I spent an hour plus this morning in Columbus having coffee and conversation with Pastor Glenn of my favorite church, Maple Grove. Warren had a series of meetings in Columbus this morning in connection with the Symphony, so we rode down together. Warren asked me what I thought Pastor Glenn and I would talk about.
"Oh, probably God."
I mean, heck if I knew. This meeting came about because I blogged about the Easter sermon Pastor Glenn gave and he invited me to meet with him and talk.
So we met. And talked about who we are, about who we were, about reading, about Maurice Sendak and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, about our families, about some of my spiritual wanderings, and about community and building community.
And we talked about God. We talked about what Pastor Glenn called God-moments in his initial email to me—those moments when the veil is lifted and you see God.
Our discussion stemmed from the Easter sermon and Mary Magdalene finally recognizing the gardener as the risen Jesus. Glenn talked about what it took for Mary—what it takes for us—to realize that God is always there, but for whatever reasons, we do not always see through the veil (of life, of tears, of "chatter") and realize it. I alluded to the short story, "The Gardener," by Rudyard Kipling, where a similar scene is play out simply in a vast cemetery holding the dead of World War I.
I shared with him a Pearl Bailey quote I keep in my quote collection: People see God every day, they just don't recognize him. And I voiced my belief, courtesy of my friend Patricia longing for God to speak to her, that God talks all the time to us, we just aren't listening.
We happened to be sitting outside the coffee shop, with the traffic going by, and I gestured with my hand. "We are so busy filling our life with chatter," I said, "that we don't hear Him."
For two self-admitted introverts (who lead extroverted professional lives), we did pretty well talking.
Afterwards, I walked north along High Street to spend time in a used bookstore while waiting for Warren to finish his event. As I walked along, I thought of many things. The day is beautiful—"a handsome day," Warren called it earlier—and I relished the fresh midday. I thought about how rarely I have ever walked in Columbus—I probably have logged more miles on foot in Chicago in the last five years than in Columbus in a lifetime. I thought about the streetscape along High Street—the small shops and small brick apartment buildings on the street front, and the glimpses of neighborhoods tailing off down residential side streets.
And I thought of God-moments.
As I pen these words, I am sitting in a noodle shop diagonal to the bookstore, finishing a small lunch and still thinking about God-moments. Sometimes you are just going through your everyday life and there is that moment—that small, quiet light that glows on like an old-fashioned vacuum tube. It is as close as a cup of coffee with a new acquaintance. It is as near as the brief snatch of conversation with the elderly woman I crossed the street with 15 minutes ago, who laughed and sprinkled blessings on the day. It is as immediate as the genuine small smile yesterday from the surliest of the current crop of students in the Victim Awareness class I help teach.
Those moments are the treasure we tuck in our pocket and carry along, touching from time to time for comfort, or reassurance, or happiness. They are not always BIG or flashy or loud. Sometimes they are so small and quiet that we have to hush ourselves and slow ourselves down to appreciate them.
They are the God-moments.