Being God’s Janitor

I have finally had to face it. I will never be famous, I will never possess a place of national recognition: be President of the United States, or invent something of world significance like steam power or the cure for cancer. True, I am unique, as is every individual, but I am destined to be one of the faceless masses who will never date a supermodel, or grace the pages of a future high school history book.  Twenty-two and fresh out of college, I charged into the world believing I had a date with destiny and would make just such an impact, but decades have worn off that veneer of optimism to find just a man; a plain man. So how does a man in his forties accept this circumstance without falling into despair or depression, thereby knocking himself out psychologically to all future possibility?

Michael Jordan and Charlie Chaplin possessed great skills that allowed them to reach the top of their respective fields. Their kinesthetic awareness allowed them awe inspiring control over their bodies that became legendary in the world of sports and comedy. These were impressive feats that played to their strengths and made them unique individuals to human history.  For the rest of us, there is little choice in our culture but to recognize there is room for but one Hemmingway or Joan of Arc, and when you are not one in ten million with an office cubicle as the extent of your worldly contribution, accept your meager talents and position; right?

I’ve learned from personal experience, that if Michael Jordan or Charlie Chaplin were called on to orient themselves in a wilderness area, hopelessly lost, their skill set would more than likely prove useless in the situation. Being lost in a desert for example, requires a specific set of observational skills and experiences that raise your possible survival, while dispelling panic for calm choice. When I worked as a field archaeologist in Arizona many years ago, I may not have been the highest ranking member of a survey crew that was lost on assignment, but I had the common sense and presence of mind to stay calm. That choice could never be taught from a textbook. Once I spotted the professors were only feigning a clue about our whereabouts, I laughed as I noticed their inability to admit it. Still, I felt hesitant telling PhD’s about the location of their vehicle when they acted so confident, especially when it was embarrassingly obvious they were lost. Earlier that day, we had emerged from the car at 6:15 A.M. and I quickly oriented myself to the contours of the surrounding mountains and observed the travel arc of the sun. The purpose revisited me in the evening hours when it was time to go home and this simple system of observation determined my relative position to the truck. Disillusioned by rank, I decided to announce my belief in my ability to find our ride and asked them to trust my leadership. Predictably, they reacted in sneering doubt, but begrudgingly gave me a try as their legs grew tight and sore. A bit stunned, they watched as I calmly followed a contour along the low hills in the fading light ending directly at the truck passenger side door. The piercing silence was only broken by the creaking moan of the rusty door hinge. I could see it in their faces: how could a raggedly dressed underling show up years of book learning when all else was even?

Truly, these individual strengths and characteristics define the human experience as we shape and develop them. I didn’t score thirty points in front of a sold out Chicago crowd, but for the four of us, finding the car was of far more relevance. Whether trailblazing through nature, having amazing comedic timing, or an ability to dunk a basketball from the top of the key, everyone has usable skills. Everyone.

But let’s back up a moment and observe the greater horizon: in reference to this “common man” are there essences in human existence that go above and beyond simple gifts or skills? Can a common man/woman walk on water and impact their world in significant ways that both inspire and expand? And, do concepts like spiritualism really exist beyond religious texts?

As I humbly accept my mediocrity and ponder where to go from here, I respond with a definitive yes to all these questions. Each of us has more to give than sitting passively in front of the television, and goodness can be promoted without the benefit of a billionaire’s checkbook. It may generate from thoughts, kindness, or the ability of one’s heart to envelope the soul of another. Spiritual consciousness lay inside each human being and is capable of sending waves of light into those who need to be seen, heard, or lifted to higher states of possibility.

An authentic Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist is fulfilled by helping people toward a path of truth rather than a life consumed by control or ego. How many who see themselves as righteous have taken joy in the destruction of the non-believer over choosing compassion? I’ve heard bible thumping Christians relish in the thought of atheists being boiled in the biblical lakes of Armegeddon sulfur. How much good was overlooked with so much energy being directed by hate?  If the motivation for their beliefs comes from a just, loving diety, why should it matter what others believe? Many in our society are capable of great evil, but if I am allowed a voice, I hope to be gracious enough to ask they be spared hell at the end of the world. Every human being has a piece of God within them and this does not change with the bits of tarnish earned through life. Removing all hope for an eternity for but 70 years of sin kills the possibility of the hidden good ever emerging to serve God. One chance seems ridiculous in a timeless afterlife when we are born so ignorant. How can the compassion of a god have limits where universal love exists?

People of consciousness are content to take a back seat. Madonna, Mick Jagger and other entertainers made millions by being driven to be seen and admired in ego baths of self gluttony. They used their voice and their bodies to win almost cultish followings and dare audiences to look away. For them, this is very much at the core of their being, certainly as much as Michael Jordan’s jumping ability marked him for his kinesthetic abilities. But there is a cost: feeding the ego first, leaves the soul neglected. Embracing a greater spirituality requires careful, moderate satisfaction of earthly pleasures (our primate urges), but these must not be allowed to become the goal to our existence.

Broader goals envision connection, possibility, truth, and a deeper morality. People who see beyond themselves may engulf cultural and individual problems in a higher consciousness that finds fulfillment in the doing. Even the smallest of our activated capacities pull up, bring forward, expand vision, and improve society. Although I would love the opportunity to make a lightning strike of goodwill in my life (making nations choose peace or violence irrelevant), I am just a man: a man with the best of intentions, but still lacking genius and verve to make sweeping change. So it is through small capacities we the common people build big dreams. God may act through you, a simple janitor, to clean up life’s spills while distributing good will. When the common among us recognize the dignity of others merely for their humanity, or demonstrate honesty for the sake of being honest, we distribute a higher purpose.

Being God does not require building universes or parting Red Seas, but a capacity to be the representative of good in each moment. An applied consciousness – through you – to reach others. Being a good listener, holding the trembling hand of a grieving relative,  watching out for the safety of neighborhood children will not only contribute to a livable future, it will activate those elements of hidden spirit that take us beyond a bipedal ape or religious automaton with a computer. Engage your greater self, and the reward will extend beyond through generations. Be God, live God.

St. Mary 038


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rob Schulman
    Mar 07, 2013 @ 03:07:49

    Beautifully written. Beautiful message. Being “common” can mean we all have the spark of the divine in common. Thanks, Mike.


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