We asked a few readers to share with us where they encountered God in the unexpected. Today and tomorrow we highlight their responses.
I Found God in the Finding of Me
Touched by unloving,
Uncared for in my need, I was
Rich men grab at what they lack;
Poverty lowers the hand.
Poor as I was, I sat,
As a blind woman senses a friend in the room,
I felt your eyes upon me.
My abyss met yours, much deeper, and wild.
My chaos met your silence.
Ages of agony passed between us.
This, too, is where you live.
How could I know you were looking for me?
“My name is I wait. All ways lead to me.”
Thus I found God in the finding of me.
Grace Mazza Urbanski is the Director of Children’s Ministry for the U.S. national office of the Apostleship of Prayer. She blogs at Praying with Grace.
Surprised by Grace
I’m standing in my yard, looking over the swampy mess that is waiting to be cleaned up once the spring rains dry up and the sun begins to shine. It’s much later in the season than I had expected. Usually this is all done by the end of May, but it’s been a very cool and wet spring. I sigh—and my heart is suddenly filled to overflowing with an expected joy! It has no place here, on this gray, sodden day. Yet there it is, and I begin to chant, “Thank you, Lord. I love you, Lord.” It’s been happening a lot lately, this surprise swelling of joy and gratitude. I’ve done nothing to earn it this day or any other, and soon it will pass like the clouds. But here in this moment, standing in the marsh that used to be my sanctuary, I simply accept it for what it is—grace.
Eric Gurash is a spiritual director and works in parish ministry. He contributes to Catechist’s Journey.
Since I work at a parish, you would think that I trip over God in so many places that I would never be shocked. But be assured—the sneak-up-on-me God surprises me daily.
God regularly shows up in the form of challenging people. Sometimes I see God in a cranky co-worker or in a perturbed parishioner. God always arrives in the needy poor, at times belligerent in their persistence and perhaps mentally ill or simply exhausted from difficult living.
It is easy to see God in the hushed and majestic sanctuary, when I am kneeling and praying alone. God is indeed there—God is everywhere! However, I continue be startled by God revealed in people that irk me. God astonishingly shows up in everyone, challenging my not-so-merciful heart to soften and open—just like God’s does for us every day.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn works at a parish in New York and blogs at There Will Be Bread.