Thursday, 10 November 2011

breaking jars

Saint Teresa of Avila wrote “All concepts of God are like a jar we break, because only the infinite can contain our perfect love.” 

Do you have a certain picture of God? I do. Sure, there's the old man with a beard sitting on a throne. But more than that, I can sometimes think of God as a measuring stick. And I don't always measure up. Not a very uplifting image of God. 

A couple of years ago, I had some dreams that were striking. At the time, I was getting down on myself for something or other. And I was missing my grandma, who had died several years before. 

One week I dreamed about my grandma 3 nights in a row. On the first night, I dreamed that I tried to hug her, but my hands went right through her. Then the second night, the hug worked. I felt it. On the third night, there were no hugs, just warm, hospitable laughter.

After that 3rd night, I went for a morning walk. Why was I dreaming these dreams? I didn't get it. It just made me miss my grandma even more. 

But then as I walked, it struck me suddenly. So suddenly that I started to cry. This could be my image of God. My grandma, who always warmly welcomed me. Where I always felt like I was enough. I measured up. But with her, it wasn't even about measuring. It was about being - talking, sitting, visiting, quilting, painting, baking, laughing. Perfect love. 

So for me, God is like a grandma. 

There. A new image. A jar broken. 


  1. Beautiful, Rebecca.
    We were just talking about your grandparents last night at dinner - and mine who have passed on. Maybe it's the upcoming holidays that make me think of them/miss them more.

  2. Beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing this intimate story. I will join you with that image. God is like Grandma....I love this image. My grandma too, I had such a connection with her and still do in different ways. Love.

  3. this is such a tender image, god as grandma...

  4. Yes - definitely a life-giving one for me, Michelle.