Today I came across some inspiration served up by Arthur Ashe. I don’t know for sure but I am going to guess it was in response to a question surrounding his AIDS diagnosis and how this squared with his views about God. Arthur put it this way, If I were to say, “God, why me?” about the bad things, then I should have said, “God, why me?” about the good things that happened in my life.
This speaks to something I have been exploring for most of my life — at the earlier stages indirectly and in later years more consciously. We hear it often in sports –” God was with my team today or on my side”: as part of the victory celebration or acknowledgement. Or, if a tragedy is averted, “Thank God we didn’t get hit by a storm or hurricane or (insert any other negative outcome). God was with us.” These statements lead me to wonder. What about the locations that got hit by the storm? What about the team that lost? What about the child born without limbs? What about …? You get the picture.
This brings me to another common occurrence.
I get emails about Jesus and the power of prayer in the matter of one set of outcomes over another — as if God or Jesus brings about certain circumstances and not others. And, if you are Christian or think of Jesus as Lord or some other religious dogma, there is a kind of expectation of preferential treatment or a certain assignment of a particular outcome as the effect of preference.
Well, what of people who experience other than outcomes that appear better or good? What power is at work there?
In the last 20 years or so, actually since high school (some 40 years ago), I have had this sense of power being just that – impersonal energy. Not a power for one type of believer over another; not a power that glorifies one set of outcomes or experiences over another. Experiences occur – we may draw them to us by the consciousness we live in. For example, if our context for living is, “life sucks,” then we might think an event is “horrific, the worst thing ever.” If, on the other hand, we see life’s events as an opportunity, we might ask the question, “what could I be grateful for or learn from this?”
Experiences are life. Every situation is life, everyone is life. Life just is — whatever the form it takes. To hold that a certain set of circumstances or events come one way or another to one person not another because we do something like have the Christ model or the Jesus model of religion is to lose the sense of oneness that is everything.
In my way of looking at it, Jesus represents humanity and what is possible. Christ represents the spirit, intuition, the energy within – that energy which guides us here or there, to do this or that. In other cultures and views there are other source metaphors. No better, no worse.
I choose to see myself as other than a label. But, if pressed, I see myself as a non-believer — not accepting of any religious dogma. I don’t know what was before the beginning of life and subscribe to the theory of evolution. I don’t know what follows death and sense there is a union with source in death as we no longer have bodies or physical limitations. But, who knows for sure!
In the end, that knowledge requires practical application — the ultimate practice: death of the physical body. And, each of us will know it sooner or later.