Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Finding God

by Mavic Mercene 

In March, I attended a group retreat in Chiang Mai inspired by Henri Nouwen’s Common Union of Hearts.  Our facilitator asked “Where can you find God?” We had to share our reflections in our own small group. There were 5 of us in our group coming from different Christian faith background and culture.

Where can you find God?  

I am an introvert and I always find HIM in the silence of my heart, in the stillness of everything else around me.   I find God in nature, in the blowing wind, the swaying of trees, the falling leaves, the chattering noise of squirrels gliding from one branch to another, the pouring rain, the stillness yet brightness of the sky in its midnight blue, in the lushness of grass growing among good crops, in my old and wrinkly faced mother, in flowers of different colors, in the laughter of my grand nieces and nephew. Never did I think that I could find God in the busyness of everyday life. So when Mary, a middle aged lady from Malaysia shared that she finds God in airports, in hospitals, in banks, bus stations, and every place where there seems to be an unending hustle and bustle of activity, I can’t help but wonder how this could be. Mary leads a very busy life as a counselor in a Kuala Lumpur hospital.  She has seen suffering in all its form and degree. She has seen hope lost for many, life ending due to sickness or life ended due to the lost will to live. But she has also seen strangers’ kindness in the most unexpected circumstances. She has seen new life in all its potential, hope and beauty. She has seen her own strength surface when others strength are depleted.  She has seen heroic sacrifice and compassion that can only come from hearts that love.

Today I was at the bank. I had only three transactions so I finished early. But I also needed some help from the customer service so I waited to be served.  In my idleness, I remembered the events that unfolded the previous days at home. My son John Michael is graduating this June from college. Last Tuesday, he defended his thesis and when he came home he brought with him the news that his group got the highest score. The photo he shared with me was a testament of that triumph. Last Wednesday he joined his first ever medical mission which was at Teresa, Rizal where he was assigned to circumcise young boys. Again, he came home happy and fulfilled. Yesterday, his professor (or was it their dean) broke the news that their thesis will be presented to the whole graduating class of their school through a colloquium.  Though tired, I felt his pride and excitement.  So even in the bustling atmosphere in the bank, I became emotional. I texted my son “Amidst the busyness of the bank, my eyes are misty. I am happy, festive even, and I thank THE ONE UP ABOVE for the gift of your person. You worked hard and now you are reaping what you sowed.” I felt at that moment when I was texting my son, that SOMEONE invisible yet ever present was rejoicing with me and even seated beside me whispering in my ears “I was with you when your father died and when your sister and brother-in-law died. I was with you when your son James Patrick decided to stop school. But don’t forget that I was also with you when your children came to life, when James Patrick decided to return to school, when your mother turned 81 and in every joyful moments you will have, I will be there rejoicing and celebrating with you.” 

It was in that moment that I came to realize that God is ever present with me at home, at work and even when I am in transit between home and work. I see God in the eyes and laughter of Carlo and James, two small children living under the LRT station, and in the resilience of Jennifer and John, the parents of Carlo and James, who continue to persevere and never giving up on life, however hard their life seem to be.

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