Slowly but surely I am starting to see God in the noise.
As a contemplative sort of guy I prefer to approach God in silence, in meditative solitude. I love the transfiguration story where the disciples of Jesus see his glory on a wild mountaintop. In my more wildly romantic moments I identify with the desert fathers and celtic monks and Christian sanyasins of the Indian missions. I love to chill in my places of solitude and listen for God's subtle voice.
But as a parent of a three year old and a one year old, with a busy career, that's sometimes a bit of a luxury. So, I've also been working on hearing God in the noise, in intertwining of our life stories with the stories of the ancients, in seeing the image of God written in the faces of screaming babies and demanding stressed company workers.
Today it was my son, Daniel's, third birthday. Lot's of little ones running around everywhere. Noise, crys and smiles. And now, as the house has resumed some semblance of calm (yes, you guessed it, I'm the only one still awake) I thought I'd jot down a few stray thoughts.
Sometimes God is most clearly seen in the small things. In a few words, in a smile, in some simple actions. Today it was in four words, "I love you Daddy". Words to live for. In seeing how I am teaching my son to love, I am seeing glimpses of how God, my dad, is teaching me the same thing. I doesn't happen in a day. It happens over a long time, it happens in process.
Life has been hard lately, but it's also been joyous. I have been re-examining my heart, the callouses it has developed over time and letting God massage them away. Sometimes the process is …well, let's just say it's difficult. But I can see the benefits, I can see the why. I find that at times I have been hiding, hiding from all sorts of pains and dissappointments, but that this hiding has had its own costs. Love requires vulnerability, love requires acceptance of risk and of pain. This is what God was at such pains to teach ancient Israel in our sacred stories. You can only teach love by being vulnerable yourself. God went to great lengths to show us that.
But in seeing my son grow into a lovely and loving young boy I think I get a sence of how God must feel when he touches us, when our hardened hearts melt towards him. A glimpse maybe. But one that I'll hold on to. Sometimes the noise of kids breaking the decebel meter can distract us from God, sometimes that's just where God is to be found.