Is there no other way?

This week I’ve had the intention to find the temple inside of myself.  I am really enamored with this idea that God is within me.  That by knowing myself better, I will know God.  Focusing on perceived distances from God will not bring me closer to him.  It’s interesting.  With how I’m approaching life now, I often feel like all the insulation is removed from around me.  Like all of those small religious rituals and practices I’ve spent my whole life doing and focusing on, were insulation.  They helped me to feel like I was pulling God around me.  Now that I have stripped away that insulation, the world feels colder, a louder echo in the room, the hard floor pressing into the soles of my feet. 

Yet I believe that God is still there.  I still feel him. In some ways I like this new feeling.  It’s like I’m experiencing the world for the first time.  Like I’ve taken off the protective covering.  Like I’m walking barefoot for the first time.  And my feet are soft.  I feel every pebble. I’ve picked up some thorns.  But I’m feeling alive for the first time.  And my impulse is to run as fast as I can in the direction of my farthest-reaching dream.  I’m aware of the wounds in my feet and the dirt and the ache, but I can’t help but run. I hear God whispering in my ear, “Trust yourself. Trust the path. Run. You know the way.”

And every time I trip on a rock or something sharp finds the soft flesh of my sole, I look at God and ask if I REALLY know the way.  Or maybe more accurately, I echo the words of Eve, “Is there no other way?”  This hurts too much.  The pain is too real.  How can I run with this wound?  In that one question and in her naive state, Eve, bore witness to the pain of all human experience. 

oIk7A87OQBiXSaEEdZD3YgEve was beguiled, not because there WAS another way, but because the way is through the pain.  The devil made it sounds like eating the fruit of the tree would instantly transport her to the knowing.  But there are no short cuts.  There is no way around.  The only way is through.  And Eve, in another moment of naive genius, said, “It is better for us to pass through sorrow that we might know the good from the evil.”  Eve knew.  And she walked out of the garden with trust in God and trust in herself and in all of humanity that would originate from her womb.    

She walked out of the garden and onto the blank canvas that she would fill.  That is the labor of a life well-lived.  To trust the creator and to accept his invitation to create alongside of him.  To know that my brush strokes are beautiful and valuable because I am his creation.