoughts on “You Are Trustworthy”
Theophane is nodding.
Rachel, this made me laugh – especially the red sports car. My wiser self rarely thinks of that (plus I’d never have the money!) but I did for a moment see myself in a Magenta m. g. (if such a thing even exists). Thanks so much for sharing your journey from ego-driven actions to surrender to humble, sweet, loving.
Dodge Hellcat Challenger, in lime green or pimp purple is another viable midlife option. And I do believe it would deliver satisfaction.
“I am trustworthy because God’s essential nature and creation’s essential nature is my essential nature.”
One of the themes John Haught develops in “The New Cosmic Story” is this continuity between our individual nature and the nature of the universe as a whole. We are, he argues, both the culmination and the expression of 13 billion years of cosmic processes. Not in a sense of self glorification, but that our individual experience and being represents a facet of the nature of a universe that partakes in it simultaneously. I hear this as an expression of the union of unity and multiplicity that Beatrice Bruteau finds in the Trinity.
The imaginary character in my head is usually running around meting out Old Testament style justice. Bypassing the judge and jury phases, and proceeding directly to the execution.
This makes something of a mockery of my hope to “embody loving kindness day by day”.
Nevertheless, As my Living School friend Philip Boon likes to say – “we soldier on”.