If the veil between me and God
is as thin as some say it is,
why can’t I see any more than I can?
In days past, my awareness of God
was as straightforward as sitting in a confessional.
There was no question as to whether the priest was present.
I experienced companionship,
sometimes even felt breath.
I am still sitting in the confessional
— where else do I have to go? —
but I don’t hear anything from the other side.
Am I alone?
I have lived life next to a window.
I always knew God was close by, just on the other side.
If you had asked me as a child, I would have pointed:
There. Right there.
There is God, with me, right there.
My own vision
and my level of paying attention
have varied widely over the ensuing years,
but, if asked, I would always have known where to point.
The direction was clear,
even if I was not personally engaged in looking that way.
As an adult, I was given the privilege
of seeing really well through that window for a while.
It was as if there were a narrow set of blinds within the glass,
and someone pulled them just right
and in flooded the sun.
It wasn’t me that did the pulling,
but those blinds were certainly pulled.
And I sure did love that sunshine.
It was warm and beautiful,
and it made me beautiful, too.
It was easy to see beauty
by that glorious light.
I cannot say exactly what changed.
Actually, I could name a hundred things that changed over time,
but I cannot say exactly what I was busy with
when those blinds slowly closed.
All I can say is,
when I realized that my way no longer seemed lit
and I was having trouble seeing what I was holding,
I turned and found a solid surface.
Same window, completely dark.
No light coming through.
If you ask me now,
I will still point in the direction of the darkened window.
I mean, surely if God were moving away for good,
I would have been notified, right?
We were so close.
Going on that muscle memory,
I still know where to point
so that others can look in the right direction
through their own windows,
but I can’t see through mine anymore.
But if I can think about God at all,
if I can remember God at all,
if I can wish I had my old desire back –
isn’t that the teeniest spark of hope
in and of itself?
Isn’t that a tiny opening
in an otherwise dark surface?
Isn’t that a gift?
And if it is a gift, mustn’t there be a Giver?
Everyone knows you can’t look at the sun.
The smallest of children can tell you that.
But, if you are willing to do it the old-fashioned way,
all it takes is one pinprick in a piece of paper
and you can experience one of the most amazing events
the sky has to offer.
Bright sunshine is wonderful,
an expected miracle,
a daily gift that becomes the unnoticed background
to most of the memories of a lifetime.
But everybody remembers
even the smallest details
of the last time they saw an eclipse.
It’s fun to wear the glasses,
to stare straight at the sun with major protection in place,
but the fact is,
to experience the glorious, strange wonder,
a tiny hole in a piece of paper