For as long as I can remember, I’ve suspected that there’s more to myself than me. I’ve suspected that I’m part of something larger, that I come from somewhere else, and that I’ll return there when I die. I did not find comfort in these realizations. They just made me feel abandoned and led me to wonder how God/Source/Spirit/the Universe could put me on this planet, wipe out every memory I have of home, and then expect me to find my way back without a road map.
The isolation I felt was right up there with Jesus’ “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I surmised that finding my way home was the point of my journey, but I couldn’t understand why I had to make the trip alone.
When I was in the fourth grade, I responded to a hell-fire-and-brimstone altar call at a Baptist church, but by the time I reached my late teens, the road to Armageddon and the Rapture began to feel wrong for me. The tipping point came when I read the now out-of-print book The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity. After that, I still believed that Jesus was a revolutionary teacher who modeled all that we can achieve as human beings, but I no longer believed that he sacrificed his life to save me from a hell that I didn’t believe existed.
Having been a Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, Christian camp counselor, and RA (resident assistant) in a dorm at a Christian university, my decision was a shock to those who knew me. Losing their respect and friendship was extremely painful, but I had to be true to myself and tearfully headed in a different direction–alone.
Eventually, I found the road map that I was looking for in my emotions. When I listened to them, they guided me on my journey. I found people whose beliefs or teachings stretched my own, and who accompanied me on the path for a while. I came to realize that, if our journey is to be authentic, each of us must find our own road home. But I still hated the feeling of isolation.
Then, in the book Partnering with God, I recently read the following:
There are sayings you have used in the relationship between Spirit and humans for a very long time: It’s the concept of the sheep and the shepherd. And the humans somehow are equated with sheep, and the shepherd is God. Let me tell you dear ones, that the last things we want you to be are sheep! Empowered is what you are! Partnering with God has nothing to do with the shepherd/sheep relationship. Some of you have equated God with a parent, a heavenly father or mother; and you are the children. A nice picture, perhaps, but cast that away, for that is not the relationship we wish to tell you about. True partners are not in that relationship at all, and they don’t dominate each other in that manner–even in love.
Some have said, “I’m going to let go of my life and let God take over!” This is not what we ask for, dear ones. We wish you to let go of nothing . . . Some of you have said, “I’m going to surrender my life and let God have His will.” And we say NO! Don’t surrender! Instead, Commit!–not surrender. Commitment is to take charge of your life with a partner like God . . . . Oh dear ones, we promise to partner with you. For we love you beyond measure and we have been waiting for you to verbalize this [a commitment to partnership] to us. Our vow to you in this partnership is to love you throughout it all and never let you down. (Pages 62, 63, and 64.)
I loved the notion of partnering with God. This “marriage to the higher self” has addressed my sense of spiritual loneliness. I verbalized my commitment and wear a pair of triangular, as-above-so-below type stacking rings to remind me of it.
It gets even more interesting, though. I have experienced fear and worry lately, but now, in the context of this “marriage,” that is considered infidelity.
Anger has an agenda and love does not. It is against the very nature of your partner (God) to be angry, and yet it is there within you often! It is, however, infidelity to the very nature of a marriage with God. . . . It is against the very nature of your parter (God) to worry and yet it is there withing many of you often! It is also infidelity to the very nature of the marriage. (Page 68.)
What does this mean? It means I am not alone. It means that I can trust my Partner to take care of the things that I used to get angry and worried about. How big a relief is that?
Does this spiritual partnership make me a nun? Does it mean I can’t have a human partner? No. Foregoing parenting and partnership would rob me of growth that I couldn’t attain in any other way. Parenting my son has taught me more than any other experience, and I look forward to all that a life-long partnership with a man has to offer in the future. Partnering with Spirit simply means that I am no longer alone in my journey, and that I have a very powerful travel partner.
The illustrations, by Kris Wiltse, are from the “Unsure,” “Lonely,” “Love (platonic),” and “Love (romantic)” cards, which are part of the Mixed Emotions card deck.