Do you ever ask the question “why am I here?” Do you wonder about why things are as they are? Don’t you think about how all this comes together? Don’t you ponder what happens in the next life? Maybe those questions are too deep. Maybe they aren’t. But I know everyone reading this post has been hurt or rejected or felt alone. I know that everyone has worried about how they look or how others see them. I am certain that you have experienced moments of great joy and moments of deep sadness. In the deep sadness we all ask, “why God?” or “what is going on?” or “what have I done wrong?” There isn’t a single person on planet Earth who hasn’t experienced some kind of loss or some great joy in accomplishment. Everyone has felt deep love for someone. Everyone has had a moment of deep reflection when they sensed something so much bigger than themselves.
These posts in this season are an attempt to help us understand what is going on inside of us as we interact with the seen world and an unseen reality. I’m not talking about ghosts or demons or any of that. I mean if you read these posts you have a sense of something greater than yourself and you likely call it God. If you have been following these posts for some time you call Him Father or Abba or Jesus or maybe Yahweh or Jehovah. He is the “I am” because the greatest reality in the cosmos is the “I exist” of God. When we see how we are connected to Him we begin to see ourselves. The stuff outside of our connection with God is stuff we make up, it is a reaction to a the world that surrounds us. That reaction, that response is our Lena response.
When Lena isn’t healthy, her identity is in what people think about her and whether she feels accepted or not. When Lena is healthy she knows God loves her and her acceptance is found in Him. She knows she is connected to God in her innermost being or her Trudy. Trudy is what most would call our spirit. Trudy is the life that God gives us. Trudy is God’s expression in us. Trudy is our center of divine love. Trudy does not judge but loves unconditionally. A Trudy response is what you feel when you hold a newborn or have your first kiss or your wedding day. A Trudy moment is when you know the unconditional love of God in your life. Lena is healthy when she knows the love of Trudy.
The problem we face as humans is our judgment of ourselves and others. When we judge we can’t love unconditionally. When we judge we point fingers. Jesus Himself said we shouldn’t judge. He knew what He was talking about. Judgment kills. Inside of all of us is a judgment mechanism I call Judy. An unhealthy Judy creates separation between Lena and Trudy. She lives in fear and projects that fear in judgment towards Lena. Judy is the reason that Lena cares about what others think. An unhealthy Judy will drive us into bitter division and exclusion and separation. She will blame everyone including herself. When Judy is raging, Trudy has no chance to love Lena. Judy can only be healed when she is loved. Only the unconditional love of God will set Judy free of judgment. This unconditional love comes through forgiveness and acceptance and inclusion and assurance. When Judy isn’t afraid (especially of God) she can be free of judgment.
Sorting all this out and finding wholeness within ourselves is the answer to all those questions at the beginning of this post. When we are healthy within and living “in the Spirit” of our union with our Abba, we know the answers to all those questions. We know we are loved in our grief and our sadness and our pain. We know we are loved in our joy and happiness and accomplishments. We are set free in love to be free from the bondage of our circumstance. In love we are set free from our past and our experiences and our junk. In love Lena knows how to bring Trudy to the world and avoid danger in Judy. When we are healthy and whole and living from our oneness in God we are like Jesus. When we are like Jesus we are God’s love to others. When we are like Jesus our joy in the midst of circumstance is a beacon of truth that points to the love of God. The love of God holds all things together.
This is why these posts. This is why I want to share Lena and Judy and Trudy. It isn’t intended as a deep psycho-anything but a tool to help us understand where we come from and who we are. Everyone has those questions.
I’m not the first to travel this road. Check out this quote from Merton:
“OUR vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny. We are free beings and sons of God. This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living. It is quite easy, it seems to please everyone. But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high. To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls “working out our salvation,” is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation. We do not know clearly beforehand what the result of this work will be. The secret of my full identity is hidden in Him. He alone can make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to be. But unless I desire this identity and work to find it with Him and in Him, the work will never be done. The way of doing it is a secret I can learn from no one else but Him. There is no way of attaining to the secret without faith. But contemplation is the greater and more precious gift, for it enables me to see and understand the work that He wants done.” (Thomas Merton, “New Seeds of Contemplation.”)
In the last post I shared a verse from one of Paul’s letters. Let me show you a different translation:
Phil 2:13 Discover God himself as your inexhaustible inner source; he ignites you with both the desire and energy that matches his own delight! 2:14 Your entire life is a poem; any undercurrent murmuring or argumentative debating would be completely out of place! Do not let such issues disrupt the rhythm of your conversation. 2:15 Your flawless innocence radiates attraction as beacons of light in the midst of a people who have forgotten their true sonship and whose lives have become distorted and perverse.(The Mirror Bible)
Can you see Trudy and Lena and Judy in that passage? Trudy is our inner source and our energy and our desire. An unhealthy Lena responds with murmuring and arguments and is completely out-of-place. Judy needs to know flawless innocence so she doesn’t forget her true sonship.
Being whole is being “saved.” Our “salvation” is knowing our identity as God’s children. This is what is eternal. When our lives are nothing but temporal interactions with a temporal world in a temporal fashion, we are not living. We don’t know who we are.
One thought on “Salvation and LJT part two”
Loved the Merton quote. Amen!