OyChicago blog

Wise Up, Child

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08/17/2009

Don’t you get it, honey?

You call me to gripe, to cry, to express the frustration that has been building inside you, increasing to a dangerous level with the latest drama that seemingly follows you wherever you go.

You tell me that someone close to you, someone dear to you, was speaking trash about you behind your back. What could bring you to such hysteria and hours of therapeutic soothing? This naysayer flippantly accused you of lacking intelligence. Little may she realize that this comment was a crushing blow to the most vulnerable point of your deflated ego, the words that have followed you, haunted you, throughout your life.

Dumb.
Stupid.
Special ed.
Don’t you get it?

I’m going to pull the “G” word out now, so beware. You know , the one that makes even me feel like  a gullible moron when I pronounce it. God. There I said it. I want to gag.

The word god in today’s culture brings about a skeptical, corny aftertaste. I say this not because I don’t believe in Him. Oh baby, I do. But I don’t believe in the god that people talk about when they try to allude to His Existence. My God is a Jiving, Loving, Free spirited, All Powerful, Hilarious, Hopeful, Helpful, Beautiful, Energetic, Quantum Physics Genius. My God delights in hip hop, romantic conversations, and good coffee. “The Great One” is a personal pet name for my Adorable Creator.

So The Great One has this game that he loves to play, and He calls it Testing. What He does is very simple, yet excruciatingly tricky for His participants. Finding your weakest link, the thing you struggle with the most, He tests you. If you don’t pass, if you don’t face your faults, if you don’t work on these issues in order to rectify your character traits, you will fail the opportunity to tikkun olam your soul. And guess what? He’s gonna pull that exact same shtick on you a year later, five years later, until you pass. And even then, after you pat yourself on the back, as you are rusting, the test will confront you like a reoccurring nightmare and make you toss restlessly in your sleep.

Don’t you get it?

Let’s look at the trusty patriarchs of Jewish lineage. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham’s greatest quality was that of hesed, loving kindness. Isaac’s was gevurah, strength, and Jacob’s was emes, truth. So what type of shtick did The Great One pull on them? Abraham, the man who epitomized loving kindness, was ordered to kill his son.

Wait, what?

 Isaac, the man who epitomized strength, willingly gave of himself to be slaughtered, without a fight.

Huh?

And Jacob, the man who represented truth, was told by his mother to lie to his father and tell him he was his son Esau in order to get the birthright.

Sounds like a headline from those supermarket checkout lines.

Don’t you get it?

The Great One is slapping His Knee up there in heaven, gleefully watching His congregants participate in the original Real World, Planet Earth. The questions is not “why me?”; the realization is “because of me” I am being tested in this specific area.

In a society so obsessed with standardized testing, we don’t realize that our actual tests are nothing if not individually, specifically given. All children in a world of generalized education are left behind, no matter how much government money is grudgingly transferred from war funds to public school administrations.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were given tests that were specifically against their nature. Because doing multiplication tables while in Calculus is too easy. Yet for a first grader, understanding division is merely a distant fantasy. To tell a woman who still hears the words of her fifth grade teacher condescendingly ringing in her ear that she is dumb leaves her in a state of crippled shock.

So what do you do with these tests? The answer can only come from within you. But the more confrontation is avoided, the more astutely The Great One is already plotting His next move, giving you the opportunity to face yourself and this time, hopefully pass. To those pessimists among us, never forget this game is intended to be one of ultimate triumph.

Don’t you get it?

Like the good old days in the Garden of Eden, there is nowhere to hide. Oh, we are all always naked, but there is no reason for us to cover ourselves with shame and seek far away safety. The Great One is here and you must acknowledge the rules and your role in this game in order to beat it. For then you can laugh right along with Him as you face your greatest weaknesses, together.

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