6. ~SOUNDINGS~: PART 1 – The Essentials | 6th Essay – Presence and Absence

by Frank L. Jordan III

6. Presence and Absence

Photo courtesy of Georges Noblet

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Presence and Absence

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What does it mean to know God as Pure Love?

It means knowing that God gives us everything he can.

It means knowing that God loves us unconditionally,

     no matter what we’ve done or are doing,

          no matter what we’ve been or are becoming.

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God is Pure Love.

Pure Love gives everything possible.

     Pure Love withholds nothing.

Pure Love wants to give us comfort, support,

     nurturance, power, confidence, healing,

          knowledge, wisdom, forgiveness, and more.

God wants to give us all of this,

     and something far more precious than all of this.

God wants to give us his, to give us her very self.

And sometimes in our lives we experience this,

     and many times we don’t.

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Why?

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Because God attempts to offer us these precious gifts

     while contending with our natural selves.

Our natural selves—physically, chemically,

     emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—

          are the highest life forms yet known

          within this unfolding manifestation of God,

               this emerging collaboration of nature with God.

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All that we are that is healthy and good,

     all that we’ve experienced individually,

          as families, and as a people

          that has been constructive and helped us grow

               is proof of God’s giving.

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All that we are that is unhealthy and evil,

     all that we’ve experienced individually,

          as families, and as a people

          that has been destructive and hurt us

               is proof that God wants to give more.

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During every moment, at this moment,

     God offers all that he, all that she is!

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But our natural selves—our bodies, our brains,

     our hearts and minds—

          are not fully able to receive,

          to utilize this offering of God

               at this point in time,

               at this stage of our development.

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Don’t get me wrong.

There are ways to gain a greater access to God,

     just as there are methods to nurture

          the experience of God we have now.

They are well known—prayer, meditation, worship,

     contemplation, creativity, study, research, and discovery.

And there are those rare persons

     who have a special talent for these practices

          that has enabled them to gain a much greater access

          to Pure Love than the rest of us.

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There are also those circumstances of life

     that can cut to our very cores,

          the ones that break through our human barriers,

          that strip away our defenses,

               leaving us bare and vulnerable—

               open to God in a way that we usually aren’t,

                    needing God more deeply than we usually do,

                    to experience God in a way

                         that we usually don’t,

                         to swim in God, usually for a limited time.

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But those persons and these events

     are precious and rare, like jewels.

If we don’t encounter them, or run from them when we do,

     then our relationship with God can stagnate,

          or worse yet, regress.

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Our experience of God,

     as a race of beings growing closer to him, to her that is,

          can be compared to the light spectrum.

The way in which the vast majority of us

     are currently aware of God

          is like the portion of the light spectrum

          we call visible light.

Different persons perceive different aspects of it.

This segment of visible light consciousness

     allows for many different kinds of perceptions,

          and therefore, opinions.

It represents an area of great spiritual subtlety,

     where God can be so transparent

          that we sometimes question

          the existence of the Spirit at all.

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It is a consciousness that allows

     for the atheist and the agnostic,

          who offer up arguments that sometimes

          create reasons to doubt.

It is an area that relies heavily on ancient testimony,

     when our race was younger,

          when the line between myth and daily reality

          was not so clearly drawn—

               when signs and wonders rose up

               to meet our ancestors on dusty roads.

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This current state of awareness often trusts

     in the revelations and promises of God

          given to these ancestors,

          while such gems are much scarcer today.

Still, our collective modern spirituality,

     our visible light consciousness,

          hopes and prays for a clearer understanding,

          a heightened awareness.

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Sometimes, some people are granted it—or born with it.

Sometimes, an inner mechanism, like some new transistor,

     is activated somehow within a person,

          and an unseen frequency is tapped into.

When this is communicated to the rest of us,

     our awareness of this light spectrum is broadened,

          enhanced, amplified,

          and we all grow from the experience.

But our growth is tempered by our natural limitations

     at this stage of the game.

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So collectively, as a people,

     we are all in the same developmental boat, spiritually.

Many mull about in the hull, while a few work the deck,

     and a handful mount the masts,

          but we are all in it together.

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But why the sometimes terrifying seas?

Why the vulnerabilities of these bodily vessels?

     And why the mutiny in our hearts?

And where is our lifeguarding Captain,

     our guiding Light?

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It has been theorized that God withholds

     healing and sustenance and companionship

          until we turn to him of our own free will,

          until we change our ways.

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I don’t believe it.

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The God I know doesn’t willingly permit people to suffer,

     allow children to die,

          while we decide whether or not

          we’re going to surrender our hearts to him.

For one thing, there are people every day

     who submit to God’s will,

          make a good, hard, honest attempt,

          and still feel distant from God—

               sometimes for most or all of their lives.

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No, God does not place conditions on his, on her love and care,

     but loves us unconditionally, loves all life unconditionally.

Pure Love offers us everything we need,

     wants so much to give it.

But God contends with the intrinsic power of the universe,

     of this unfolding manifestation of God.

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God, who is the Ultimate Reality,

     works in collaboration with the realities

          brought into existence—to further their development.

However, some realities are more pliable

     or cooperative than others.

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Our reception of God’s presence and power is a process,

     like the process of all of Creation.

The development of our universe and ourselves

     is like a baby’s formation and birth.

It germinates, it grows.

It undergoes interior processes, it is ready.

     It is born.

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It knows life,

     with all of life’s pleasures and pains.

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