I woke up groggy, as I often do. Then I remember: God is here! And: I may have diminished awareness, diminished feeling, diminished energy, but God is not diminished! My experience or lack thereof need not be fixed for God to be here, pulsing through my veins. My sliver of awareness is just a sliver. And yet: all of God is here right now, residing in the depths of my experience. I may not be able to reach much depth right now. It might feel like I’m floating on the salt-saturated Dead Sea, as buoyant and surface-bound as ever. But my inability to see beneath the surface doesn’t mean there are no depths.
So I remember that there are depths. And God is.
My next tendency is to decry the surface. “Tiredness, numbness—you’re keeping me from God!” No, no, no. Quite the opposite. Here’s the really good news: Not only are there depths, but this experience—this tiredness, this numbness—is the surface of those depths. There is no other surface. There is nowhere else to go. There is nowhere else I can go. I cannot escape this surface, but that’s okay, because the depths are fully here, and this surface—this experience—is the gateway to them. If I want to see God, I need only peer into the experience I am having right now. And even if I don’t notice anything that feels deep, I can trust that what I’m seeing right now, what I’m experiencing right now, is nothing less than the face of God.
Of course this practice of trust makes way for grace, where I get to experience life more deeply, to gain insights, to feel loved. That’s wonderful. But what’s maybe even more wonderful is the fact that this practice of trust—of faith—does not depend on such moments of grace ever happening. In the same way that God is always here and available, I can take the same attitude: I am here. I am available. I am here and available for whatever arises in life, for whatever is needed, for whatever is happening right now. No matter how I feel and no matter how clearly I can see. I am open to receiving the special gifts of God but free from the need to ever receive them.
Again, I eventually but inevitably find the hand of grace reaching out to me. And, again, I want to be less and less dependent on such experiences. In so doing, I might one day find that there are no grace-less experiences, there is no difference between the depth and the surface, and I can’t help but experience God in everything that happens. Until then, I thank God for faith. I thank God for good news: reminders that no matter what is happening right now, it’s happening in the presence of God.