When I was a boy, I couldn’t understand the God at church. I apparently had to dress up for that God. That God was completely a mystery. Didn’t know where He was…up, down, inside? No one else had a real good explanation where exactly he is either? Didn’t know how to have a relationship except through that lonely, incomprehensible process called prayer. All the answers to life apparently also were in a book. That was the God all the adults introduced us to. No fault to my parents. Bless them. They were still living with that God. It was just not real to me. I couldn’t see or touch or feel heard with that God.
But I came to know a real God that lived just 10 feet from my bed growing up. It was called Outside. There was marvel all round! There were life and death struggles every minute on our 50 acres of land and lake. Streams and woods and lots of dirt. Teeming with discovery, wonder. One day I could be a giant peering into and playing in the world of the very small. When you get your eyeballs inches away from almost anything, it teems! On a dark, winter night I could be lying in the middle of our frozen lake, alone, looking up at the heavens filled with the Milky Way. From out there, now I’m the very small one. I could be out in tornado weather with trees fighting to stand upright, lightning filling the sky or stand in 3 feet of snow and not be able to see 20 feet through the blizzard pelting my face. I could look out my bedroom picture window and see the sun rise then see it set in the evening on the other side of the house at dinner.
Our parents gave us this. God obviously gave us this. But I really don’t think parents, in general, connect these dots. I don’t remember our priests talking or showing us this God in a book. Yet, it is in this most amazing, glorious creation where God lives and breathes and bathes every minute of everyday that this boy took in his first gulps.
Is there a message in this story? My mother without knowing it threw me and my sibs out into that Outside magic kingdom where He/She stands with open arms. Once Outside tho, mom and dad both had to pray to their God we’d come back.
My prayer to all parents, “If ever anyone doubts there is a real God, quick!, take your kids and run for the hills!” and, “May that awe of creation be the prayer of praise and gratitude that starts the conversation.”