Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Friendship with God

“In all places and at all times, we can have that familiar friendship, we can have Him with us;
and there may be through the day a constant interchange of private words, of little offerings,
too small to have any name attached to them—by which the bonds of that familiar friendship
grow closer and more real, until it comes to that special personal intimacy, which we call sanctity.”
Janet Erskine Stuart, 1857-1914

When I was a girl, about age seven, I prayed to God from a berry patch under my mother’s clothesline. I felt so awkward talking to the air and hoping for something back. I told myself how silly I was to talk to nothing. But there was enough faith attached to it, I imagined, to ring a bell in eternity. When I think about that moment, my heart nearly bursts open knowing that even in my clumsy state of reaching out to God that He heard me and reached back. If I had understood the brevity of God’s timeline, I would have probably exercised more patience. I imagine now that just about the time I looked up at him from my mother’s strawberry patch that he looked down on me and then I was sixteen, and then twenty, and thirty and all along he was slowly taking me into his confidence, a relationship that eventually translated into an intimacy between us, and now friendship.

It’s not easy to explain the intimacy you feel with God to someone who hasn’t experienced Him. I know that intellectuals and others demand a clear and tangible explanation before embracing a belief. I understand pragmatism and truth and clarity and specificity because I need those things to create intelligent thought on paper. But even imagining how I might explain God’s presence to one of the teeming thousands who visit my blog, words fail me.

I don’t mean to sound mystical. I’m not even trying to rouse an argument. But the fact in my life is that if I don’t walk every second in this intimacy I now know as God’s presence, I flounder. Does that make me a weakling, or am I just being honest about my need for God? If I learn to lean on another human for support, don’t the two of us make a stronger cord, a better team? That’s how it is when I lean on God. He supports me in a way that is beyond words. God doesn’t stumble and he doesn’t miss anything. Not a falling bird feather or a girl sitting in a berry patch beneath a clothesline.