Archive for the 'punctuation' Category

God brooks no rival

October 26, 2011

What I actually intended to write about this morning was about how to square a relationship with God with a relationship with a fellow human being.

I hear humor sometimes in what I hear in the universe.  Once I was putting away a child’s doll made out of wool, and I heard the pun that it was a “dolly lana.”  In a similar fashion, I once heard the phrase “God brooks no rivals” as a phrase to meditate on.   Given the direction my life seemed to have taken when I became a widow, I first saw it as kind of an absolute.  But then it occurred to me, that with humor, it might actually be a puzzle in a way, that it could be taken as one of those sentences that changes meaning with how it is written, like the string of words “Woman without her man is nothing” that changes meaning depending on how it is punctuated.  So now I’ve being trying to see not only how to “re-punctuate” my meditation, but what that means for my life.

I was dipping into The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis, because it occurred to me after having a day yesterday like I used to have with God, how that compares to forgoing that in favor of having a day with a human being.  For me, the day with God has become a lot easier than the day with people, it’s like a big relief.  It occurred to me this morning shortly after I got up that maybe that’s selfish, and that maybe it would be a great act of something, some kind of a gift, I guess, to put that aside at least partly in order to relate to other people.  Then the task becomes how to do that, because I know I need to maintain the God relationship, too.  Lewis makes the point that loving God is a safe bet, while giving one’s heart to some else includes the risk it will be broken, includes allowing oneself to be vulnerable.  In a way, to insulate oneself from the consequences of giving one’s heart to another is a selfish act that shows how selfishness backfires, here by keeping us from experiencing some wonderful things life offers.  I think what spoke to me this morning in a way that I could work with better is that taking on the costs to oneself of human (I’m pretty sure this is not about getting another dog) love relationships can be thought of as a gift to the other and a manifestation of that love.

For me, the part I can’t figure out is how to toggle between the two without losing either or, in the alternative, how to conceptualize the two so that there is no opposition.  If I lose myself in a human love relationship completely, do I necessarily lose my current connection with God?  I suppose not if I am relating to the divine within that person as well as to their human details.  And maybe that’s it, that I don’t relate sufficiently to both simultaneously in people, and that if I did, I would not only see the different ways to write that sentence but also not see them as mutually exclusive.