I met with a friend today who said my words re faith, hope and love feel shallow. I tend to over-talk in such moments so didn’t really leave space for any clarification. I suppose I believed him. I suppose, also, that I didn’t want to hear it, whether I needed to or not. I suppose too that “friends” say such things to magnify their own faith, or to relativise your own in a way that makes them feel better, or more secure, or more grounded. But also, there’s a sense that there is only one way to have faith, which is his way. And his faith is awesome, no doubt. I like to be in his presence because I get to see firsthand how someone of faith really does occupy a privileged space in this normal and limited and very banal world. But is my faith shallow, or is it different?
I don’t know.
I suppose I am a man of little faith, because my response was to come home and curl up on the couch with a LOT of Chinese food.
He said also that I have been foolish in the self that I have projected publicly in recent months, that I have been an object of ridicule, that people who know me have had things to discuss. He likened me to Karl Barth, which in itself is not a bad thing, but people (ignorant people) have a way of making it sound bad. He then likened me to Adam in the garden, suddenly aware that he needs a fig leaf, and so running into the bushes to hide his shame (and his willy).
Again, maybe he’s right. I don’t know anymore. I don’t much care. Actually, that’s not true, since I have shut down all social media (I did it right after my Chinese food coma). I suppose that shutting down your social media accounts is the contemporary equivalent of hiding from God in the garden.
“Where are you?” the Lord said to Adam.
“You’ll never find me,” said Adam. “I’ve shut down Messenger, Instagram, AND Facebook.”
Anyway, I need a break from being seen, and I guess I’m taking the opportunity. My excuse is that I need to write. The truth is more like what C.S. Lewis experienced after the death of his wife. His book, A Grief Observed, is my favourite Lewis text, the book of his that I most resonate with.
So, after the Chinese food coma, and after the finale of Game of Thrones, and after shutting down all my social media accounts (except for Twitter, which is more like oxygen than social media), I dipped back into Lewis and found some words that make sense of where I am right now, this minute, today:
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realise the fact was to knock it down.” — C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed