terrymcfall

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Religion

First of all, I kind of don't like the word "religion" because it communicates all sorts of negative images... everything from a bureaucratic authoritarian organization all the way down to the personal feelings I had while sitting in church at St. Patrick's for 12:15p mass. Nothing good.

But I recognize in my life a yearning for God. Everything in my life takes place with a back drop of God in the background. Everything.

At first it was sort of unrecognized or undefined. But I remember as an 11 year-old kid picking up a bible and reading thru Proverbs. The quotes just seemed so true, so meaningful and wise. About the same age my father declared, for whatever reason I can't remember, that he thought I would become a priest. I had no such aspirations, but took it as a compliment.

At the age of 20, after having been raised a Catholic while attending Catholic schools and going to mass every Sunday, I had a conversion experience. I had been fascinated with the concept of learning and what a universal power it was - in attempting to write a paper about it for an English class I deducted that learning was so much more valuable than teaching. Teaching was good, but a teacher needs a student. If you want to be a student, you could learn from anything - no teacher required.

And this thought carried thru to realizing that God gave us this tremendous gift of being able learn without asking for anything in return. A gift with no strings attached. I could just as easily learn how to be a criminal as a scholar, yet God would not withhold the gift. And at that point I fell on my knees before the Lord in humble reverence, completely overwhelmed at this generosity.

It changed me. For the next few weeks my friends would comment that something about me was different. My response was that I didn't know what had happened but it had something to do with God. And from there I found my way to a small bible teaching church, found lifelong friends that loved me unconditionally, and became baptized as a Christian.

Now let me clarify something that absolutely must be said - I am not a good person. Here I am, 60 years-old today, and I have wasted so much of my life pursuing my own selfish wants and desires. I am no more generous or benevolent that the next person. I struggle with day-to-day urges, covet a lazy lifestyle, and generally have to fight to keep myself in a civilized fashion. I drink more than I should, smoke cigars endlessly (even as I write this) and if given the opportunity to stay at home wearing pajamas all day I would sign up without a second thought.

But one thing I have come to learn after understanding more of who God is, and that is that He loves me. There is not a single good reason for this other than because of who He is and what he has chosen to do. I am tremendously blessed because of this - my family is blessed because of this. It has nothing to do with me, so I claim no special abilities or rewards. But all throughout my life God has been there, either forefront as my conscious pursuit, or in background when I chose to walk away. He is faithful - I am not. He chooses to love me, even though my actions clearly show I love myself less. He is God, and I am not.

 

full02 AUG 2018 - Came across a bible verse the other day: "A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry." Proverbs 27:7.

Reminded me that our default mode pretty much all the time is to pursue happiness and satisfaction, without acknowledging that if granted that wish as much as we want, we might not be happy. "A person who is full refuses honey" because they are not lacking. If they were hungry and lacking of food, the honey would not be refused. If they were hungry and lacking of food, even bad honey would taste great.

All that to say, maybe plan a little lacking in our day so we could better enjoy the time when fulfillment arrives. Skip a meal, and see how much more you enjoy food the next time you eat.

 

 

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