I used to not like talking about God. I’m still uncomfortable with it, preferring my conversations with him and her be private affairs. However, when one is The Messenger the whole point of being It is to not keep those conversations private so I have to
learn to move through the discomfort.
I’ve been uncomfortable with it for about a decade, since I was first called The Messenger by beings with whom I had not developed working relationships with. While I was minding my own business one day in the living room, They were minding it, too, and without preamble they dropped the label into my consciousness but no ‘message’. Shams of Tabriz, newly recognized by me then, tried to explain it in a way that I misconstrued, calling me Friend. That led me to think my message was to share his works and that of Rumi, not understanding that Friend meant something bigger: Friend of God.
This encounter and identity showed up in my world a year after God did for the second time. Bold as you please, he showed up in the kitchen for the second time, while I was washing dishes and had the temerity to say, “How will you define yourself?”
What the actual hell kind of question is that? “I’m just fucking Ingrid! What’s wrong with that?!” He asked, then was gone, still not staying to help with the dishes.
I’ve spent the years since that spring in 2008, trying to understand what it is that he was pointing me to. Why, whatever it was that was unfolding (because things had gotten beyond weird), would require me to be anything other than ‘just Ingrid’, just myself after I’d spent forty-ish years creating strength and courage and humor and independence and skillsets that I was happy with, despite the issues that had arisen in those forty-ish years.
When The Messenger designation was slapped on my forehead it made no sense (and only somewhat does now) because I wasn’t given any message, never mind The Message. A decade into this and I’m recognizing that it comes in more ways than one and morphs at it’s own speed…emerging through the body when it’s time and I have little control of the physical and mental processes involved. I’ve learned the only way is to allow, to be still and know. Be still and know.
I don’t know much, really, except that the God-thing, in all it’s forms—far beyond the limitations of our gender designations—is the one doing the praying now: for me to allow, to be still, to trust, to not push and continue going in circles that prevent the unfolding as it’s needed, to get out of the way.
And still I wonder, what’s wrong with being ‘just Ingrid’. Why is any other elevation needed? Except I know why: because that’s what others need to see, to feel. They, too, need it to Know, truly know. For years, I was asked all.the.bloody.time, “Who are you exactly?” and couldn’t understand why what was right in front of them, who was right in front of them wasn’t enough, why I, as just Ingrid, holding their beloved heart in my hand, wasn’t enough.
To a large extent, I still think that. It’s not that I don’t want to rise to the occasion—I actually think I already have in many respects. It’s not that I don’t already wear the mantel of The Messenger in many respects: as the Voice for the Voiceless, as the Voice of The Mother, as the Voice of the dead, and those of others that people refuse to hear. However, I still don’t have The Message and don’t even know if there is one in the way others perceive it should be, how I have perceived in the past it should be.
I do know that the era we’re in is ripe for something people can see and touch and feel, deeply feel through the noise, through the incessant chatter of social media that makes things seem they should be a certain way to be true, The Truth.
I also know that Messengers are reviled before they’re accepted. While we exist within the frameworks others have, we are meant to bend and break the actual frames. I’ve written before, “Those of us that are the outliers and disruptors, though, defy that method of understanding. We don’t fit archetypal views or existing cosmologies that lend themselves to convenient categorization.” Each of those who has come before me has had the same experiences I have had, pushing boundaries and through barriers of culture, language and expectation. Each is with me as I walk through this, those whose names we know and those we don’t: Mohammed, Jesus, Sakyamuni, Shams, the Mary we think we know, the Kwan Yin we want to know, Krishna, Ramana, the other warriors, healers, peacebringers and troublemakers; all iterations of The Messenger brought forth for different times of the human experience.
They’ve been poured into me or walk with outside of me because, when I was in another ‘make it all make sense’ stage, as Jesus said, “I thought you could use some good company.” Those that blew me apart were sent to create space; those that were poured into me were sent to continue lineages of The Medicine that have been ‘lost’ and are to be reintroduced; those that walk with are to help me hold steady when that’s the opposite of what I feel. Because, truthfully, I don’t trust—God or anyone else. However the balm of their company and feeling God’s hand on my head, filling in the places that she’s scooped out is the constant reminder that I am not alone.
So I cry when I cut the last potato, afraid I won’t have enough food again. I cry when I’m afraid I’ll forever be removed from ‘my people’, those whose company I crave like the deep breath of a near-drowning woman. I cry when I don’t know how to be when my being as I have been wasn’t enough and how I will be will keep me removed from that ‘good company’ of others who breathe and move in skin, skin I want wrapped around me. I cry when I think I’ll never feel anything other than the love of God—which I actually don’t feel but ‘just know’, two entirely different experiences. (Which begs the question: why isn’t ‘just Ingrid’ as spot-on as ‘just knowing’?) I cry when the beauty of Messages from before have been forgotten, wondering why the answer to the same prayer is ignored (knowing the answer) and I cry when we holler about and worship the beauty of The Mother but harm her daughters all in the same breath. I cry when I think this can’t be all there is to living; this deep, profound, entwined inner living that is so separate from the practical world of living and the struggle to live without struggle.
I wish I could gracefully be this ‘thing’, this definition, in a way that others want me to be. I’d feel less alone, less tired and more filled up in the not-by-god sense. There’s a value in that comfort and love, there’s a need for that love. However, since I don’t have another definition for myself, it seems I’ll be running with the one god gave me and blessedly he also gave me some sense because I won’t speak a message, any message that isn’t His/Hers. My own has been kiboshed, what I thought the ‘new’ message was going to be about actually isn’t, and so I wait. “Wait for God,” they say. “Wait.”
Just Ingrid, just waiting.