Friday, April 15, 2011

The Unquenchable Thirst

I've talked a little bit about this in past entries, about the unquenchable thirst. There seems to be a hurt inside some of us, a deep hurt that we carry around within us no matter how much time passes or what activities we occupy ourselves with.

It is a thirst, an aching that is part of being human. Part of it is the woundedness we feel from things we've experienced. Bitter disappointments, failed relationships, loss of jobs, abuse by parents, being the one in the schoolyard who always got picked last for games.

These are things that we carry around with us. Sometimes it's a small aching because we've had lots of therapy or have had great friends to help quench the thirst. But still, to a degree it remains.

I don't think we'll ever be complete. There, I said it. As positive as I think I am sometimes, or at least would like to be, as many affirmations as I use, and as many self-help books as I read (and believe me, I've read many) I still have this thirst, this aching that is not soothed. Is this a failure on my part? Why haven't I "got it" by now, damn it!

Because as much as it hurts, particularly between the hours of about 10pm and 7am, it is all part of being human. The late Christian singer Rich Mullins said it "kept him aching with a yearning." But for what? I think the thirsting, the aching we feel keeps us realizing that we need something more in our lives.

What is that "more?" I leave that for you to give it a name. Why? Because as soon as I use the word "God" you might bristle and say "that stuff's not for me." The word God has been misused and misrepresented for thousands of years and has been used for violence, prejudice, and pain. So, why don't you pick another name? For me, I use the word Mother, Creator, or Spirit. To complete the Rich Mullins line "keeps me aching with a yearning, keeps me glad to have been caught, in the reckless raging fury that we call the love of God."

I believe that there is a living, spiritual reality all around us and within us whose love and acceptance of each of us is greater than all prejudice, hatred, or pain. It is for this that we yearn. We yearn for something that no human being, as good as they are, can give us. And guess what, that's a bitch, there's no way around it. But there's something within this aching that touches the very bottom of my heart, and it's something that I would not feel were I able to heal my pain by any of the ways that I have tried: entertainment, drugs, relationships, etc.
I feel my whole heart because I ache, and I don't think I would trade that for anything.

So what is there to do? I think we can re-discover prayer. Perhaps in the past prayer for you has meant "blessing the food at dinnertime" or "begging a spooky God to forgive you of your sins." No.

There is no wrong way to pray. Again, find your name for God - Universe, Father, Divine, etc. And then just let it all out, in your language. (God is not offended by the words "shit, "damn," or "fuck.") In order to connect with the divine, we must be real - "let it all hang out" as they say.

That aching that you and I feel? It'll lessen at times as we learn to consistently come to the divine in prayer to meet our needs; we'll be soothed by the divine in a way we couldn't find anywhere else.

But we'll never completely escape this unquenchable thirst, and we aren't meant to. It is our call, our call to connect to the divine.


Mark Andrew