Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Crappy Fork

I was thinking about a story that illustrates one of the microcosms of a relationship.


One day you meet a new woman and hit it off.

Eventually, you invite her over to dinner. Time to eat, and you grab a pair of forks from the drawer. 

Nothing wrong with either of them, you just happen to like one a lot more than the other. So, you give her the nice fork and make do with the crappy one.

Time passes, you spend more time together. Maybe you've moved in with one another, or gotten married. Your relationship is nothing but stronger.  You have plenty of forks, but for some reason those same two forks always pop up when you grab some for the two of you. Because, you still think the world of her, you still make an effort to give her the good fork. Keeping the crappy one for yourself.

This goes on for years, then one day she's in a bad mood. You bring her the good fork, and start using the crappy one. She snaps at you, "Why do you always get the good fork?"

It turns out that she really likes the other fork, and has been wanting it the whole time. Your good fork is her crappy fork, and vice versa...


Now, the "Fork" can be anything in a relationship. A pillow, a book, a behavior, an action, a habit, or even a "move."

Somewhere that you think you are going out of your way to be awesome. However, because it has never been discussed. You are actually being self centered and projecting your own wants and needs onto someone else. This happens in just about every relationship, not just romantic ones. 

Honestly, I can't help but feel that all too often this happens to our relationship with the Divine. 

We worry about dressing nice for church. Praying exactly how we think God wants us to. Behaving exactly like everyone else in our congregation, and insisting that anyone new does the same. Adhering ever stronger to tradition or doctrine. Thinking that is what the Divine wants. In extreme cases this search for ever greater sanctity rises to the level of a mental illness called Scrupulosity (it's an offshoot of OCD).

In other words, giving God the "Fork" we think he wants.

It makes sense when you think about it. After all large fancy buildings, nice clothes, catchy music, tradition, and fancy equipment is what impresses us as humans. Surely the Divine must be impressed when we give all these things to them...

Like many Quakers, I think that the Divine craves something else. I personally feel the presence of the Light much more strongly when I am walking in a gorge, or reading a great book then when I am in church or meeting. (I respect that it is very often the opposite for others).
There have been times I wonder if God actually even wants worship, or if it embarrasses them... Or actively annoys the Divine.

There is only one thing that I am personally sure that the Divine wants. I'm only sure of it because there is That of God in Everyone. What the Divine definitely wants is for us to love and take care of each other. Yes, even _______ (fill in the blank with whoever you personally can't stand). Remember, there is That of God within them, even if we have trouble seeing it.