God and me.
I’ve been sitting at this table with God for about eight months and we still haven’t moved. We’ve committed to locking ourselves in this room until we’ve come up with a plan to save our love. The love we’ve invested in and nurtured for almost six full years.
We’ve gone over the bad and we’ve gone over the good, yet we still sit here at the table– arms crossed, breaths shallow, and hearts heavy.
Eight months ago began the segment of “Kiki Goes Crazy,” as I fully described in one of my previous blogs in October. But before I went a little crazy, and before I fell hard for my first love, and before I started my college adventure in Charleston, I was a 16-year-old girl at a Christian Youth Conference in Boone, NC, proclaiming my love for God and His son for the very first time.
I actually come from an eclectic background of Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, and unspoken Agnosticism. I have my Asian and Spanish heritage to thank for that one, as well as an intensely, liberal mother who never desired to impose any kind of religion on me. Her only wish was for me to grow up healthy, confident, and successful. It didn’t matter what umbrella of faith I’d choose to stand under, just that I was confident in myself and the skin that clothed my body. My mother never imposed a religion on me growing up, but it was always my grandmother who reminded me that a God was here and He will always be here.
One of the strongest memories I’ve held onto from my childhood was my grandmother’s weekly phone calls as she sat in her chair and I sat in mine 6,000 miles away. We talked about school, we talked about hygiene, we talked about love, we talked about sadness, and we also talked about prayer.
In Hawaii, we have a saying we like to say when we’re saying goodbye to loved ones for a long period of time.
It means, “until we meet again,” and my last memory of my grandmother was her waving to me from her house steps saying, “Aloha oi and I love you.”
So I prayed to God because I loved my grandmother very much, and I prayed to God even after she passed away because I still loved her very much.
I honestly had no idea if I was doing it “right,” and I was too ashamed and too timid to ask someone if I was doing it “right.” But, then I made a friend (who is now my BEST friend) and she showed me a passion and a kind of love I’ve never known before. Her passion and love to serve God was so foreign to me, but she radiated a glow that my 80-year-old grandmother use to have when she was living. So I committed to a journey at 16, and I prayed a silent prayer that echoed my begging for healing, understanding, and most of all help to control the things I couldn’t change.
I realized when I got to college that I was something like a ball of clay. I was being molded by what was in my immediate surroundings and I had no idea what shape would take hold of me by the end of this journey.
I realized early that there was a difference between having a belief and owning a belief, and I owned nothing. I had no idea who the Son of God actually was…the life he lived and what exactly he promised/promises. I only knew what I came to memorize at a youth group and it wasn’t enough.
So, I invited God to sit with me at the table for the first time and I brought him these questions.
“Are you real?”
“Do I really believe?”
I studied many religions and ideologies and I eventually joined a ministry that helped me answer these questions. I joined a ministry that made me feel more a part of a group than any extracurricular I ever invested in. They treated me with love and they offered me their support. They encouraged me to go deeper into my faith, and I did exactly that.
By 19, only 3 years after I became a Christian, I was attending a bible study, a prayer group, a women’s prayer group, two weekly college ministries, and I became a member of a church that I made a priority to attend every Sunday. My innermost community were all believing and practicing Christians and I was convinced that this is what a “Christian life” actually looked like. I became a part of a community that made evangelism and conversion their number one priority, and we were given booklets, pamphlets, guides to encourage others in an “effective” way.
So when my non-Christian friends would come to me for an ear, I gave them a scripture.
And when my boyfriend at the time came to me for love, I gave him a reference.
And when my mom and my father asked for my attention and my time, I gave them my schedule that was pretty much full with the time I felt that I needed to spend with my new community.
My community encouraged me to live, eat, pray, and worship together as one.
I can’t deny the high I felt worshiping with my friends and best friends every Sunday…
I can’t deny the feeling that filled my whole body and led my feet to certain people and certain places in the past three years. I’ve made beautiful friendships through this community and I’m confident in the humility, kindness, and compassion that I see in each and every one of them.
They are my family and my loved ones, but I am no longer a part of this community.
I lost sight of the importance to love all kinds of people and not just one. There isn’t just one way to love, they’re many.
That is how I became a Christian after all. My best friend loved me despite my rebellion and broken heart that I masked in anger. She encouraged me with scripture,
but she also gave me an ear.
And her time.
And her attention.
And greatest of all, her love.
I’m back at the table with God, because I invested in a community for three years I believed was absolutely divine and it crushed me under its boulder. I’ve been looking at Him and asking him why He didn’t give me a voice to stand up for the love that transformed my own life just because it didn’t mirror the guides and pamphlets of an “obedient Christian.”
I’m back at the table because I can’t distinguish
my conscience from “my calling.”
love and selfishness
religion from faith.
In the past eight months, I can attest that I’ve found greater room to breathe. I am more open to the world and eclectic bodies that reside in it, and I see sameness amongst a spectrum of people who I once divided in my head as “believers” and “non-believers.” I am free of guilt and I am free of judgment, but I am aware that I am not free of the love God has shown me in the past 21 years of my life.
No matter how far I wander and say “aloha oi” as I walk out, I can’t deny the love and the redemption that cloaked my brokenness at 16. I dance around the psychology of my development and the empiricism that my analytical mind loves to eat up. But if there is one thing that I’m confident in, it is the intuition that tells me when I’ve found something really, really good. The intuition that tells my head that my heart has found love and that things are going to change.
If love was just a feeling, it would be fleeting just like all of the other emotions.
If love was just a feeling, I don’t think that I’d still be sitting at this table with God.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about love through my adolescent years, it’s that that love is also a choice. And as much responsibility I’ve given Him with my life, He still refuses to take the responsibility of my choosing to love Him.
If he did, would that still be love?
So we are at this table and discussing grievances like an old couple that lost it’s spark. I’m the distraught wife that thinks cups and plates are throw toys, and He is the calm husband that continuously waits for me to get a grip and just be still.
We are still and each day that we sit at this table I am beginning to appreciate the time we are spending together.
Just being still.
We don’t talk with our words, but we communicate through simply being everyday. And each day we are just being, the closer I’m getting to say “lets try again.” Because every great love deserves a second chance, and He is no different.
I encourage everyone to take a few minutes a day to just be still. Sometime the greatest discoveries come about when we are just. being. still.