Is that You at the door? | Dear God

by Elouise

Dear God,
I ended my last letter with a question: “When I go to the door to open it to You (the stranger), how will I know it’s You?” I’ve been puzzling over my question all week.

Do You remember George MacDonald’s sonnet: “Yestereve Death came, and knocked at my thin door…?” MacDonald looks out the window, recognizes Death, gets scared, and can’t find You. His solution is to ask You to go to the door the next time Death comes calling. I think You’re already in his house.

This got me thinking about my relationship with You in a different way. Just because You’re in my house, that doesn’t mean I’ve given You access to the stable out back. In fact, it probably means I’m watching to see how You treat the kitchen, for example. Or my closets. Or even the attic.

This reminds me of a visit years ago from Mom and Dad. From the beginning Mom called attention to the cobwebs on the living room ceiling. Then it was the way I stacked dishes in the dishrack, and the way I set the table. To name a few.

Mom did what she always did. She gave me Mom’s Household Tips and pointed to places where I would really benefit from following her Tips. She even rearranged things in the dishrack to demonstrate how much better her way was than mine. And I did what I always did: I felt ashamed, dishonored, and angry.

One day during the visit she asked to see my attic. I’d already thought about this possibility. I didn’t want her up there. I was afraid she would start on her Household Tips. I also couldn’t remember one single time when I’d held my boundaries and told her No, I don’t want you to do that or go in that room.

So I decided that if she asked about seeing the attic, my answer would be No. I even told my husband, so he wouldn’t spoil things by offering to take her up there.

She asked. I said No. She was distressed. I told her part of the truth: I was embarrassed because it was a mess. Dad watched the drama, but didn’t interfere. I didn’t back down. I felt relieved because I broke my cycle of gritting my teeth and bearing it. I also felt guilty for keeping my mother out of my attic.

Here’s my point. Based on my experience with You, I know You wouldn’t shame me. You would stand with me as your beloved daughter-child, not over against me as my constant critic. You would be for me, not against me, as though You had to score points. Most important, You wouldn’t invade every corner of my life without my consent.

So where’s my stable? I think it’s in my heart. This morning some stuff from my childhood came up right out of the blue. It created a lot of energy and adrenalin. Anger, too. I know it’s unfinished business. But I don’t have a clue where or how to begin. I need Your help. Or the help of one of Your strange, unexpected angels.

Some people might laugh if they knew what’s bothering me. Some might try to shame me by pointing out how silly this is next to all the death and destruction going on in the world today. But it’s important to me in my world.

Besides, I’m tired of pretending it isn’t important, or that I can make it disappear. The truth is, I let You in the front door a while ago. You’ve seen a lot, yet You never shamed or dishonored me. Sometimes You put me in touch with other strangers who helped me see myself differently. So I’d like You to take a look inside the stable of my heart.  I’d like to know what You see.

Maybe when Your eyes look at what I call a stinking mess, You’ll see something else and offer that to me. You’ve done it before.

Your slightly apprehensive and hope-filled daughter-child,

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2015