I read all those blogs and books just like you do, you know, the ones that talk about finding God in all the little things. They talk about doing the dishes and suddenly stopping to see the way the sun reflects on the bubbles. They talk about being frustrated with a child who will not let you have even a moment to put in the laundry, then realizing, in a heartbeat, that you are cuddling with your child and there is no place you’d rather be. Or, one of my personal favorites, the girls who write about fights with a significant other and then, right in the middle of the argument, they flip a switch and choose to remember that they are in the rarified position of having a relationship in which to fight, and a person who cares enough to fight with them.
It is really easy for me to see God in these little things. For one thing, they come pre-processed. These writers, skilled as they are, have spelled them out for me. God has stopped them, in the midst of their routines, and showed them that He is there, that He is working.
It doesn’t come like that.
These lives, before the blog post, or the wittily-titled chapter, probably look a lot like mine. Those little moments don’t always stick out. Maybe these writers are struggling, like I do, to see God moving in their lives. Maybe they cry out to Him to see even a glimpse, then, as He gives it to them, they think about it, ponder it, and share.
Last night, on the way to my new small group, a place that has welcomed me in all at once and made me feel safe and home, I was angry and frustrated with my life. I told God that I couldn’t catch hold of any little thing, or big thing. I didn’t really ask for anything, I just gave up and went to small group.
One of my new friends brought a box of Lucky Charms to share and we ate dry cereal out of a bowl, she and I, as if we were 15 and at a sleepover (yes, this is what I did at sleepovers). I said something, at one point, and quietly second-guessed it, pretty sure only she heard.
“You belong here,” she said.
I belong here.
I could go on for a while, talking about the little things that brought me peace and strength last night. They were numerous, and felt delivered by God to a life who didn’t think that she would be able to experience such things without a guy, or kids, or a puppy.
As often as I think it and remind myself of the truth, I still struggle with the fact that we all struggle. I still lose perspective and think that if I can just get here it will all be well. I look at the people writing about their little moments when God shows up for them, and I forget that they are holding tightly to them like I do. They have to remind themselves that they are blessed, that their lovers and children and homes are a gift, that their lives are created by God, fleeting and temporary and beautiful.
I am not the only one who struggles to see this every day.
I read an article this week about one of the fears that comes with writing non-fiction: if I write this, will everyone I know hate me? How do I protect the identities of the people I include in my stories? This is an important question, and certainly worth pondering, but I realize that is not what is holding me back from writing non-fiction. I’m afraid of losing friends, for sure, but I’m afraid because of what I’m sharing about me, not them. Writing non-fiction bares you in a way that nothing else does; if you let it.
I want to try.