I have been a religious person since I was 15 years old. Although I stepped away from religious participation for a couple of years in college, I quickly found my way back. By graduate school, I was considered an authority on religious subjects: giving sermons, conducting marriages, and participating in interfaith panels. It often seemed as though I could not go anywhere without being asked a religious question for which I could expound for at least an hour.
The mystery of my life was painfully obvious to me: if I was so religious, why was I so miserable?
The answer to this riddle didn’t come until several years later, at the point I had been driven to despair. I was deeply depressed and begging God to free me from the pain, when I dear friend of mine said to me, “You are the most arrogant person I have ever met.” This statement baffled me.
“Are you even listening to me? I loathe myself,” I retorted.
He was insistent. Then he began to describe a tiny person climbing onto the Throne of God and playing a little game of judge, jury, and executioner. “You must be pretty arrogant to think you can criticize God’s work and then have the audacity to demand a recall.” He was right, and I was stunned. I couldn’t accept God’s design of me and His Plans for my life because I was too busy paying homage to my true god at that time: myself.
Despite all the hours spent playing the good religious person and fulfilling all the rituals of my faith tradition, I could not receive God’s Love. I had blocked myself with many layers of control. In a way, the religious rituals became my desperate attempt to reach God. Alas, I could not find God in my thoughts and actions. He was deep within my soul close to my heart. To finally revel in His Presence, I had to let go of the illusion of control. I had to allow myself to be loved by Him. When I finally stopped worshiping my intellect, I could accept that perhaps there is much I do not know.
In God’s world, I am just a tiny molecule but, by His Grace, a happy one today.