The following is an excerpt from Love, God by Deborah J. Simmons-Roslak and Linda J. Orber. It’s a featured Speakeasy selection, and there are still limited review copies available for qualified reviewers.
“Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture.”
–Anthony de Mello
Little children wonder at the world. Flowers, sky, ocean and snowflakes awe them. With open hearts and hands they accept what is presented on face value. The laughter of toddlers rings with delight and glee as they endlessly explore the world running, walking, tripping along their day. The space of pre-judgment is where the child dwells. A space where smells, tastes, sounds and sights are miraculous to behold and where one complete moment follows one complete moment.
It is an unfortunate truth that the adults in charge of children are also the keepers of spiritual toxicity. Adults systematically and consistently squeeze the wonder and awe from little children in the name of norms and expectations. Norms and expectations have no need for wonder or glee. Norms and expectations of society feed spiritual toxicity bloating its owner. In turn, the spiritually toxic spill waste upon the young, for whom living, laughing and wondering are as natural as breathing in and breathing out. When the sheer joy of living has been acceptably terminated, the child is guided down the road to adulthood filled with societal expectations so that the process can begin once again. Unless of course one brave individual once in a while just says no.
No thank you to the norms and expectations. No thank you to the spiritually toxic spills and warnings regarding refusal. No thank you honestly. I’ll hold on to my joy.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made now in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Take a Moment to Listen:
Precious child: Do you know who you are? In Truth you are no less than the delight of Heaven itself, of total and complete Love from which you have been given breath and breadth. All wonder and expanse lay safely still within your heart. No fear or doubt could erase that which you are. Come walk with Me awhile.
As a young child we gaze with wonder at the natural world. Everything is an adventure. We are simply delighted by life. As we get older, it becomes harder to remember that joy and wonder. We worry too much about all of the expectations we impose upon ourselves.
Find a comfortable spot and settle in. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Once again invite God to be with you. He loves you unconditionally and offers you joy. Was there a place outside as a child you loved to explore? Perhaps it was in a wooded area, or on a farm, a park, or even in your own backyard. Let yourself think of it now. If you didn’t have such a place you can create one.
Is there a tree with all kinds of birds? Are there interesting bugs on the ground and dandelions you can make wishes with? Whatever it is that would give you joy, you can allow yourself to explore it now. Take your time. Have some fun exploring. There is so much joy God wants you to feel. You can talk to God about your experience. Allow Him to respond. Hear Him tell you that He wants you to feel more joy in your life. Then tell Him how you might be able to give yourself more of that joy. He wants you to have it. Write down your experience if you like. You can always come back to this lovely place in your mind whenever you need to do so.
Praise for Love, God
“Whether or not we consider ourselves religious, Simmons-Roslak and Orber argue that each of us, deep down, is hoping to be touched by God. Even so, the vast majority of us have inadvertently created barriers that keep us from recognizing the presence of God in our lives … Simmons-Roslak and Orber excel at ensuring thematic cohesion..a well constructed meditation guide that offers advice both Christian and universal … thought provoking Christian meditation manual.”
“Love, God by Deborah J Simmons-Roslak and Linda J Orber is a powerful book about the love that God has for us …This book will help you draw as close to God as you want to … I think it would be a great study aid for Life Groups to work through a section at a time, or also for personal reflection and growth … ”
“Love, God is an excellent book that explains God’s love for us … this book teaches us how to be still and learn to listen. It teaches us how we can learn to live in peace in our hearts and minds. This is an excellent book whether you have been a Christian, or want to learn to quiet your mind and restless soul. I very highly recommend it.”
About the Authors
Deborah J. Simmons-Roslak is an ENL teacher in the NYC public school system. She lives with her family and four legged children in Maplewood, New Jersey. She holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy/theology as well as, master degrees in TESOL and special education.
Linda Orber is a licensed psychoanalyst. She practices in New York City. She lives in New York with her family and her comical dogs, which are all rescues. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology. She also graduated from The New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis. She is interested in all forms of spirituality and loves any opportunity to learn more.