God and I have the same conversation every morning.
I want to be right in the heart of things with you today, Jesus. Wherever that is. Whatever that means. Whoever that includes. I want to go right in the middle with you there.
Occasionally that takes me around the world, sometimes down the street but always to pay attention right here and now.
New Years rang in with a call.
Voice shaking, she wanted to talk but mostly somebody to listen.
Ever since I’ve known her she’s lived in that cold converted garage with her schizophrenic adult son, two cats and A LOT of emotional pain.
Today she tells me she’s got no clean clothes and is down to her last can of beans.
Then veers a direction I didn’t see coming.
Valerie, can I ask you a question?
Have you been to Israel?
Did you feel God there?
I guess so. But not as much as I do when I am in your house. Can I come for a visit tomorrow?
She laughs then cries and I do too.
Why do we look for God in the big far away when he squeezes himself into cold tiny homes of the poor and is closer than our next breath?
Israel. Indonesia. God is there just like he is here. Always fully present, I only miss him when I’m not.
I miss him when I run from pain. I use to be scared of suffering, mine and others. Thinking, I guess, if I came too close it would swallow me whole.
Now, walking toward what hurts is my shortcut to finding God. Our suffering is why he came and comes and stays.
The other morning I woke up worried and undone. Then ran into a friend my first stop of the day.
He said he noticed I wasn’t myself and promised to pray, but it’s what happened next that changed everything for me.
My friend leaned in, never once looking at his phone or glancing away. He listened. Fully present. And somehow in those few moments joined me in my pain.
And. I. Felt. God.
He is as near to us as the moment we are in. He always shows, it’s me who sometimes doesn’t.
Saying goodbye to my friend, I said thank you one more time.
I heard God in his reply.
Val. You are worth the time.
I say I believe God gave his life but could not fathom being worth his time.
I learned a lot that day.
Maybe people will know their worth to God when they know their worth our time.
Maybe the world around us is a reflection of the world inside.
Maybe going in the middle with God begins meeting him in the center of me.