Dear God – I Know Who You Are Now!
OK, we both know I didn’t really believe all the stories.
I was dragged into churches for most of my young life, made to sing hymns with incomprehensible lyrics and listen to sermons with even more incomprehensible jargon. It’s a wonder any kid grows up to be a Christian. So, I’m sure you weren’t surprised that I didn’t really take any notice of you. I mean. It’s a pretty tall story, isn’t it?
But I suppose we all like to believe in ‘something’? Call it a higher power. Maybe that gives us direction and purpose, who knows.
Perhaps secretly I envied people who had faith? They seemed happier somehow. Though God knows why? Do you know why?
I suppose it was all the rituals and rules and formalities that put me off. I never understood it all and never saw any point in it all.
I must say I always liked churches though. And big cathedrals. And temples. Buddhist temples are cool places. Sorry. It’s the sense of calm and peace I feel in these places. Not when all the hullabaloo is going on. No. When they are empty. When I can just sit. Be still. Not think. I like that.
So, we made a deal, didn’t we? On Day 1 of my 40-day Camino. And I reaffirmed that deal every morning before I set out. Maybe I was partly ‘hedging my bets’ because I started out injured and didn’t really expect to get very far. Do you remember the deal? It went like this.
Dear God, please allow me to complete another day on this journey and I promise to walk with an open heart and an open mind and learn from the lessons you lay before me.
But you were sneaky! You let me settle in for 9 or 10 days to get into the rhythm of the walk, to get used to the physical pressures. Huh! And then you let me have it! You had me questioning everything that happened around me. Questioning myself. Why I was here. And every time I despaired and was about to give up, you created some little ‘signal’ that kept me pushing on. Every time! I really wondered how you did that.
And when I was feeling sorry for myself, remember what you did? You made me meet up with someone in a much worse state than me, so that I wanted to help them and that made me forget my own worries. Every time!
And then that day just outside Leon. When I really wanted to stop and just go home. Remember that? I knelt at the side of the track. Looked heavenwards and said “OK, how is this supposed to work? Aren’t you supposed to give me a sign or something? Do I go home or do I stay”?
And within the space of five minutes, Bang, Bang, Bang you made your point. I saw my long dead Father in the eyes of a Shepherd urging me on, my wife called me from the other side of the World to urge me on, and a Camino friend I hadn’t seen in two weeks caught up with me to cheer me on.
Right there and then you nailed kit. I got it. I got you.
And we talked every day after that and we still do. But it’s rarely in a church. It’s normally in some quiet spot. In the garden. Or in the Park. In nature somewhere. You taught me that. Because after my Camino I looked for you at Notre Dame in Paris, and churches and cathedrals everywhere. You weren’t there.
Because you’re here. Inside us. And all around us. You are Us. If only we open ourselves to you and listen to you.
I know we don’t chat every day like we used to, maybe only once a week, but I’m walking a Camino again soon. And we’ll have lots of time to chat then… with no distractions. And learn some more cool stuff about each other.
Whoever you are, whatever you are, I’m glad we finally found each other.