(in response to the writing prompt: a moment I saw clearly)
Today, I saw clearly. I saw God, the omni-present and ever present. It wasn’t what you might expect. No burning bush. No blinding light. No trumpets sounding from above. But clearly, I saw God.
My first glimpse was over coffee…and yogurt and granola, with fresh berries. I had joked, minutes earlier, that the berries seemed almost too beautiful to eat. They were delicious, perhaps in retrospect they were even a harbinger of divine presence already in our midst. There I sat, with my berries, chatting with someone to whom I had been introduced years ago. We had meant to connect several times, but life gets busy. Then, last year, our paths serendipitously crossed again. Today, a year later, we sat together with our berries and coffee and notebooks and iPads. But during our time together at this conference, we didn’t always speak of work. We daringly spoke of faith and vocation and calling. And in our midst, as real as the berries, was the palpable presence of God. Divine serendipity of similar journeys, previously unknown to either of us. Now shared, and mutually understood. Sustenance for the journey.
That would have been feast enough. But God was not done.
Eclectic and welcoming as always, God appeared again over spicy, steaming bowls of ramen. Yes, Divine Presence was there in the midst of hipsters with brightly colored hair and dark make-up, slurping soup and sampling wasabi chocolate soft serve. None of that surprises me in the least. This meeting was intentional, a time to catch up between two people who knew each other years ago in a much different time and place. Twenty five years ago, we had both experienced injustice and intolerance from the same institutional source. For me, that time is synonymous with leaving…and losing…my faith. We sat together now in a restaurant not far from our conference venue. We share similar professional roles now, but we were in very different places and roles in our respective lives then. We have sporadically reconnected in recent years and kept up with each other’s careers. But, today, I knew I wanted to ask a different question. I wanted, for the first time, to talk about what happened in our journeys of faith.
As we talked, remembrances from my past began to form. With clarity, I saw myself as I once was, filled with potential and justice and faith. And as I listened, I heard how the injustice that severed my own faith had also severed the journey of faith for my colleague. I found myself seeing clearly…with divine insight…these shared stories of our respective paths. Injustice in the name of religion inflicts harm, and we had each been righteously angry and deeply hurt. We each spoke of how we never thought we would set foot in church again. But as we spoke, we heard how we each took that bold step of faith, just one last time. And God met us there, each of us in the different places we braved to give one last chance. With clarity, I saw God: God in my colleague. God in my own life. God present and persistent in our outward actions to promote justice, and in our brave inner journeys of rebuilding faith.
I carry these gifts with me. Tonight, as my plane moves me over the clouds and back to my home, I am deeply grateful for all that I have seen clearly: God in serendipity. God across time. God, always present and moving toward us. God within us and God around us.
Today I saw clearly: justice, faith, hope, vocation, connection, serendipity.
Clearly, I saw God.