I kept God small.
I didn’t do it on purpose.
I didn’t even know I was doing it.
But I kept God small,
portable, in my pocket.
I loved God.
I loved my small God,
and occasionally I pulled God out of my pocket,
secured God to the dashboard,
and said, “You drive.”
But later, when the road had cleared,
and the fear had died down,
I thanked God
and put God back in my pocket.
I had no need of God anymore.
Sometimes, I left God behind.
I thanked God, always,
because I loved God,
but I would set God down carefully on my dresser
amidst jewelry and photographs
and leave, forging my own way,
making my own decisions,
hoping the blessing of having picked God up briefly
and held God against my cheek
would last throughout the day.
At night I would thank God again,
because I loved God,
and I would bring God to bed with me
and mumble to God as I fell asleep,
always dropping off in mid-sentence.
At some point in the night my restless tossing
would knock God to the floor,
where God would lie
until I stumbled out of bed to tend to the loudest child,
stopping a moment to pick God up
and put God back on my dresser,
Years, decades went by,
and God and I continued along
in our established,
as happens to us all,
an unexpected season of my life arrived.
The earth on which I stood tilted, cracked, gave way
under the sudden weight of profound loss,
and deep, deep grief . . .
and I fell.
eyes wide with fear,
Words fail me here,
for how to explain an explosive movement of God
in a life where God had always been present
but had been kept marginal,
The best I can do is to say that
my loyal pocket talisman
e x p a n d e d
and became all there was —
the space above me, below me, within me,
the air rushing in and out of my lungs,
my own pounding heart —
all emptied of me,
all filled with God.
I landed right in the middle of God,
and sat up, stunned . . .
caught, held, cherished,
utterly astonished at the power and magnitude
and infinitely tender love
of the God I had kept so small.
Now my vision, my awareness, has been permanently changed.
I move in the world with an underlying reverence —
received, not acquired —
hands and pockets empty,
eyes wide in amazement,
turning about in surprise to catch the glimpses of God that are everywhere,
The air is grace,
the earth is love,
my breath is prayer,
and my heart,
in the midst of my no-longer-small God,