I am not particularly religious.

I believe deeply, profoundly in God. But it’s been a very long time since I practiced the religious rites of my youth. I was an early teen when I realized that I would not find the God I felt in my bones in the pews of a church. And much older by the time I came to really exercise what that meant in my life.

I’ve come to believe that God is in everything, that he reaches us through the things that we do, the things we value. For me, I find him most often in connecting with other people. Sometimes it’s loved ones, most times strangers but it’s always exactly what I need to hear.

It’s a bit of a hypocrisy to believe in a Christian God but need concrete, tangible lessons instead of simply walking on faith. But I do. And because I’ve come to believe that this need isn’t something to be punished for, I’ve begun to notice the way messages show up for me. It’s always a strange, welcome feeling to be having a conversation and hear a small voice in my head say that was for you after a particular gem has been dropped.

It’s happened recently on two separate occasions since I’ve finally started telling people outside my inner circle about my move. 

Weeks ago, I mentioned it in casual conversation to a coworker, my name twin with a kind, open energy I just love. Without missing a beat she said, “Your whole life is about to change.”

And there it was. That familiar tingle of knowing that while she was the messenger, it was not her message. And that it was time to face a truth I’d been avoiding with the details and minutia of moving. As is my way, I brushed it aside with some deprecating joke, but the burr of the thought had already caught; everything is about to change.

On moving day, faced with the anxiety of putting all my worldly possessions in the hands of a stranger, and a far more expensive bill for that exercise than I’d been expecting, I was standing in my empty kitchen spiraling a bit. One of the maintenance men I’d made friends with over my 5 years in my building happened to be walking by. He stopped in to ask me about my move and bid me farewell. When I told him I was going home, without prompting he said, “God is always blessing you. Always looking out for you. I’ve noticed that.”

It was the exact reminder I needed.

And so that night, when I found myself finally still, when the last box had been taped and the last surface cleaned, I finally took a minute to let it all sink in. Ironically and in a final act of symmetry, I was ending this journey the way I started it; in an empty apartment on an air mattress, staring at the ceiling in the dark. But it felt different. 

There was no boundless grief over unexpectedly losing my aunt and expectedly losing my grandmother in rapid succession. There were no plaguing doubts about whether or not I was doing the right thing. And despite a bit of a twinge about this being yet another big life change I was undertaking on my own, there was no intense loneliness.

Because my phone buzzed constantly with excited conversations with the people who love me most, who wanted to know plans and what I needed and sending ignorant responses that made my laugh echo through the empty apartment. Because I’ve done hours of brutally hard work in therapy. Because six years ago before my whole life became unrecognizable, I swam in the Aegean Sea and that time God did not send a proxy but found me in the water I love.

“What are you willing to lose to make room for that which I have promised you?” he’d asked me back then, from the bottom of the ocean.

The answer then was nothing. But in the intervening time, I’ve surrendered everything. Offered up almost everything in sacrifice, willing to lose whatever I wasn’t supposed to hold.

And in return I’ve received everything I needed. And sometimes if I’m lucky, if I’m listening, even small reminders that I’m doing okay as I go.

One thought on “Messages

  1. “God is always blessing you. Always looking out for you. I’ve noticed that.”

    I know how hard it can be to have faith in a world that so frequently feels cruel. I’m so proud of you for taking the risk and opening up to more.

    I’d wish you luck on this next leg of your journey but you already know I’ll be here. Cheering from the sidelines.


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