God on My Shoulder

I felt God on my shoulder today.

As I walked through my day, I encountered person after person that I knew I was supposed to meet. In an earlier time, I would have chalked it all up to coincidence. But I’ve been walking, crawling, stumbling and running along this faith journey for some time now – and if there’s one thing I believe, it’s that those coincidences were meant to be.

First I walked out of our church after volunteering with the toddlers for a few hours (great when they aren’t your own!) and literally ran into my old neighbor who is days away from giving birth to her second child. She’s apprehensive, and I hope I gave her words of encouragement and peace. I felt like I was meant to speak to her to give her a boost.

Then I ran into a second old neighbor – who is gaining increasing recognition for his art but struggling with a lack of a steady income.

I ran into another friend of a friend, weighing what it means to be a working mom and split between two roles.

And ultimately, I rode the Bart home with an older man named Steve, who asked me about my hair, and seemed genuinely moved by my decision to tell him of my grief and ultimate gratitude for this journey that has brought me closer to God. He asked me what church I went to (Cornerstone), and he’d thought many times about going there but was concerned about the neighborhood. He felt like God was tugging him back from some bad habits.

I’m from Minnesota, and there are a few commonalities about these amazing folk: one, there’s lots of church and synagogue attendees there and two, no one really talks much about their faith.

You see, talking about God on the Bart train doesn’t come easy to me. I know other people in my small groups over the years who have prayed for the chance to share their faith with others. Not me! Faith, in my upbringing, is meant to be private. And so, I was kind of shocked by myself and the circumstances to be having such a poignant, natural conversation with someone who clearly was in pain and seeking something.

God on my shoulder.

I’m still reflecting on the day, and how many opportunities God threw at me to be a light to others. And it felt good. Things and conversations just happened.

So what was I doing today that was so different from my usual, rushed, focused self?

1) I was resting. This shouldn’t be a big surprise. I took the day off my professional work, and made plans to spend the day doing things for myself.

2) I wasn’t rushing.

I planned enough time between appointments that when I had those divine meetings I settled in and let it happen, and didn’t feel the perfectionist-tug of not wanting to be late to the next thing.

3) I was taking care of my body.

This actually surprises me the most. After volunteering with the toddlers (which, now that my sons are in school, always gives me a boost), I planned a dentist appointment and then a massage to help my immune system. I think God wants us to take care of ourselves – not in a mind-numbing watch 5-hours straight of TV or go splurge on new clothes sort of way – but in a truly life-giving sort of way. It’s hard for me to even schedule sometimes, but today was such a present reminder that taking care of myself will bring me closer to God and the work that God has for me in this world. And no doubt, I’ll feel better and more energetic too!

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