It was a book that belonged to my mother, a book that I read many years ago. It's title appealed to me, even intrigued me. Three simple words, really, yet they said it all: Hungry for God. My mother wrote her name in it including a date twenty years ago. I wonder if that was when I read it too. It would seem to fit, around the time when I was twenty-one, the age when I started to be actively seeking Him in my life and wondering what His will was for me.
Having read the book, and liking it so much, I must have asked her if I could have it. It is mine now, mine to read or refer to if I wish, for its title still applies to me. Hungry for God.
I wonder if I thought it was easier for a young, unmarried woman to be seeking Him. Even those who join the religious life still seek Him, still study scripture or learn whatever they can to enrich their knowledge of Him. But He is also to be experienced and that cannot be found in any book. And maybe a married woman seeks Him in her life through her spouse and children, carrying out her duty as wife and mother, serving Him in a different way.
One could go about each day, doing what one does, working, nourishing friendships, shopping in the stores, preparing meals, doing chores, reading, writing, resting, enjoying the comforts of life. And the days will pass - and they have passed - without having experienced Him fully in my life. And the fault lies with no one else but myself.
There is an emptiness within, an uncertainty. And I wonder if He hears me. Or maybe there just isn't anything else to say anymore.
For someone who hasn't been fully practicing her faith for some time now, I defend it still, even honour it. For it is not that I don't believe. Then what is it that I believe? I think I hold on to the faith that I once had; I hold on to the experiences where I felt Him working in my life. I do not always understand Him or understand His ways. I hold on in other aspects of my life, or that is how it seems to be. I hold on, afraid to let go. For what would happen if I did let go?
And what is it that I am supposed to let go of?
Do I know? Do I even dare to find out? Do I dare to throw caution to the wind and experience my faith all over again?
There is an incident at work a few years ago that I just have to mention. It was a missing file and no one could find it anywhere. It wasn't where it was supposed to be and several people searched for it in places where it wasn't even supposed to be. After several attempts, it still wasn't found and it was important that it be found as soon as possible. I went back to my desk. I'm not sure what happened or what occurred to me. It was as if it was a realisation or an inspiration. I got up, went straight to one of the shelves, and almost immediately, the file in question was found. I was astonished, but also delighted. Naturally it was in a place where it wasn't supposed to be. But I found it. Perhaps it was a fluke, something that just happened. But I think not. And there are times when I wish certain events in my life would happen that way. But they don't, not when you look for them. But didn't He also say, Seek and you will find ?
There are people who leave their faith because they are angry with God. I wonder if my father was one of them. What about me? Am I angry with God? And to turn away from Him doesn't necessarily mean that one has stopped believing in Him. If one can actually be angry with God, then one acknowledges that He exists.
And He knew that this would be my life. He knew, after all of the choices I had made over the years, all the paths I had taken or rejected, He knew that I would one day be a married woman in her early forties who didn't have children of her own. He knew even before I was born. He knew it would come to this. And in a moment of anger and desperation, with a heart that ached, I told Him -- maybe even accused Him -- that He knew. But He never told me.
Self-pity doesn't serve any purpose. I know that.
And still I reach out to Him, and I still seek Him. And I look out to the stars at night. And it was one brilliant star that led the three wise men to His manger. Is there a star that will lead me?
Yes, there is.
He is the Bright Morning Star: "And I will give such a person the Morning Star." (Revelations 2:28, The New Jerusalem Bible). He has always been with me, I am sure of it. I may not have seen the burning bush nor has a flash of light blinded me. They are dramatic, to be sure, but even if I did, perhaps those experiences would not have stayed very long with me. And perhaps He is preparing me for something else? Perhaps I wasn't ready then. Ready for what? Or ready for whom? Dare I even ask? And I know that I should also ask for the patience and wisdom, even the courage, to accept.
There was a time when I thought I was headed in the right direction. And perhaps I was. But confusion overtook me. Now, it seems it is a different sort of confusion, a different sort of heartache. And whatever it really is about, whatever is truly going on within, only He knows. And I hope He will help me to better understand it.
I have been blessed to have seen a burning ball of orange fire in the sky as the sun rises in the East or begins to slowly set in the West. I have seen the brilliance of the full moon as it keeps me company at night. And I have seen His handiwork in the sparkling stars spread across the dark, velvet sky. That is where I look for Him.
He is there. And I am here.
He is here.