Part 1: Can be found at Jose’s blog, here.
As I was rushing to get ready for church, my son Javie sat on my blue recliner looking very pensive. I was choosing which earrings to wear (a must for my bald head), when Javie blurted, “Who is God? I don’t know who God is , I can’t see him and I can’t feel him. I was baffled, if these were the theological questions that were being posed to me by my 5 years old now, I was in deep shit. I immediately lobbed the question to our resident theologian, “Jose, your son has some thoughts that he wants to share with you!” I repeated Javie’s assertions and watched as Jose’s eyes grew larger and larger. But he courageously moved forward, asking Javie if he’d ever felt joy or happiness, Javie answered in the affirmative and Dad immediately identified God’s presence in that experience. Javie appeared to be satiated with Daddy’s response, but he slowly sauntered out of the room, as if his body was letting us know that this conversation was not done.
When I think about Javie’s honest utterance “I don’t know who God is, I can’t see him and I can’t feel him”, I feel a little less lonely in my questions and frustrations about God. Maybe you do too. The expectation to feel God and to see God work in our lives is not only the sole request of a five year old. Who doesn’t want a burning bush, a healing at the Bethesda pool, or maybe a personal shout out, “This is daughter Mayra, who I love and I am well-pleased with”. Unfortunately, these moments are far and in between and instead we are invited to discover God’s presence in the daily mundane moments, to seek God’s presence when the shadows grow dark. What are we looking for? What are we listening for? How do we know when we’ve found it? For me it’s God’s light. Where are there rays of love, forgiveness, peace, gentleness, hope, creativity and joy shining? I’m realizing that my role as Javie’s parent is to invite him into God’s presence as he watches the caterpillar in his science kit change into a butterfly, to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday with joy and gratitude. Javie needs a guide to show and remind him of God’s presence, even when he can’t see or feel Him. But I have an ardent feeling that we all need guides. Guides to remind us that the painting at MOMA isn’t just nice to look at, but a wonder-filled display of creativity, gifting and beauty, guides to show us a scripture that we’ve long forgotten and guides to hold our hands and show us that God is still holding us.