Well what's been going through my mind is "Welcome to your graduation." The distinction being, I don't think that graduations work quite the way you are told they do in high school. That's not a graduation, simply working your way up through a couple of grades. Graduations happen at the stunningly beautiful or painful moments in your life; graduations happen because of you, because of what you are, not because of what you want or because you've received a meaningless piece of paper. And what I also come to realize is that God, I have no control whatsoever. And how I wish I did! And how I've fought with God to get that control, as though if I had it I would be all right. If I had the ability to control my life, my feelings, my thoughts, anything and everything that I am I would somehow be all right. But that is not what this is about. It's not the truth. God, you've been teaching me always to surrender and you know I fight you every single day, every single step of the way. But the graduations come when you win. When I acknowledge that you are mightier than I (O God of the whirlwind!) and you rule the world. And that I can't fight it, God; I can't make You do it the way I want You to, and what's more, I understand why. It's because I can't learn that way, because I'm made of such stubborn stuff that you've got to beat it into me; you've got to pound me and make me learn by making me live it. But you understand why I don't volunteer for this opportunity, just wake up in the morning happily and say, hey God, where's the Agiel today, and can I wield it instead of you? Because I'm not Richard Rahl and I don't feel sad for Denna.
All right, I admit it. I can't control anything. You happy now? You've got what you wanted? No, I don't think you have. You've got me to admit I haven't got the power, but that doesn't mean you want me unhappy. I know what you're up to. You're going to put me through hell before I find what is true, what is happy, what I am meant for. And God, I admit it to you freely; I am scared. I am scared; I don't want this, don't want the pain, don't want the ups and downs and pitfalls and free-falling. I don't want it but I understand it, because You've done it enough times to me that I can understand it; I freaking get it. I get You. I know what you're doing here; I know that I need to learn this stuff but that doesn't mean I have to want to. I think You can understand that, yes? So I'm still fighting You, and You know it, but at the same time I am aware of what you want of me, which is to live, to experience, to suffer through and figure it out as I go along. And I'll give You my best damn shot of doing it, but that means I am going to fight with you sometimes, and be angry at you other times. Which is what I'm being right now, difficult. Yes, I am a difficult child, and you know that because I'm your child. I get it from you. My inheritance, made in your image, is to be just as difficult and stubborn as you could possibly want me to be. You wouldn't take as much pride in being able to break me otherwise, would you?
That's the way this works. You break me into shards so as to humble me completely so that I piece myself back together, stronger than before. Something new, something beautiful. And I exist like that for a little while before you break me again, deeper and more painful than last time. There are so many stages to this; I see them. But God, you've got to forgive me for being scared. Must it hurt so much always? I am going to do it; I can walk through fire if You make me, but the most difficult thing is to make it my choice. To make me realize this is the way it's going to be, these are the rules of the game, and then make me operate off of them. So okay, God, let's put it this way. I'll do this, because I have to, but I have the right to be scared and unhappy and in all ways not okay with it. Because it's difficult to want to learn this way. This is not something you can want. This is Evey in "V for Vendetta" being tortured by V without knowing it, but realizing in the end that it's to make her stronger and that God is in the rain. That's the game you are playing with me. I don't know it's torture because it is so pleasurable for a time, and you even allow me to think it can happen. But then it turns out you were just playing. Trickster God! And I admire you for it. I admire You even for Your trickery...
God, do you mind that this is how I pray to You? A public prayer in order to announce your strength and to tell you I do appropriate homage to You. That I love you, you know, that at times I hate you, you also know. That I realize what you are doing afterwards, but never at the time, you know most of all. I love my murderer, Heathcliff says; at times it is very apt! I love my God; I love my murderer. That's what Holocaust survivors have, that kind of awareness of who and what you are. There are some of them who can never forgive You for what they learned about themselves because of You. That's what kills us, you know, when we are less than what we are. Nothing to do with the physical pain. Only with our expectations of ourselves. God, do you take pleasure in making me fall? I think you do it only to teach me it is possible. And more than that, what is possible. There is so much I would not know except you made me fall.
So stubborn a student and so demanding a teacher! Do you expect me to be all smiles? No, no, I know you don't expect it. But what the hell is your plan for me? Why do I need all this; what is it for? If only I could know what it was for, it would be easier to bear. But I understand- Evey couldn't know her role till she had braved death for it. And it's the same thing. I will not understand until I need to. And in the meantime, you are "subtle but not malicious" as you dance through my life. A whirlwind? No, not a whirlwind. A breath, a thought, an idea playing across my mind. That is what you are, God; you are subtle. You allow me to feel so that you can take all feeling away. You allow me to pray so that you can refuse my prayers- although I know you shall grant them later. God, there are times where I swear I could say I hate you- and there are times where I love you so, and those too are true.
Oh, my graduation. How I have graduated! How many graduations do you think I have had in this year alone? I don't want to think about it; it's too funny in a contorted, gasping-for-laughter kind of way. If I could wish for anything, I would wish to understand, just as Moses did. And you would deny me, not for the question in and of itself- that was their fault and their misunderstanding; there was never anything wrong with the question- but because the best way to understand is to live the answer. You answered Moses' question. You had him live the answer. You had him live not entering the land. And how he understood that, then, and how bitter and beautiful an understanding it must have been. Is this your plan then, to have me live the answer as well? To fall and fall until I do?
You've taught me already to give up my pride. What pride before a being who can wreak havoc in my life whenever He so chooses? You've had me give up my control. I know, God, believe me, whose world it is and who runs it. And I know it's not me. What more is there for me to give? What else are you going to take from me? You've had every feeling I possess. You have had my hatred, my thanks, my praise, my love and most of all, my anger. What else can I give up to you, God who is Mine? I don't know. But because I don't have the imagination to conceive of it, does not mean that You do not...
You know your opponent and you know I'm damned stubborn. So we're going to play this game, and I'm going to keep losing, and you're going to know it's not really losing but part of your plan to teach me, to have me keep on graduating, from one level to the next. But what is at the end of the game? Not eternal bliss, no. Perhaps an extremely thorough understanding of myself, the entry way to knowledge. But is it worth it? I prayed for this once; would I have prayed for it if I had known the price? Yes, yes, I think I would. Because I'm stubborn, I'm stubborn, I'm stubborn. And God, do I know it! And do you know it! And there is nothing else in the world to do but suffer through and await the bliss you are going to show me at one point in time, or the answer you are going to teach me, over and over, until at last I too will not enter the Promised Land.
And the worst of it is- the worst and most beautiful part- is that I will understand! I will understand the whole way through, just as Moses did, just as You do. I will comprehend it when you deny me the Promised Land because it's not you who is denying it to me- it is me- because I bow my will before Yours. Moses could have taken a step- he could have walked in- you would have killed him but he could have, if he had desired, but he didn't, he didn't! And why didn't he? Why didn't he, I ask you! Because he loved you! Because he loved you still, even then. As I am damned to do as well, and you know it, you know it! You couldn't do this to anyone except that they would love you throughout it all. What a damned, damned game, these levels and graduations and knowledge of the different gradations of pain and beauty. Must they always be linked? There are people who break under this; who says I won't?
Ah, but You know- and I know- that I won't.
I would hate you, God, but I can't because I love you so. I appreciate the brilliance of this game you play with my life, and it allows me to revere and respect You even as I fight it. I find your skill breathtaking, the simplicity of your moves majestic. In everything You do I see beauty.
It would just be so much easier if I could hate You- if I could, of my own volition, enter the Promised Land.