Sunday, September 08, 2013

Even if I am deluding myself

Lately I've been wondering two things.

The first: Is God really good?
The second: Does God really love me?

The first is a temptation that comes to all believers. Indeed, it is the first temptation. Are you sure that there is a kind-heartedness at the center of the universe? (Browning's phrase.)

Part of my problem is that I was deceived as a kid. Not the Santa deception-then-horrifying-discovery of NOT-Santa that turns many kids off God when they realize the whole world has conspired to create a lie for and against them. No, nothing like that. But I was Jamaican and back when I was growing up Jamaican parents didn't think squat about lying to their kids. They lied in the morning, they lied at noonday, they lied when the sun went down. They did it to control us, to get us out of their way, to terrify us, to appease us. One was always being faced with some stupid uncle laughing in one's face at the success of his deception and at one's gullibility. Or one was faced with disappointment. It was a cultural thing. For this reason I find lying one of the worst sins and the root of all sins.

So I have always had this nagging feeling that one of these days when I die I will go to heaven and this stupid practical-joke playing God will say, "I was bored and I'm really evil." I sometimes pray to God with this feeling that I really do not trust him. And no, it's not the silly Calvinist fear that God is going to do something bad to you for your "own good" but a feeling that God would do something bad to you because He is just plain evil.

Then there was the second problem: The worry that God did not love me.

This stems from yet another personal issue.

I was once told by my half-sister that my father did not love me. She said it was because I was too dark. To this day I do not look in mirrors and neither do many of my female characters. I don't even look at my driver's license. I will one day accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or a glass door and will suddenly be surprised that I'm an old woman with gray hair. (Maybe that's why folks say I look so young..I never see my age passing.)

Anyway, this great declaration from light-skinned half-sister has entered such a deep part of my being that I am always thinking that I am not loved. I always think people are tolerating me or deceiving me. The reason this doesn't fall into full-blown paranoia is because I am smart enough to keep my fears to myself. But it does leak out into all sorts of situations. There is one website I visit often..and "apparently"" the folks there like me. But I really don't think so. I take their kind words -- about my insight, etc-- with more than a grain of salt. I feel one day it will become quite clear that I am not really loved and the whole website will suddenly make it quite clear to me that I am NOT loved. I am like this on facebook as well, always ready to drop out of facebook if no one comments on my posts. I must say my comments on facebook and my tweets on Twitter are an example of bravery in the face of such incredible fear..but only God and my husband are aware of how nutty and pitifully brave I am when I connect on social media.

Of course, such a thing cannot be allowed to continue long. I'm 53 after all and I should learn to deal with childhood-created issues.

So today this morning, I totally fell apart in prayer and said to God: "I am going to believe that you love me, that you are madly enamoured and crazy about me. When I'm on one of the social media, I am going to say to myself: 'I AM LOVED HERE.' I am going to believe you love me, Lord and that you are good to me...even if I am deluding myself. I will err on the side of walking positively through life feeling happy that I am so loved. And if I am deluded at least I will be happy and the paranoia and hurt will go."

Thus I have fallen into Pascal's wager...but not with faith. I have never had a problem with believing in God's existence. But I have fallen into the wager on the theme of love. So, universe, I am loved. I am loved here. 
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