I go to school in a city filled with people who have radical ideas, proclaim cult doctrines, and argue that God doesn’t exist. In fact, as I was heading to the subway to go to work, I saw a sign that said “God is nowhere.”
I felt something tremendous pulling on my soul, to recognize all the things I see God obviously present in. Most recently, I’ve been planning an anniversary party for my parents. In the process, I’ve called all of our family and friends invite the. I was incredibly touched by the number of people who so warmly wished them [my parents] love and who said they would definitely be there, some of whom we haven’t seen for years! I saw God alive through these little interactions of love.
Even at the moment I was entering the subway station and saw that sign, I was listening to Persian music inspired by Hafez’s poetry, which if you’ve read is ALL about God! I smiled and continued to listen to his poetry speak of the revelry God gives us in being in his proximity. I’ve gone back to these poems time and time again when I’ve felt distanced from god and wanted a taste of how much joy and enlightenment his closeness brings.
As I traveled on the bus, I thought of all the people in the car. They were all going about their lives, shuttling to the city for different reasons. Some were on their phones, some read, and some stared out the window. I found myself thinking about how active, or how inactive, these people’s relationships were with God. And then, I found myself praying for each one! It was as if this mean, deterrent sign at the front of the station just minutes before had spare something incredible in my life and in the lives of the people around me!
Now as I think back, this is one of the things I’ve been asking God to fix in my life. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ve known that I have had a hard time finding joy in the midst of my absurd life. Now as I grow older and older, I’ve come to realize that I find joy in compassion towards others. The more I give, the more I love, the more whole I become, the more I appreciate the little things, and the more I take each day as a gift. This was one situation that started out with something seemingly negative and transformed it into an abundance of joy, reflection, and a form of worship to God.
It’s called me to reflect on the truth that God is everywhere, all the time. In the midst of the darkest parts of your life, in the spiritual stases that you feel, in the times of pure joy, God is there. The only difference is whether or not you are there. What God offers is not a brass idol, not a bargain, and most definitely not the promise of complete happiness. God offers love, grace, trials, and a fulfilling relationship. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a relationship, but goodness are they hard. It’s no different with God, except well, you’re the one with the problem and God is wholly perfect. So imagine that. And that’s why I like sharing my spiritual journey with others and why I love when others share their spiritual journeys with me. It makes everything so much more real. You know you’re not alone in being a messed up, selfish human. You know there are problems you need to work on. And this has been my lifelong spiritual journey; undulations, dips, progress, plateaus. But at the end of it all, the thought that God is with me in my suffering, in my doubt, and just a prayer away makes it all the more better.