My friend Cynthia has a God Can. “Because God can,” she says.
I’m not quite that optimistic.
I keep a God Box, instead – wooden and carved. From Poland, I think. My friend Patsy gave it to my ex and I as a wedding gift, stuffed with cards on which our guests might write their wishes for us.
I’ve used it as my God Box for a while now. Long before my ex and I called it quits.
We moved the wishes into the bottom of a cherry-wood box holding black and white photographs of our big day. Another gift from another friend. I think I tossed the wishes in the recycle bin when I left Seattle a year and a half ago, but I’m not entirely certain.
Over the years I’ve stuffed the God Box with dreams, wishes and, perhaps most importantly, people and situations over which I have no control. Which is pretty much everything and everyone…but in this case, those that caused me pain, anxiety, obsession.
Slips of paper and folded-over sticky notes with names. Occasionally a few details.
My birth mother – she would have jumped into my skin if I would have let her. In the early days of our reunion, she would call so often I didn’t have a chance to call back.
My mad crush in marriage – the one who bought me a whole smoked-salmon on my 39th birthday and nodded knowingly to seemingly every word I said. My guru – the man who held space for everything that poured out of me. Who saw me, was charmed by me, and knew how to hold a boundary.
I desperately wanted to keep each of them. For each to fall into his or her proper place in my life. That was my prayer. To hold them near. Available. But without the pain of longing and attachment.
The Southern Svengali. The man/boy who swept me off of my feet when my birth mom was dying in Charleston. My divorce buddy – the one who spent long, intimate hours on the phone with me every night but insisted he did not have romantic feelings for me.
Orders to the universe. For my condo, my apartment, my office. Notes for a workshop I have yet to conduct. Questions. Who would drive back with me from Seattle to Chicago? A dollar bill. A prayer for prosperity.
I opened up the god box the other day and put a new slip of paper in it.
The name of a man 700 miles away. Last week I told him I could no longer ponder the possibilities of a romantic relationship with him. That he wasn’t available enough to me. And I was no longer available for the knot in my stomach I called uncertainty.
That pain moved from my stomach to my heart. I miss him. I miss my heart leaping each time he calls or messages or just comments on my Facebook status – as if to say, “I see you. I am here.”
I wonder, will we be friends like we promised? (I hope so. We adore one another.) But how? How will he fall into his proper place in my life?While the box was open, I took out the mess of slips inside and read them. I saw that most of these things had come to pass. Had worked themselves out without my doing much of anything, other than writing words on slips of paper and stuffing them into a box. And occasionally twisting, which I’ve learned is not essential to the process.
Most. But some remained. Unresolved. Insistent questions about how I will support myself. When, where and with whom I will have my next relationship, romantic encounter, date, sex, kiss. Words cut out from a magazine, “dreams do come true…” I left them in the box, along with the newest addition.
I’m not sure what to do with those that have come to pass. Do I keep them as a reminder that things change — with or without me? That new loves, losses and worries displace the old ones. That more often than not, I receive some sort of version of what I want? Or do I burn them — as a prayer and an offering?
Meanwhile, there is a little more space in my God Box — room for my work, money and romantic possibilities to grow. Room for God to work on them. Room for me to act as if I believe that God is working on them — which is me doing my work. Writing rather than worrying. Right now.