I do life on my own. I have never figured out how to do it any other way. In hard times, I turn to God. In good times, I thank God. I make plans to pray. Sometimes I actually follow through. But the moment-to-moment awareness of God eludes me.
At moments in my life, God has been my breath. I have felt the Spirit right here, thickening the air around me, making each breath a sacrament. The Presence presses in, borne on music or worship or silent tears. And the longing, aching heart, answering the call of the Spirit. Here I am. I am Yours. Whatever my complaints, my questions in ordinary time, they recede in urgency. In the moment, there are only whispered intimacies. You are My beloved. I’m here. Here I am, your daughter. Wash me, make me whole. I AM with you. I missed you. I’m sorry. I love you.
Of course, the emotions fade, the sense of Presence recedes. As I’ve heard in many a sermon on the Transfiguration, even Jesus didn’t live on the mountaintop, but in the grime and complexity of the lowlands. The ordinariness of life always resumes, must resume. And I start to forget. I forget that God is right here. Instead, he feels more and more distant. Little anxieties crowd him out so, so easily. My thoughts are taken up by what we should have for dinner, when I need to pick up Katrina, should we go to the playground today or will it rain? And the transcendent moments fade. And God becomes something else on the to-do list that didn’t get done today.
Days, weeks, months pass as I immerse myself in the everyday, forgetting that God is in the everyday, too. I feel that presence fleetingly, once in a while, when I enter a church, when I listen to beautiful music, when I look up at the sky on a spring-like January day.
I begin to miss him. Even as God seems most distant, most irrelevant to daily life, I remember when the air was alive.
The words come one day, as I write in my journal for the first time in months. Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.
And I make a resolution—again—to pray, to read, to write, to listen, to focus. Even as I feel most resolved, I remember countless times when I failed to follow through. I imagine God as Divine Critic…yeah, sure, I’ll believe it when I see it. But, no, that is me. Those are my words of self-doubt, of a misplaced desire for perfection. God is even now running toward me. Welcome home. I’ve been waiting, my beloved. Draw near to me. Let me hug you. Let the feast begin.
Listening to: Redemption Songs (Jars of Clay)
Read recently: Murder, Mayhem, and a Fine Man (Claudia Mair Burney)