Our very first meeting did not happen in a church. In fact, several years ago I attended a wedding in a beautiful Catholic church and did not feel God's presence. I went to receive communion and the eucharistic minister hesitated in placing the wafer into my palms. I then went to reach for the wafer and she asked if I was Catholic. When I answered no, I was told "you cannot receive." Hurt and humiliated, I made my way back to my seat. I couldn't understand how she could have known. As I was walking back to where I had been seated, I noticed for the very first time that I was the only person of color in the church. I couldn't help but wonder, was that the reason she hesitated in placing the wafer into my palms?
Where was God? God appeared in my future husband when he respectfully approached the priest at the reception and brought it to his attention what had happened. We were engaged at the time and it was one of his friends from chiropractic school who was getting married. He could have easily said, "it's not a big deal, don't worry about it." Instead, he showed me that we're in this together, that what caused me to hurt would also cause him pain. I believe that is a quality of our divine Source, to feel hurt when we are hurting. Still, this was not my very first meeting with God.
A little over a year ago I glimpsed an earlier meeting with God. It was during a guided meditation. The meditation that evening was intended to lead us back to our pure essence before any external conditioning. We were to travel back to the moment of our conception. For many, that is our purest form. It is that time when we were entirely free from hurt, free from labels, just simply free. As I approached that moment in my mind's eye, I felt a great sense of panic. This was due to the hurt I imagined my mom was experiencing since this moment had been forced and nonconsensual for her. I could not return there.
Instead, I forged my way beyond this moment, back to my origination in God's heart. I saw myself as a light and a gentle voice said, my child I want to send you into this world. The path may not seem easy, but know that I love you and you will become all that you are meant to be. I clearly heard God's voice, but I did not see a face.
Those tender words, "my child," still ignite a deep sensation that rises up within me. As a mother, I know the magnitude of a parent's love. Ordinary language cannot describe the reverence I felt in the depths of my being when I held my firstborn daughter. I did not know a love like that existed within me. At the moment of my daughter's birth, I felt God's love. Her eyes were closed, so I could not see God's eyes looking back at me.
So, when did I first see God's eyes looking upon me. It was in the moments shortly after my own birth. God's eyes were those of my grandparents' eyes. My mom's mom and her dad took me into their care and they loved me. They didn't judge me by the actions of the man who had fathered me. They did not feel shame that I existed. They loved me despite how I came to be. Through my grandmother's loving embrace, I felt God's loving embrace. Through my grandfather's gentle and always affirming voice, I heard God's affirming voice. Because of their love, I have not only survived, but have thrived in light of many challenges. No amount of criticism has ever caused me to criticize myself. No amount of pain has caused me to gravitate to any form of self-inflicted pain. I am who I am because of love.
So who or what is God? God is love. Wherever there is love, there is God. God is truth. Wherever there is truth, there is God. God is beauty. Wherever there is beauty, there is God.
For me, God was in my daughter's expression this morning when she first noticed the changing leaves on the tree outside her window. "Look at the beautiful leaves!" she exclaimed. God is in my husband's eyes when I walk into a room and he looks up from his crossword puzzle. I also see God in a budding flower, a still lake, a snow-covered limb, in a phone call from my sister, in a card from my brother, in the words of a friend, in a stranger's smile, in the loving actions of so many people.
God is not a puppeteer way up in the sky creating accidents and natural disasters, causing us pain and eagerly waiting for "judgment day." God doesn't hurt, judge or criticize, but the human part of us does. We are here in this life form to understand our true divine nature and not just to collect "stuff" and pay bills. We are here to see God/Love/Truth/Beauty in ourselves and in each other.
Love and blessings to you.