November 6, 2016

Invisible Friend


I heard an analogy yesterday. It was so good, I have to share.

It is so good for me, because it completely describes how I feel about my experience. I (try) to blame no one, as we all must take responsibility for our actions regardless of cultural conditioning, family expectations, or personal motivations of social connection and inclusion.

We have all heard of children who have had invisible friends. Perhaps you had one, or one of your children did. That invisible friend, created out of a deep psychological need of some sort, is a source of comfort and companionship. The child is never alone, as they can 'conjure' up their invisible friend, speak for their invisible friend, and rely on their invisible friend at any time. However, eventually the child grows out of the need for their invisible friend, and even forgets about them as they get older; sometimes, the only ones who remember are the parents or older siblings. 

But, I know many adults who have an invisible friend, as well. These adults are encouraged, trained, and expected to believe in this invisible friend. But this friend is defined for them by pulpits across the country and world. This invisible friend is shared by millions who affirm his existence. A powerful invisible friend - or sometimes three of them working in tandem - is all-knowing and can offer comfort and companionship. These adults can speak for this invisible friend, and they rely heavily on this invisible friend to guide their lives and decisions. 

I had to just sit and think about this for a bit. An invisible friend.

I have studied enough mythology and religion now to be fully aware of patterns of belief, about etiological stories and explanations of basic human questions. There is no way to study these things, at least for me, and not take a hard, long look at what I personally believe about life, about supernatural powers, about death and afterlife. These issues have been hashed and rehashed intensely in my life for four years (if not more). 

I had an invisible friend. A very powerful one, indeed.
However, the sad truth, for me anyway, is that I am the one who gave him animation. 
I am the one who spoke for him.
I am the one who interpreted 'sacred texts' that spoke about history of belief.
I am the one who incorporated him into the lives of loved ones around me.
I am the one who justified and sustained this belief in my invisible friend.

I also am the one who now takes complete responsibility for my own actions, not waiting for my invisible friend to 'show me his will' or 'know what is best for me' or 'needs to teach me a lesson.'
I was told I needed an invisible friend by many voices, both near and far.

But, I disagree. 
I now know that all that I need for comfort and provision lies within me,
not in a supernatural invisible friend.

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