Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For a long long time--maybe all my life--I've had trouble saying the word "God." I really don't know why. When I say it, I feel my voice hesitate or drop in volume.

"God," when voiced, feels blade-sharp, hot, naked, or raw like a steaming wound. It doesn't feel comfortable or familiar to me. It feels explosive, elemental, like I'm unleashing something when I say it. When I say it, I suddenly feel like I have no idea what I'm talking about, like I've lost control. As if talking about him treads dangerous ground.

And yet, when I hear it, it is like a soft, rich ointment. Once in meeting, a woman stood up to lead us in a beautiful chant. It was simply the phrase "Be still and know that I am God," repeated on a single note. On each repetition, the timing and rhythm of the phrase would be shifted. Simple, plain, hypnotic, pure. I feel water when I hear the word "God;" it's like oceans, waterfalls, lakes, streams, clouds, rain, blood, tears.

Why should voicing the word "God" feel so dangerous, but hearing it feel so soft? What is it about releasing this word from my body into aural space? What is it about receiving it from aural space into my body?

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