Twice last week I heard myself say, Sometimes I wish I could un-know things; that I could go back to a simpler place and time when I understood God, when I never questioned, when I just believed what I’d been told and taught.
There are many days in which I feel like I know too much – about theology and history and philosophy and culture; about dogma and social justice (or the lack thereof) and feminism and patriarchy. And the more I have come to know, at least at times, the farther I have felt from the Divine.
That is why I love the wisdom of Simone Weil:
Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.
The things that seem to separate us from god, that separate me from the divine, include (but are not limited to) doubt, anger, fear, logic, reason, experience, disbelief, knowledge, memory, grief. Each is legitimate, real, and true and can create the very prison within which we feel trapped and bound, from which we are unable to escape.
But if Weil is right (and I believe she is) then these “walls” are both gift and grace; our very link to the divine.
Doubt becomes pursuit.
Anger becomes passion.
Fear becomes desire.
Logic becomes tool.
Reason becomes perspective.
Experience becomes teacher.
Disbelief becomes surprise.
Knowledge becomes resource.
Memory becomes story.
Grief becomes longing.
If God is God, the the Divine is the Divine, if any of this matters at all, then nothing can separate us – no doubt, no reasoning, no walls, nothing. And when it comes right down to it, that’s all we want anyway: to know that we are never alone; that we are seen and intimately, infinitely cared for; that we are loved.
We cannot un-know what we now do. But we can see and appreciate that knowledge and experience as the very thing(s) that continue to call us to all that we can’t understand, won’t ever understand, and who/what, if we could, would be far too small.