When I was a little girl and then a teen-ager, I read my little New Testament over and over and over again. Jesus and Paul became my Companions, Mentors, Role Models, and Friends. I had a problem with the preacher's words, that somehow didn't usually work with what my Companions were teaching me. I prayed and prayed
At the University, I learned about the history and development of theology by men of various times and places, of various understandings and intellects, of men before science, of men with control and ego issues and political axes to grind, of men with translation issues and documents that were written down long after the events, etc. I saw a web of confusion, of mutually exclusive ideas, of misinterpretations, of lack of understanding of context, and in some cases ludicrous conclusions.
So, I did what anyone with a conscience would do, I left the church, but I took my Companions, Mentors, Role Models and Friends with me. I did my best to be like them - to love lavishly, to forgive fully, to be generous of things and of heart, to care, to offer a hand up, to give thanks for all of God's goodness lavished upon earth. Later in life, I returned to church, being ordained in 1978, offering my unique perspective, not regurgitated nonsense. I did my best to share only what I actually Know.
Sometimes the hurts of my life were hard to overcome and stood there taunting me. Sometimes I let my Companions down, and of course myself down too. I was well into my adulthood when I could finally release with complete forgiveness the hurtful people of my young years, and then those who came after.
I seemed to attract the mentally ill, from extreme manic to borderline personality, each with their own challenges. I seemed to attract some raging angry people, some with advanced manipulation skills, some who were downright mean and uncaring. I came to see them as teachers, as testers to see how well I was doing in living as my Companions taught me. I faltered. Picked myself up and tried again. I cried. I prayed. I wandered through trees and felt the calm of old redwoods. I sat on shores and watched the endless waves. I stared at the night skies and thought of the millions of millions of galaxies and uncountable stars and planets. Oh how magnificent! How small my cares.
I lived the Book of Job, all being stripped from me - family, friends, money, home, almost all earthly things, with just enough left to cling onto the edge. I knew it to be a spiritual experience, a teaching time, a burning off of more of the dross. I hope to live long enough to have some time in the restoration phase, but I don't know if this wish will be granted.
From time to time, I have been granted a glimpse into The More. I have seen the Light. I have met what I call Beings of Light, I have seen beyond. I have heard with my ears Guidance loud and clear. I have sat in one place and seen another that was simultaneously occurring. I have had deep and profound spiritual moments, ever since early childhood. I have experienced inspirational writing that just flows through me without my intellectual gyrations. All were gifts. I cannot make them happen. They happen as gifts, as surprises, as evidence. For you see, I know there is so much more than those with earthly blinders can even imagine. I know the bedrock of earthly life is to develop spiritually in spite of, or sometimes because of, whatever is going on here. I know life continues. And I know it is a privilege to be given this opportunity to come to earth and develop our souls.
In case I don't get to know all of you who read my words on this blog, I leave this testimony to lift you and help you as you journey through your own journey of awakening to The More.
May your life be all God intended it to be when you were given the gift of coming here. May you drop your intense focus on the this and that of this place, and turn to The Light where you will find what you have been seeking. God bless you and keep you.
With all of my heart,
M. Marlene Oaks