Sometimes I like to sit and daydream about God. I might be under a tree at a park, watching the shadows shift through the leaves, or in my office, listening to rain splatter against my windows, or even behind the wheel of my car in a parking lot, with people loading their groceries in cars beside mine.
I like to think about what God looks like. Are his eyes old and lined with wrinkles or are they bright and new like an infant’s? Would I recognize him? What does it sound like when he laughs? What parts of me are most like him?
I think about times I’ve felt God so close I could swear I felt his breath. Like the times I hiked alone in the Columbia Gorge, the sweet fragrance of the forest and the rushing sounds of waterfalls around me. I remember I kept looking behind me, thinking I’d catch a glimpse of his head, his back, his glory. Or when I was alone in my dorm room, all those years ago, my eyes swollen with tears, used Kleenex piled beside me, when I felt his comfort, like an old sweater wrapped around me.
When I spend this prayerful time daydreaming, a happiness overwhelms me, akin to love, peace — hope.
I hold on to these glimpses of glory, my own small flashes and ones I’ve read about that thrilled me as if I were there. Moses on Mount Sinai catching a glimpse of God’s back. Covering his face with a veil, for it shone too brightly, reflecting God’s glory.
Or Elijah waiting for God to reveal himself. And when he did, it was not in the trembling earthquake, blazing fire or mighty wind. God revealed himself in a still small voice. When Elijah heard it, like Moses, he covered his face with his cloak.
Moses and Elijah were both present during the Transfiguration when Christ’s face shone like the sun and his clothes, white as light. And then on Easter morning, when Christ’s appearance was like lightning, his clothing white as snow and our souls felt their worth.
I don’t know the depths of God but sometimes I get a flicker of his glory. I’ll catch these sparks in the smallest of moments, the unexpected kindness of a stranger, a toddler’s giggle or when my priest raises the Eucharist and we look in wonder or cover our face in awe.
Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote “hope is in what the eye has never seen … in what the human hand has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers.”
I return to these images, caught from the corner of my eye or as a flash of lightning, moving from Light to Light, each one bringing me closer to God. I won’t rest until I see God in his splendor — until I fully know the intensity of his brilliance.
This is my hope, and hope does not disappoint.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - April 2020
Shemaiah Gonzalez, a member of St. James Cathedral Parish, is a freelance writer with degrees in English literature and intercultural ministry. Find more of her writing at shemaiahgonzalez.com.
Shemaiah Gonzalez, miembro de la parroquia de la Catedral de Saint James, es escritora independiente con diplomas en Literatura inglesa y Ministerio Intercultural. Puedes encontrar más de sus redacciones en: shemaiahgonzalez.com.