Recently I was asked "how do you describe God?"
(blank space to represent a long period of time passing while I contemplated an answer...)
How do you describe something that you have never physically seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted? Do you rely primarily on the experiences of others? Do you make something up?
How do you reveal one of the greatest mysteries of humankind in simple words? Is it even possible?
Do I describe God in the things that I see where I feel God is present...? The newly budding trees? The loving eyes of our Chihuahua-Dachshund mix? The gentle hum of a parent rocking their child to sleep? The feeling of your stomach being filled after a period of great hunger?
The words of Lillian Daniel enter into my mind as my list begins to seem as if it is something shared by someone who is "Spiritual but not Religious." Someone who speaks of seeing God in the sunsets...Daniel says; "any idiot can see God in the sunset." Who doesn't?
And in reality...yes, sometimes I can see God in a sunset...and in all of those other things that I've listed. But even now it seems that my list is far from complete.
So this morning, this question was rolling around in my head and here’s where it landed...
I would describe God as:
- the voice of reason that enters into our thoughts when we allow it enough time to speak
- the chill up our spine when a song that we sing (aloud or within) roots deep within our being
- the guide in our decision-making that just seems to ‘make sense’ – more than listening to our gut
- the tightening of our stomach when we are witness to injustice
- the sense of gratitude when we pay attention to our breath...or the breathing of others
- the brilliance seen in birth
- the joy seen in growth
- the sorrow seen in death
And ultimately (and this seems like a throw-away, but it’s not), I would describe God as MYSTERY. But how do we explain that to others?
How do you explain what it’s like to give birth to a child
–when the one listening will never have that opportunity?
How do you paint a picture of what it is to be loved
–when the one viewing your painting knows only a life of pain and abuse?
How do you let someone know that there is a presence within us that when we are opened to it, will burst forth in light and wisdom and will cast away all doubt
– when the one whom we encounter is blind to that interpretation?
God is...an understanding...an experience...a mystery, open for one and all to take in yet presenting in so many different ways...sunsets included. And it is up to us as individuals to put words to that understanding. Only then can we speak the experience of God to others...hoping they too will have the mystery revealed to them.