Editor’s Note: This is part 57 of Marie’s Story, continued from Of Course They Were Angels!
Carl: (After a respectful pause…)
Your writing is so poignant; you express yourself so well.
I’m so glad you shared this with me. I’m especially appreciative that you shared about your experience with the angels. The paragraph about the angels is my favorite paragraph of the whole letter.
Me: Thank you. The letter was surprisingly easy to write. It flowed out of me quite effortlessly. I was very surprised.
You know, I am noticing that you are being very careful to keep your beliefs out of our discussion. I really appreciate that. Yet, I find myself being curious about your beliefs.
Would it be okay for me to ask what you believe about God—what your spiritual beliefs are?
Carl: Sure, it is okay for you to ask…
Let me answer this way: I agree with you that God can be found in nature. And, I believe in your angels.
Me: (Tears filled my eyes again)
Thank you for believing in my angels. My family doesn’t believe in them. I guess they think I’m not right enough with God to have access to his angels.
Carl: Well, I believe in your angels.
Let me ask you: what was the most significant thing you learned from your experience with the angels?
Me: (Long pause as I thought about my answer…)
I experienced unconditional love. For one minute, I was enveloped in unconditional love—it was love as pure as it comes. I’ve had never had that experience before—or since.
(I looked up at Carl and, again, he had tears in his eyes. We sat in quiet thoughtfulness for a few moments…)
Me: I keep trying to figure out this whole God thing. I like going to the Science of Mind church because I feel freedom to believe as I believe. No one pressures me to believe any particular way. They do offer a belief system for consideration — the belief system compiled by Earnest Holmes. They say that God always answers “yes” to whatever we ask for, we just have to learn how to ask for things the “right” way.
I looked into that teaching but found it had its own set of rules on how to “do it right”. So, that doesn’t seem any better an option than Christianity or any other organized religion. I don’t think it is about rules or laws or doing it right. I think it is much simpler than that. I think it is more about just being. I think it is more like what animals do naturally, without much thought. They just are…for them, it is just a matter of being.
My friend Jan presented an idea to me. She said that we live multiple lifetimes—maybe one lifetime we are a poor man, the next lifetime we are a rich and powerful woman, the next lifetime we are sickly, and on and on. Each lifetime we learn a new way of being and learn the associated lessons.
While I understand that Jan is only human and doesn’t have all the answers, I have found that what she has taught me has made sense to me more often than not. It feels accurate to me at a gut level…
(Carl abruptly interrupted me . . .)
Carl: I think you are looking for relief from your pain by using logic to figure out the God thing. I don’t think that way of finding answers serves you well. I don’t want to tell you specifically what I believe because I don’t want there to be any pressure for you to analyze and then accept or discard my beliefs. I don’t want you to work from a foundational framework created from my belief system or from anyone else’s belief system. I think you have had quite enough of that, already, in your life.
I want to collaborate with you, not at you. I want us to take our time and let the answers arise and come together for you in an organic, emotions-based manner. I want you to find the answers within yourself. But, that will take time and it will require that we honor who you authentically are at your core. Are you willing to approach this process in that way?
Me: Yes, of course!
Do you think you really can help me with this? I mean, I know you aren’t my spiritual advisor, so I don’t know how much you can help me in this area.
Carl: Yes, I can help you in this area. I promise I can help you.
Me: Okay, good — because this feels like a foundational issue. I think this needs to be one of the first building blocks put into place for my healing journey.
Carl: I agree.
How are you feeling about all of this now at this point in the discussion?
Me: I feel relieved to have captured my thoughts and to have had the opportunity to express my thoughts freely without getting beat over the head to change them to match someone else’s beliefs. I am feeling relief mostly.
Carl: Based upon what you read, it sounds like you are angry with God.
Me: Yeah, I guess so.
Carl: Well, good! I’m glad to see you are starting to own and express your anger with God.
Me: You know, I was taught as a child that I would go to hell if I dared to write something like this—if I dared to construct language like this.
Carl: Well, I think your process—this work—is a stairway to heaven, not to hell. I think you are doing the right and responsible thing.
Me: Thank you.
I just don’t know how to reach God. That is what frustrates me the most.
Carl: I think your paragraph about feeling God in nature is an example of communication with God—an example of prayer. I think it is a great example of you fellowshipping with God.
Me: I can see that, but I don’t know if it is okay to petition God for help. I mean, when I think of people in Darfur and Somalia, I think of the terror they experience everyday. That is all many of them will ever know. They will die after knowing only terror their entire lives. And, if they do happen to survive that and get to a better environment, they will be only a shell of a person because of their inability to heal from the trauma.
God isn’t answering their prayers for help. How can I be so calloused as to ask for God to keep the rain away from a picnic I have scheduled when he isn’t willing to answer really dire needs of the people living in extreme pain and terror?
(Carl didn’t answer right away. He just acknowledged the weight of my words with an understanding gaze. After a significant pause, he responded.)
Carl: You are asking some tough questions…deep questions…vital questions….
There are some books I have read—books that I found helpful in my own quest for answers.
Would you be willing to look them over? If they resonate with you, you could read them. If they don’t resonate with you, you are welcome to set them aside and not read them. I have no investment in whether you read them or not — they represent only one of an infinite number of ways of looking at things.
Me: Sure. What are they?
Carl: One is titled Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh. There are three volumes to that one. I’d recommend starting with the first volume. The other is Return of the Bird Tribes by Ken Carey.
Me: Okay. I’ll look into them. I know I won’t have time to look at them between now and our next session in two weeks because of a crazy holiday piano recital schedule. But, after that, I will have four weeks of a much easier schedule mainly because I’ll be finished working at the bus barn, and I will be able to check them out during that time.
Carl: That works for me!
And that brought us to end of the session . . .
Whew! It was a doozy!