This image is often the first thing that I see when I wake up. In fact, it is precisely this image that plays a role in waking me up. Well, at least the photons bouncing off of the wall and reflecting onto my eyelids play that role. Its not the sun directly that I waking me up, but an indirect reflection of the sun.
As someone who seeks the will of the Divine, it seems like I often have to settle for indirect messages. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who experiences this. The days of burning bushes and crystal clear visions seem to exist only in the ancient myths of Genesis and Exodus. I often long for the sort of “burning bush” experience that Moses experienced, but this photo makes me realize that the reason I long for this is not so much because more direct communication is more effective, but because indirect communication is epistemologically messy (indeed, this messy often brings, for me, a sense of doubt in the Communicator. Am I deluding myself by supposing that God speaks and that he speaks to me?) which brings me to my next picture.
(After all, ambiguous divine messages, if they get my attention, are just as effective as clear ones. Or perhaps even more effective since, for some reason, Jesus chooses to speak in ambiguous parables. I just realized that I have been projecting my reasons onto Jesus for speaking ambiguously. I had previously supposed that parable telling was something pedagogically useful, and that was why Jesus spoke this way. )
It is a mess. (I wonder if there is a connection between my embracing of epistemological messiness and my embracing of having a messy room. Both types of messiness are something that I, at times, like and, at other times, dis-like.
Recently, the epistemological messiness that I typically encounter when contemplating the Divine melted away and reappeared in another form. Typically, I find myself struggling between conceptions of God (is Yahweh real? or is the God of orthodoxy real? or is the God beyond god real?).
But yesterday, when I was confronted with a life-changing event and some decisions to make, all of that doubt slipped away. I defaulted on a conception of God that is somewhere between Yahweh, the God of orthodoxy and (not quite) God beyond god. One mess gave way to another since I was seeking the Divine for the purpose of divine guidance, which often times seems to come indirectly.
In the midst of a messy existence, I often find that food brings some comfort. (Perhaps this is why we (Americans) are so large.) As ridiculous as this sounds, there really seems to be a theodicy inside, for example, a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. I recall returning from Haiti with a particularly dissatisfied attitude with the arbitrary way God deals out affluence and pain and suffering. When I bit into a cookie, however, I remember thinking, “God is good.” God, after all, invented chocolate and cookie dough. That was the easy part. God also invented that amazing phenomenological combination of smelling the food, feeling the warmth in the mouth, and, of course, that Divine taste. This, of course, is an absurd inference to make, but it is perhaps more absurd to think that a man came back from the dead, and I believe that (on most days).
This bowl of delicious cereal, then, should be a reminder to me that despite the indirectness (which annoying) and the messiness (which is…well…messy) of life, maybe God is still good.