It all began on a summer’s day in 2007 in a little townhouse on a quiet Miami street in what is known as West Kendall. God showed up--little time! I was amazed and He just laughed as we both began the most interesting, wonderful, hilarious, heart-happy ride of my everyday life.
Before this I had always thought that God was a BIG sort of God. He was deeply involved in planetary motion, hurricanes and continental troop movements. I was sure that He always had great and very important things to do. For me to get His attention was a long shot at best. Besides, all those prayers I had dutifully sent to Him for years never got an answer—at least any that I ever saw. But that was alright by me. I knew God had more stuff to do than care about me.
So for many, many years I rolled through life with an Easter God and a Christmas God and a please-my-parents-by-not-telling-them-the-truth God. And the world seemed like it was doing okay. And I was doing pretty much okay. I used God’s name in all the appropriate places and in the inappropriate ones, too. God was simply a concept that had something to do with faith and belief. Prayer was involved and rites of this and that. It was all kind of confused, and to tell you the truth, just not really very important. I had life to do. Truly, God was always a “someday” and a “maybe later” kind of deal with me.
Then life got bad. Or, let me be honest here. I was not making really good decisions or paying full attention. But hey, I was doing life as I was told I should. I was running the show. I was calling the shots. I was out to be a success with all the trinkets and the people and the stuff that would mark me as happy and “cool.” I never questioned my course. Then I hit that wall. You know the one wall that says, “Is this all there is?” It’s the wall that we try to hide from, run from, paint over, jump over or tear down. It’s the scary wall that confronts us in the middle of the night or in the quiet of our souls. It’s that place where we know we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere—and haven’t a real clue how to fix it.
I had worn out the answers of my education, my culture, my career, my personal “push it through” personality and my husband, children, mother, father, sister, brothers and friends. It was time to look for another way of doing life. God seemed like the only way to go. It was time. I had totally exhausted every other avenue of “how to” that was available. I was tired of being sick and tired. And for the first time in a very long time, I took a good hard, soul-honest look at myself—and made a choice to do something different.
I joined a 12-step program to help me stop the booze that had been eating away at the corners of my self-esteem, my spirit and my life for the past number of years. This program is a God-centered thing where spirituality is openly and passionately spoken about. I was told that I needed to get a “God of my understanding.” I was told that He was going to be the answer for me. He was going to fill up the hole, stop the pain and guide me to a new understanding of how to do life.
So I started looking for this God with a simple request each morning that I do the day well and stay on track, and I offered a sincere “thank you” each night because I had. Then I started doing please and thank you throughout the day. “Let me please get through this traffic and to work on time. Thank you that I made that light and I am not late.” From the center of my heart and the aching core of my soul, I constantly and determinedly reached for a God.
I reached with the hope of a lost person for a map. I reached with the desire of a sad person for a smile. I reached and I reached. In the quiet of my mind and in the out-loud voice of the person who lives alone, I asked for God to become part of my life. And then one day He did. He actually showed up!
I had just recovered a couch and two foot stools with cream-colored leather. And, I had just adopted Scruffy the Wonder Dog from the Humane Society. I loved my new-looking furniture and did not know too much about old Scruffy, yet. He and I had only been keeping company for about five days. As I was getting ready to leave the house for my meeting, I looked down and noticed the empty barrel of a ballpoint pen on the floor. I hunted around, but the cartridge with the ink in it was nowhere to be found.
Thinking that Scruffy might be a gnawing sort of dog, I imagined my pristine cream furniture stained with smeary ink and my investment destroyed. I was standing in the living room anxious about being late, but also very worried that I might come home to disaster. So, I turned to this God guy that I had been reaching for over the past few months. With quiet intent and a gentle voice, I simply said, “God, please help me find that pen thing. Come on, give me a hand here.” I turned around, and there was the cartridge on the floor. Just there. I reached down and picked it up and started laughing out loud. I mattered! He heard me! In this little thing that was of such concern to me, my God had shown up!