Where have I seen God this week?
As I ponder this question, I realize (quite quickly and regretfully) I don’t pay enough attention. I hurry through my days — hurry to read before the kids wake up, hurry to get them fed and out the door, hurry to work, hurry home to meet the bus, to get dinner ready, to clean, to bathe, rinse, repeat. I read the news and cry out to God – how long, O Lord – before my mind moves on to whatever else is clamoring for attention. I make lists of all the things I need to do, all the things I think I need to do, all the things I want to do, all the things I think I need to buy, all the people I want to see. For good or bad or both, I squeeze every drop out of my days, then fall into bed at night, an exhausted heap.
No, I do not pay enough attention.
I do not pay enough attention to the ways God shows up in my life. But I also don’t pay enough attention to the stories of the Bible and prayers of the tradition that tell me what God is like. Sure, I know the highlights. I know the story of God, the story of Jesus. I have experienced God’s presence in profound ways, and I know Jesus’s love, and I have felt the Spirit wash over me. But, at least in this season, I have often lost sight of how God shows up in the very ordinary every-day.
Do you remember what it was like to fall in love? Do you remember the early days, when anything and everything reminded you of your beloved? A song on the radio. The sidewalk between the dining hall and Spanish class. A leaf falling from a tree. The smell of popcorn. The sounds of a baseball game echoing across campus… Do you remember the way little, ordinary things could make your heart skip a beat?
There have been seasons when I have committed myself to a practice of daily reading of scripture. And in those seasons, when I tune in to the rich details of God’s story, it is like scales fall off of my eyes. The more I read the Bible, the more I learn the forgotten details, the more my heart is tuned to discover reminders of God’s love, God’s story, God’s presence. Like a new love, my day fills up with arrows that point to the Divine – a loaf of bread, a scoop of water over my child’s head in the bath, a tug on my sweater while I make another PB&J, standing in line at the grocery store. Little things become an invitation to engage with the Divine.
God is here, in every messy moment. God is here, in this broken, aching world. God is here, in the laughter and in the weeping. God is here, at the table and huddled in the cold.
This Lent, I hope to clear out some of the noise that prevents me from paying attention. This Lent, I hope to spend more time with the scriptures, with the hope that by immersing myself in God’s story, I might – even in the most ordinary moments of my day – find myself to be standing on holy ground. To see God’s face, to recognize it, to be changed by it, over and over again.
I hope my family will come along for the ride, too. I hope we will read Bible stories together and talk about what they teach us about who God is. I hope I will pay enough attention to point out moments of our days that remind us of the stories we have read. I hope when I experience nearness with the Divine, I will remember to say it out loud. I hope by Easter we will all have discovered new places where Jesus meets us with outstretched arms.