Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin
A Rabbi once asked his students if they knew the very moment
that Dark becomes light.
‘It is when you can distinguish a dog from a sheep’, one student said.
The teacher paused, then broke the silence with a smile and said ‘no’.
After a few minutes another student raised his hand and asked
‘Is it when you can distinguish an olive from a fig?’
‘You can tell the moment Darkness becomes Light when you mistake a stranger for a brother’ said the Rabbi.
In an interesting twist, the students were focussing on how light helps distinguish and separate with added clarity, but the teacher was emphasizing the complete opposite. Light as a metaphor for goodness looks past differences, and allows grace to blur the lines.
Is it possible that for some of us we are missing the very things we are searching for because we think that it needs to look different?
It seems that some people could already be happy and just not know it. Barbara Brown Taylor wrote that the reason we cannot find the proverbial X that marks the treasure in our life is because we are standing on it.
Some of the greatest spiritual moments of our life are disguised as ordinary and left unappreciated. Sometimes the joy is so subtle that unless we are grounded in the moment we don’t even notice it.
Spirituality is all about the discovery that God’s presence is right here with and among us now. Yet I have had some difficult moments were it sure didn’t feel like God was with me. My own suffering has helped me uncover some clues as to why I felt this way.
I run from pain and suffering. I don’t like to hold anything that is even slightly sad, or difficult. So I distract myself with thots of a better future. Being an optimist, I keep telling myself that everything is going to be all right. But what I believe to be ‘all right’ is a narrow interpretation in my head, and it also includes being somewhere else. I try to escape. But what if in those difficult moments I could learn to sit and hold the pain. To be fully present in it.
There is an eastern idea called non resistance. It is about being present and choosing to not resist my current reality. This isn’t about fatalism, it is about stopping to recognize were you are and being fully there. Then, once you have an understanding of your current situation and you have held it, you can then make appropriate choices for change.
Faith teaches that God is with us in the present moment, then maybe the reason we can’t find him is because we are the ones who aren’t.
I can be so many other places in my head, in my heart and in my soul.
But what if in order to be present were God is, we have to be there to—in the same spot at the same time.
In order to be present here, we have to be absent from somewhere else.
Luke 19 records an interesting story of a man that wanted to catch a glimpse of this Jesus he had heard so much about. In order for this busy man to actually catch a glimpse though, he had to stop what he was doing. He even had to humiliate himself a bit and climb a tree to be in a good spot to see.
Luke records that as Jesus was passing by He looked up into that very tree and into the eyes of the man searching for Him.
I wonder if in those moments when we are trying to find God in our lives—is it our pride that stops us? Is it that we refuse to set aside our busyness to climb our proverbial trees to sit and wait?
What if we discovered that when we take the time to stop and be present, and when we take the time to be humble-that the very thing we are looking for is looking at us?
Too many of us aren’t were we are, and it makes me wonder how many times God walks past us in a day and we never notice.