This is the sixth of a series of guest posts and dialogues around the question: How does Whiteness Separate us from God?
Written by jeannie
“the day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again.”
nearly two years ago i accidently saw God in burgettstown pennsylvania. on that day i met a young woman who was waiting by the side of the road with a cardboard box in her hands and inside this box was God.
its picture (after coming home) is below:
earlier that week at a church down the street from my apartment i had learned the term “panentheism” as defined by the author Matthew Fox: “God is in everything and everything is in God.” it seemed like a nice thought that God could be closer than watching us from somewhere else, but now after seeing this tiny part of God that we call a rabbit the theology started to breathe. i had no words to describe the shocking transparency of this black and white thing-in-a box which was so new to its own neuromuscular system.
no description, that is, except God.
after that day i began to perceive that same startling what-it-isness more and more frequently and i believe it is always here in everything although most of time i disregard it in favor of separating and comparing and associating and preferring.
one example of this kind of dream, in the context of Amanda’s blog question, is whiteness. *
when i look in the mirror or down at my body and think or say “white,” my attention shifts from the actuality of my sight to that second screen that people call the “mind’s eye.” i lose awareness of the patterns and contours and movingness and heat of myself-as-i-am. instead all i see are the meanings of whiteness in my mind and which are dead outlines. **
it doesn’t seem to matter whether i feel pleasure or pain when calling my self-image white. it is still a cheap thrill compared to the moving heat of this myself. misidentifying with whiteness or any other label that shows up on that second screen of my mind absolutely lacks the power of What-It-Is, to God.
i don’t believe that White or Rabbit or any other dream can separate what is already true from myself, itself. however these dreams too often result in a case of mistaken identity and i believe that i am what i’m not.
*because God is in everything and everything is in God, i believe that labels and associations are also a part of God but i often mistakenly treat them as gods in themselves.
**i don’t actually believe that anything is dead.
jeannie lives and works on the east side of Pittsburgh as a nursing assistant and GED tutor. She prefers to spend most of her spare time in conversation with her rabbits.