Saturday, April 21, 2012

God's Pizza Place

"Did you get a cheese pizza?" Ruby asked all fresh faced from swimming, Sadie, her little sister was right behind her, '"Eeese Eatza!" As was our tradition, Mike and Joe took the kids down to the pool and Marissa and I chatted after having ordered the food. We always order from the same pizza place, which is right across the street from the hotel, and we pretty much always order the same thing. I knew that when the phone guy said, after taking my order, "Oh, welcome back to Ottawa!" So, in short, yes, I had ordered cheese pizza for the girls. And Chicken for Marissa, and Spicy Spaghetti for Joe, and pizza with pineapple, hot pepper and onion for Mike and me. Our get together meal is always stress free, everyone gets what they want. Getting vegetables into children will come later in the visit.

"Cheese pizza!" I said in mock horror. "You wanted CHEESE PIZZA!?!?!? I forgot and ordered you pizza with broccoli and cauliflower." Ruby, who is a vegetarian child who hates vegetables, was having none of it. No matter how much I tried to convince her that she was getting pizza covered in 'slimy vegetables' she didn't buy it for a second.

"OK, smarty pants, how do you know I didn't get you a Very Vegetable pizza?"

With a lightness in her voice that I wish I could capture and put here in words, she said, "Because you love me."

How is that for secure?

How lovely it must be to rest so securely in the knowledge that you are loved that you never have to worry about being neglected, or having your wishes ignored, or enduring trickery and malice. How lovely it must be to know that your world is safe and fun.

When I was little, this is how I saw God.

I believed what I was told.

I believed that I lived in a world loved by God and that I was personally loved by God.

In my mind, that made sense to me.

I had a 'blessed assurance'.

Maybe that's what childhood is - a time of believing that all encompassing, all embracing love can exist. Maybe that's what we mean by the 'innocence' of children. Maybe that's what needs protecting. Maybe it's good to have a few years where love can both magical and real.

Even now I remember the shock I felt at being told, with the fervour of absolute conviction, that God did not love me. That there was love, there was an all embracing, total immersion love, but that I did not qualify. I remember the deep hurt of exclusion. I remember the pain I felt at the rejection of who I was by LOVE incarnate.

I never again trusted the world to give me cheese pizza.

For a moment I looked in Ruby's eyes of certainty, in Sadie's eyes of expectation and knew that every day that I can extend their experience of a world in which love exists, love from a human form, love from a cosmic other - I was giving them a gift. A real gift.

And I believe still, if no longer for me, then for them, that if God ran a pizzeria, he'd deliver exactly what was ordered.


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Kristin said...

Dave, this is such a wonderful post but, I need to correct you on one thing. I have no doubt, not a smidgen of a doubt, that if God ran a pizza place that he would always have the perfect pizza for you.

Unknown said...

If your definition of childhood is correct, then I know way too many PwD- myself included- who had very short childhoods indeed.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dave - God DOES love you. He doesn't change - He is still the same God of your childhood. He loves you UNCONDITIONALY. There is nothing you can do to earn His love - no tasks to fulfill - no rules to follow. The only request is that you except His Gift - His Son. He did it all - you don't have to do if any of us could. So be secure in the knowledge that you ARE loved, now, just the way you are, and you are never neglected and He will not leave you. God is love. Religion and it's rules is man's attempt to reach God - but all God wants is a relationship and His Son is His way of reaching to us. The world may hand you slimy vegetables on stale crust - but God gives you the best - His Son. Not the promises of roses or easy going - but eternal life. Keep looking up!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Savannah, I too, had a very short childhood - by the definition in this post. I wrote it this way purposely. I keep hearing about the 'innocence' of children, and the 'loving' nature of families. I want children to have those things, particularly because I didn't. They say that those hurt as children will become adults who hurt children. I don't believe that needs to be true. I hope that I will always remember hurt, and betrayal, and trust lost - and try to ensure that the children in my life experience none of those from me. Because my 'innocence' was lost the moment I realized, before four, that I was not the child that my family dreamed of having.

Jan said...

Dave what a wonderful post. Thanks for making my morning with it. I know Ruby and Sadie will maintain their innocence for as long as their parents, you and Joe can stretch it and they will dine in God's Pizzaria

John R. said...

I am spending a week solo with my daughter. My wife has to visit her ailing mother in Japan next week and it is me and the kid!! Frankly, I am a bit terrified. Mom is the primary caretaker. I have a great relationship with my daughter but Mom is the one who manages the meltdowns and doles out the lion's share of discipline and etc.....This post has helped me shift something in my perspective. Even despite my eventual mandate next week to handle a 2 and a half year old's meltdowns and the occasional need to remove her from atop the cat, I can do so with, hopefully, some whimsy and a deep sense that I love her regardless of this behavior. I will use this post to sorta "road-map" me through this next week where she and I will be completely together. This will be the first time she is away from her mom for an extended period. Please send me good luck and loving wishes!! Thank you for the post..

Janet said...

Anonymous, if you "Christians" believed your own rhetoric, maybe you'd stop telling gay people and disabled people that we are God's bastard children. I was told that God could not love me. My "twisted form" was evidence of a "twisted soul". You can't have it both ways. We are loved or we are not. I try not to hate a God I no longer believe in. I try not to hate him for the messages he sent to me when I was young enough to need His love but only received His judgement. I love Dave's posts but don't understand his faith.

Anonymous said...

Janet....i am sorry for your experiences. Words from me cannot heal that pain. YOU are loved. God knows you and loves you.

Natasha said...

As a Christian, nothing in this world makes me angrier than people who have the gall to tell someone that they are not loved by God. It breaks my heart. I think the people who say someone isn't loved have completely missed the basic message of what Christianity is all about.

Dave (and Janet too!), I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are a treasured creation in God's eyes... He delights in you and love you completely; and, you don't have to change, hide, or deny anything about yourself for that to be the case!! He loves you just the way you are.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who tells another person that God doesn't love them is not really a Christian. Unfortunately there are far too many who use His name, but won't listen to Him.

Just as Natasha says, God always loves you, He knew you and loved you before you were born. Think about that, God was as excited about meeting you at your birth, as Ruby is about cheese pizza. He knows and loves every single one of us. Just as we are.

I'm sure He loves those so-called Christians too, but they must make Him very very sad.


Jan P said...

As a Jewish person, I do not believe that accepting Christ's divinity (I do not doubt he existed) necessarily equates to being assured of G-d's love. I do believe G-d created us all - disabled, able-bodied, gay, straight, etc. - exactly as we were intended to be.