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Trying to Function (Without God)

25 May

Learning to surrender to a very sophisticated Deity has been the single most important lesson of my life.  ~Shirley MacLaine

Lose your inhibition, follow your intuition, free your inner soul, and break away from tradition…  ~Black Eyed Peas

When I was in ninth grade my friends and I played a certain game for months on end.  No matter what someone said we just added the words “during sex.”  Such as, “She loves to eat anchovy pizza (during sex).”  Or, “He always forgets to do his math homework (during sex).”  For whatever reason, this never failed to send us into gales of hysteria.

But then, we were fourteen.

Now I find myself in a new version.  Have you noticed how some people will rush to discourage a certain goal?  Or at least let you know how futile, exhausting or expensive your attempt will be before you even start?

So in my revised game I always take their words and add, “without God.”

As in, “It’s impossible to find the right job in this economy (without God).”

Or, “You’ll never be able to find parking there (without God).”

I can’t tell you how well this works.

I happened to turn on NPR during a mind-boggling interview with an ‘efficiency expert.’  He had written a book on procrastination with forty-four ‘critical steps’ to be followed in his Act for Success plan.  I was soon giggling so hard I had to pull the car over at the corner of Clay and Divisadero just to be safe.  Even the poor interviewer sounded flummoxed.

He asked, “So you’re telling our listeners they must follow all forty-four steps?”

“Absolutely.  Every single one,” the expert intoned, “in the proper order.  Otherwise it will not work.”  And he began to fire off the list again.

My head was spinning like a bad carnival ride.

“Well,” said the interviewer.  “To be honest, that’s all a bit daunting.  Isn’t there a simpler way for people to begin?”

“No," the expert said gravely.  “As a master, I devised this plan scientifically.  And of course, if people are confused, they should take my seminar.”

Of course.

Wiping away tears of laughter, all I could think was, “Yep.  He’s a master of how to overcome procrastination (without God).”

I remembered how life was indeed a weary road before I let the Divine lead the way.  I ran from one self-styled 'master’ to the next with my problems.  The combination of a delicate nervous system and a good dose of ADD made my life often derail.

But at some indeterminate point, perhaps more from exhaustion than evolution, I pretty much gave God control.  And though problems still come, solutions usually follow in fresh and novel ways.  

The other day I met an interesting writer in a cafe.  We started discussing the book proposal I’d been stuck on.

She offered, “Well, I could help you do it.  These usually take about thirty hours to create and I charge $250 an hour.”

“Wow, are you kidding?”  I gasped, doing some quick calculations.  “That’s over seven thousand dollars!”

“Well, I do have a handy flexible payment plan,” she said.

Then I remembered.

That’s what a book proposal costs (without God).

When I demurred and left, I sat in my car and invoked Divine Order with my full heart: “If You wish this written, I cannot do this on my own.  You know my limits.  But the perfect route is already selected, so if this is Your Will, fling open the doors.  If this is meant to be, please bring the right help.”

Within a month a writer friend of mine in New Mexico serendipitously emailed me one of her own proposals.

“Hey, you popped into my mind tonight,” she wrote.  “In case you’re still working on that thing, just use mine like a map.  You’ll finish in no time.”

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