Unearthing The Sacred Amidst The Rubble

I went to lunch with an old friend last weekend that I hadn't seen in more than a decade. Over soup and salad we recapped the happenings of the last ten years. We discovered that we both got married young and divorced relatively quickly. We were both education and career focused with a tremendous amount of faith in our ability to succeed in the working world and a little (lot) less faith in our ability to succeed in relationships. The trajectories of our lives have stretched into twin arches.

At one point in the conversation she asked me, "Do you think God orchestrated your life in this way? Do you think God wanted you to choose marriage to B and then choose divorce as a means of leading you to where you are today?"

I've thought about that question a lot since my divorce. I've thought, "Well, if I hadn't married B and then gotten divorced from B, I wouldn't have moved to this wonderful place and gotten this wonderful job and made these wonderful friends and felt just generally wonderful about a, b, and c. So God must have wanted it to be just this way."  It's true that the poor choices I made before and during marriage--the ones that unearthed a deep reservoir of pain and self-doubt--also led to some of the most meaningful and joyful experiences of my life. With that said, I'm not convinced anymore that God was invested in things turning out one way or the other.

With a few (very few) exceptions, I don't feel like God offers much input into my choices. I have friends who pray with every step and breath. They seek guidance at each turn and feel God's approval or disapproval of their daily movements. I think this is a valid way to interact with God but it's not my way of interacting with God. On the contrary, He has been rather laissez faire with my small daily movements as well as my sweeping gestures (where to live, what to major in, who to love). I felt a clear and immediate prompting to move closer (geographically and emotionally) to CHB, but that experience was one of those very few exceptions.

I don't see God's minimal guidance in my life as an indication of abandonment, though. I have never felt far from Him. Rather I have felt that God gives me this great expanse of space to fumble around and find my way. And while I'm fumbling, He's always there with His offering: the opportunity to consecrate the pain that inevitably arises with being a human who sees through a glass darkly. Every misstep and slip and disorientation is met with God's voice. He says to me, "Place your great tangled mess on this altar and together we'll undo the tangles. Eventually, we'll weave those disentangled threads together into a tapestry that speaks of greater self-awareness, deeper compassion and more forgiveness. I'll help you see the ultimate wisdom in your movements no matter how clumsy or clunky they seem now. I'll even help you see the miraculous sparks of light that live in your most opaque corners."

God may not direct my every step, breath and turn as He seems to do with others, but there is no doubt in my mind that He is constantly at work in my life, tirelessly unearthing the sacred amidst the rubble and teaching me to do the same.