Three quotes have engaged me in dialogue today. At first glance they may seem disjointed, but I don’t believe in such. I think that everything is about everything…that there is constant banter going on in my life – between events, emotions, even the things I repress and shove down. It all connects. It all matters. And it’s all one big, fat, beautiful conversation that’s talking to and with me all the time – if only I will listen.

The three quotes:

You must wait and listen for the sound of the genuine that is within you. When you hear it, that will be your voice and the Voice of God.
Howard Thurman)

I say that religion isn’t about believing things. It’s ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.
(Karen Armstrong)

barn’s burnt down…now i can see the moon.

Here’s what this conversation sounds like in my brain, my heart, my life:

To understand my genuine voice as the voice of God has taken me a long, long time. It’s been fraught with leavings (my marriage, the church, my youthful – and cherished understandings of religion and God). But those leavings have led to profound findings (passion, feminist theology, amazing relationships, an out-loud voice, truth-telling, new ways of experiencing “god”). And those very leavings are what have enabled me to find (and hold on to) my genuine voice…thereby knowing and experiencing God, others, and self in far more profound ways.

I needed the damn barn to burn down. I needed to be standing in the ashes, waiting for the smoke to clear. Once that barn was gone then yes, I could see the moon. That luminous, gorgeous orb (which might even be God and/or my genuine voice) shed light on what was most true, what was most genuine, what mattered: alchemy, change, holiness and sacredness. I needed “religion” and belief to be replaced by behavior that was compelled not by rules or dogma, but by my passions, hopes, and desires; behavior that was then LIVED in the real, day-to-day aspects of my life.

Howard Thurman, Karen Armstrong, and Masahide have never had an actual conversation, but that doesn’t make it any less real. In my brain, heart, and life their dialogue is profound, vibrant, provocative, and ongoing. Their discussion, their “intertextuality,” helps me make sense of the voices that speak incessantly in my own head.

My life is talking to me all the time. My body is talking to me all the time. My heart is talking to me all the time. Others talk, as well. And I get to engage them in conversation. I get to enter in. I get to be curious about how they are speaking to one another. And I get to listen…if only I will.

Conversation matters – even (and maybe especially) when it’s within.  Yes, it’s imagined and made-up, but that doesn’t make it any less real.