When my father and mother were alive they used to sit in the same church pew week after week. About four rows back, the one with a small nick in the wood. I don't know how they decided on that particular pew or how many years they sat there. After Dad started using a walker, then a wheelchair, we moved to the first pew so the extra equipment wouldn't be in the way of people carrying crosses and torches. I kept that spot until after my sister moved. Then I moved into the back. I like the view.
Today I noticed that there was only one child in church. He was most noticeable because of how well behaved he was. Maybe 5 or 6 years old, he sat quietly, no fidgeting. Before the offering I asked him if he'd like to help me pass "the little churches," typically a special offering that began as a fund for children. When asked, he told me his name was Kyle. He took my hand and didn't hesitate to follow me, a stranger. Not shy at all, he said a quiet hello to each person we passed. When it came time to pass the churches around, he was a natural - an acolyte in the making.
At one point I looked at his face. I couldn't help but notice the depth of his brown eyes, or his gentle spirit. When he smiled, I knew I was looking at the face of God.
I am embarrassed to say that I could not pull myself away from the TV's coverage of last week's manhunt. I asked myself what it was I expected to see. A gunfight? Mob rule? Blood? Vindication?Every time they flashed a picture of the guy they were looking for, I closed my eyes. It was hard for me to wrap my head around everything that had happened and tie it to that face. Unlike other crazy, mixed up, "terrorists," I didn't think the younger brother had the face of evil, tho the act itself was hellish.
Where is God people ask when horrible things happen. How can light and love be so hard to find when horrible things happen? Maybe it's because we're so shocked and traumatized we forget to look. Or maybe it's because the frantic talking heads don't think the light is as important as the gore. "Look for the helpers" a blog friend told me. I did. And it was in there I found God amongst the rubble.
He was the hands of the first responders, the people who ran towards the mayhem, not away from it.
He was the courage of the policemen.
He was the twitters that told loved ones miles away that "I'm okay."
He was the eyes and ears of people locked in their homes who knew to stay put.
He was the love that reached out in the form of blood donations, financial gifts, and prayers.
And here at home,
He was Bella smiling.
He was Sweetie holding me.
He was rain pouring down as if to wash away the fear.
He was the cookie(s), the hot shower and the clean sheets that brought me comfort.
He was the music and the words I heard in church today. A reminder that greener pastures exist and each of our cups does run over.
He was Kyle's small hand in mine, the promise of a brighter tomorrow.
He was the quiet voice, that whispered "do not be afraid, for I am with you."
Where do you see God?