So often through life I have struggled with the concept of God and my understanding of what it is I believe. I do this not just because of having been around the concept my entire life, not because as an trained practicing engineer I try every day to understand the workings of that which surrounds me. If God exists, whether power or physically, God must show existence through function. How does God work? I struggle with this engineering viewpoint.
My Mother, a devout Roman Catholic, who struggled even while traveling in remote India to bring her three children to church on Sunday morning. Aghast that the guide had brought her and her trailing young children to an Anglican church instead of the Roman Catholic mass she had been promised. Immediately breaking out back to the car to find the proper house of God. Arriving nearly at the end of the Roman Catholic Mass going on, she placed a large amount cash (for her I am sure) into the offering bin to make up for the failings of the guides assumed as her own.
Did that offering provide her with a feeling of penance? Did it allow for her feelings of offsetting the guilt she obviously felt for failure to assure her children and herself could fulfill their Catholic obligation of attending mass on Sunday even in a remote non Catholic country like 1968 India? She appeared to me satisfied and assured that she had shown her young offspring that every struggle to show devotion to God must be taken.
When I was a young man I witnessed another such act of contrition for the feeling of failure. A young woman in the Philippines who struggled through the poverty of her station in life by spending her days with young men from foreign countries traveling while they provided clothes and food for her daily needs. When the touring arrived at a nearby Roman Catholic church this young woman, who was strong and direct in her understanding of what needed to happen in daily life would not walk in the church. No, instead she entered the church kneeling before the door and moved the entire time to the altar and back on her knees. She never once stood while inside. Once outside she rose and back to her direct and happy nature. What appeared to make her almost happier by the experience was yet a question in by then growing engineering mind.
The concept that God grants a gift of special knowledge in those that struggle to understand the idea of his very nature may not be a new one but it has, for me at least, become a central theme in the unraveling of the existence or reality of God. For both my Mother and the young Filipino woman, God appeared to provid them with knowledge (some may say feeling) that their mere struggle to show deference for God’s existence would make a difference.
Though I have spent hundreds of hours studying with numbers of religions what it is they, and hopefully find what I, believe about the concept of God it has fallen back on the continual revelation of the gift of special knowledge from unknown origin. Those who show and in some cases struggle to show deference to concept of God are granted from time to time the ability to understand things, know things that they could not have knowledge of and realize a change that makes a difference in their concepts, capabilities and abilities in daily life.
While I could reveal several such instances in my life, some more important than others, I have have chosen one that most recently shown evidence of this concept in my life. It by far is not the most exacting and revealing, nor the example most remote vivid revelation of this concept. It is merely a simple example that is not much different than those shown above of my Mother and the young Filipino woman.
A longtime friend of mine whom I had not seen in years was dieing of asbestosis. He like all of us as young men had been exposed to asbestos on merchant vessels bringing people their goods to buy in the stores from foreign lands or the gasoline to put into their cars to bun. The fibers lodged in his lungs were killing him in such a way that, when I saw him for the first time in nearly ten years, he had to have a small button near him that would provide a small pump of morphine to reduce the pain as he struggled to raise his chest to pull in life’s breath. While visiting I ask mundane questions of to keep his attention and about his new tractor he had, I asked if he had shown his son how to drive it. He thought, turned to his wife and almost cried that he had not done that yet. I was not sure if it was a struggle to warn his wife or a wish that he wanted to do that.
That evening and for the next week of nights I prayed to God to allow him to do just that. To get well enough for even a little bit to teach his son how to drive the new tractor. It was the only fair thing for God to do to show his worth, of course. After a week one night I suddenly changed my prayer. I don’t know why or what changed but I suddenly felt that God needed and would do what is best for my friend and that it must be that alone. The next day I learned that my friend had passed that night.
Upon hearing of my friends passing I began considering that once again I had a been granted a special knowledge of events that I did not know. The sense of change that what must be done was for my friend not my need to prove God existed by some miracle. The knowledge had no origin it just arrives.
I still unbolt and analyze these events in my life to understand the concept of God. I struggle with each event to understand how it could happen. It is unfortunately the curse of an engineer to understand that which is not or maybe some would say cannot be understood. But if not understood, by me at least, I can publish the thought for others who may someday understand.
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