Saturday, April 07, 2007
Experience of God
This morning, I had to go back to work after the "holiday" and it has been steady. I am often called into interesting situations and some of them challenge my comfort zone, others are my "forte". Today I was paged to see a man who had requested our services. I had no idea why, the nurses did not specify.. so I went to his room and introduced myself. He wanted to go to the chapel but was not allowed to go alone due to his recent heart surgery. He needed someone with him in case something happened.
So we saunter down to the chapel and sit down. There is another person in the chapel praying, so I told him to sit anywhere. I went to the other side of the room for quiet meditation and prayer. After a while, we started to leave but instead sat down at the back of the chapel where he continued his story begun on our walk down to the chapel. He told me that he had started the 12 step program for NA and his journey to this point. I am always awed at the journey of some people. I felt very privileged to hear his story and told him so. He talked about being in contact with his Higher Power and how he came to this realization. And his experience of God, as I call Him. "It's better than any high that drugs can give you. I wish I had discovered this 40 years ago then I wouldn't have had to waste my life as I did."
He described vibrations and sensations attributed to the Higher Power. I told him that he is lucky to experience the presence of God in this way as many people take their relationship with God for granted. (I realize that it could be withdrawal, but the way he described it, I don't think that it was withdrawal. ) He explained that he has had such a warmth and peace spread through out him that he doesn't worry too much about the surgeries and "unknown" future.
I think is a great gift. Not everyone is able to "experience" God working in their lives. Some people experience it but do not know what it is, do not pay attention, and others long for it, seeking others methods to reach God. The irony is that as Mankind searches for God, God reaches out to us in ways that we can't often fathom.
Usually when someone says "the experience of God", the listener assumes conversion experience. This is the first realization of the power of God. Paul/Saul on the road to Damascus experienced God in a dramatic way. But this is not the way everyone meets God. Some people are brought to their knees, while others enter into God's presence through a logical route/thought process. Each experience of God is just as real as the next, because every individual is unique/different, hence the experience and relationship with God will be just as unique. It is when we tell people that their experience of God is false, that we turn people off. One woman I met told me that she had a near death experience, and gained much inner power from it, but was told by a doctor that her experience was a part of a delirium and hence negated.
When we preach AT them, versus talking WITH them. I have heard of so many people (whom I meet in my work, either staff, patients, families) who have a faith or belief in God, but have been so turned off of organized religion/worship. I have been told time and time again that it was a "well meaning person" (my opinion) who tried to guilt them into something, or chastised them for their problems that they had, that in the end, the person left the community of faith. How this affects their experience of God has always been a wonder to me.. I hope it does not paint God in a negative light.