It makes me wish that I could be reborn, live again, and experience both finding Him and being found by Him all over again, totally anew and afresh. And I wonder, would I know Him better?
Would I know Him better if I were void of all the influences that I've faced? Would I know Him better if I were free of all the religious expectations I've encountered? Would I know Him better if I didn't grow up in churches so eager to perfect my imperfections, modify my behavior, demanding and requiring so much?
Oh if I could go back to the canvas and start again- my canvas that holds everything I perceive Him to be and how I perceive Him to be it. I wouldn't give people such free access to my canvas, my paints and my brushes simply because they bear a certain lable or come recommended by another who wears a lable of the same kind. These influences are specks in my eye, blocking and frustrating my vision. And although one by one they are being dealt with and erradicated, something always lingers and I wonder if I will ever be rid of it. The speck may be gone, but the voices remain. Or the voices are silenced but the wounds left by them are still present. Will I ever be rid of the hideous ideas I allowed into my life, onto my canvas?
I'd take the paint brush away from the youth groups that didn't have time for children, only "spritual warriors"; I wouldn't let them touch my canvas with their rules of modesty, their idea of what "truly living" looks like, their demands for "spiritual maturity" desguised as religiousity.
I'd take the paint brush away from the Bible college I attended that assaulted my canvas and my space with ideas that women are second to men; I wouldn't have stuck around for the abuse.
I'd take away the paint brush from the many religious leaders running exploitive volunteer organizations manipulating me into laying down my rights and sacrificing beyond what is healthy.
But perhaps, in another life my paintbrushes would only be left to be picked up by other abusers of influence. Perhaps my paint brush would be picked up by an abusive parent or a negligent father. Perhaps my paint brush would be picked up by war or racism. Perhaps my paint brush would be picked up by teachers who would make it impossible for me to suceed or neighbors who mollest me, or neighborhoods of violence and fear.
I think in the end we've all had a pass or two made on our canvases that we regret having been made. I think in the end we were all powerless to stop them, unaware of the inhibiting specks being laid or the barriers being built. I think that if we could, we'd all go back and snatch the brushes and the colors away from all sorts of abusers of influence as we lay our bodies across our canvas in a stand to protect our perception of God. I think when we finally see Him, there'll be a lot more of these kinds of thoughts- maybe there are tables set for such conversations- a group therapy of sorts. Such abuses and uninvited passes have been being made on canvases since Eve met the snake in the Garden which gives me great hope for the kind of company of humbled ragamuffins that await me in the next life.
Perhaps that is what awaits us in heaven, a rebirth; passing through the doors of death, all trust put in Love, into a Life of experience where I get to find Him and be found by Him all over again, anew, afresh, and uninhibbited- to get to know Him as He truly is.
For now I wait for what dreams may come.
"Weak is the effort of my heart
And cold my warmest thought
But when I see Thee as Thou art
I'll praise Thee as I ought." - John Newton