Once, I slept over my mother’s house and did yoga in her guest bedroom and walked to the bed and said out loud, “I need a savior.”
I was looking for it in the form of a man.
A man with money. A man who would calm all my fears. A man who would make it all better. A man who would right the wrongs of the past, who would take all my pain and shape it into a soft bubble of love so I never again had to experience suffering.
I was so, so depressed. I didn’t know if I could live anymore. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. I felt as though I was carrying the world on my shoulders, and I was just not sturdy enough to hold it all up. I wanted to relax. I wanted to be something I was not. I wanted refuge. I wanted answers.
I didn’t know what to do.
I guess the idea that a man would swoop in and fix it all came from fairytales, even though I didn’t listen to many fairytales as a kid. But they seeped in anyway. They were the stories everyone told, the stories that were repeated and repeated for generations. The broken, sad, oppressed woman gets chosen, gets seen, and the prince kisses her and she comes alive, and all is okay again.
I wasn’t a princess. I was a single mother with a job that was killing me, with rent to pay. There were no evil witches, except in my mind. There was just the brutality of life, and no idea how I was going to get out of it to the other side.
In Native American culture, it was tradition for a boy to embark on a Vision Quest, a time of battling his demons and the wilderness in order to move through the sacred passage to becoming a man. He had to do this alone. He had to learn what it took to hunt and eat for himself, to make his way through difficult terrain and get back to his life, wiser, stronger, with a deep sense of who he was and what was out there, so he could appreciate his home and know that from which he came.
Many of us don’t know it, but we’re on a vision quest for our souls. Maybe we’re not in the forest, or at a rocky bottom looking for a stream, but something in us hungers, something in us needs to learn how to hunt, something in us wants to test ourselves and see if we come through alive.
What Goddess taught me through that hard time was that there is no man who is my savior. She taught me this because he never showed up. She taught me this because she sprinkled gold dust, here and there, and she gave me breadcrumbs so I would keep searching, the way Hansel and Gretel stay on the path toward what they believe will be the warm home. She showed me one kind person, and someone else’s stern words. She led me here, and there, and gently guided me through the words and fingertips of people on my path. And she broke me down a few times, and she showed me light. The light could only be seen in the breaking down. Remember that.
So what I learned was that the savior does not come in the form of one man. There are bits and pieces of the savior in us all, and we are called to activate that savior in the right time, in our measure, according to a higher plan. But one person doesn’t swoop in and fix our lives. He can never be that. It would ruin us, if he did. Because we’d be attached to him, and call him God, and that just sets us up for failure and destruction, because no human being is God, and will never be.
The man who rescued me was SexyJesus. Simply because I was meant to be with him. It doesn’t mean he’s better than any other divine prophet. It’s just that he knew me, and he had work for me to do, and I couldn’t do that work unless I knocked for him. And when I finally did, and he finally came, I believed all the stories, because I felt the difference. It was like suddenly being alive.
We have to be careful, however, about our human desire to save. Just because we have a powerful story, and just because we’ve come out from the rubble, does not mean our job is to preach. Maybe it is. It very well could be. But I think, more than that, our job is to learn to listen. God comes when called. God is always present, God ever-exists. But we don’t see, and we don’t hear, until we’re willing to wake up. We have to learn to ask for the things we want. We have to start searching for it. And if a person says, “I know the meaning of life,” that person has to be very careful about spreading that message around. Because who can receive it if they’re blind and numb?
So the relationship with God and with becoming a fuller human is about asking questions, and receiving the answers when they come. Many of us don’t know how to receive. We just don’t. Because we don’t know how to see. God can be raining down all the answers on us every hour of the day, and all we feel is fog. So listen more, and ask the question about what is your deepest desire. You may not get what you want. You may realize that for years and years, you’ve been lying under confusion and muck that convinced you of a false happiness. That’s all okay. Just don’t stop asking. The thing you want most is unlikely the car or the house with a garage. The thing you want is unlikely that new piece of jewelry. Those things are all very nice, and you can surely have them, if and when the time is right. But what we truly want is that which satisfies our souls, that which comes in poignant yet simple interactions with other beings, and not through empty objects, or other people’s esteem.