This summer I became conscious of God’s love in a new way.
For those of you who try to reach some level of communication with God, you will know what I mean when I say that there are times when God just doesn’t seem to communicate back. This was the case for me for, well for most of the months of May to July. I know that my busyness raises up obstructions to the sort of communication with God that I would really like. And so the busyness and awkwardness of living in a house being renovated began to get to me. It occupied so much of my time and energy just living, trying to make meals and dodge obstacles that I was worn down.
If you can, imagine a large room. Then add to the room a whole truckload of junk, twisted and broken and dropped right in the middle. The pile of stuff was not so high that I couldn’t see over it but there was enough of it that it kept me from crossing the room. At least not without doing something pretty drastic with the junk. And in that same room, on the far side, against the wall stands Jesus. He is not half so upset about the junk in the middle as I am for some reason. So, he just stands there waiting patiently – for me to make some sort of move I guess. Or maybe to start clearing away the stuff so we can reach each other.
Something in me just did not seem capable of doing anything to bridge that distance between us. I think I was hoping that God would just sort of snuff out the junk; do one of those room makeovers while I was out or something. But he just waited.
Then I went away to Chicago for the second summer intensive course for the Certificate in Spiritual Direction. I was hoping that the week would be good; that somehow I would experience the closeness of God again. Here I was, feeling way more distance from God than I wanted. One thing a spiritual director must be able to do is sense the hand of God in another’s life, sense where God is moving people and be able to listen with another to the activity of God in their life. How could I listen with another when I couldn’t seem to hear God very plainly in my own life?
I would have to liken the summer intensive of this summer to attending a spiritual detox centre. It was good for my soul. I guess I detoxified from the renovation stress, from the work stress and from a bunch of the other stresses that made up that pile of junk in my room where God was. My fellow students, in listening to my stories, became a part of my remedy.
Then, to my surprise, God moved across the room. The stuff was just not there. In fact, that morning, in vision-like imagery, he came running towards me with arms outstretched, lips puckered up like a little child who delights in his grandmother for no other reason than that she is there and he loves her. And she delights in him because he loves her and asks only for her love in return. The image came to me so vividly and was such an exquisite moment that it has become the most valued treasure of my summer.
My grandchildren continue to remind me of that treasure as I knew they would. I believe they are not only a reminder of the fact that God loves me just because I am his but are in themselves a gift to be treasured and loved.