I Find God Here

I Find God Here

“Why do you come in here to be with us and teach us about Jesus when you could do that outside?” one prisoner asked during a meal on the prison retreat.

“I do teach about Jesus to people out there.”

“Why do you come in here?”

A few months ago, I would have said it was because my sister started getting involved in prison ministry. Or that I became interested when a priest I had known for a long time became the prison chaplain. Yet neither of those things really answers the question of why I keep coming back.

“Because I find God in here,” I said. “I guess it is actually a selfish reason.”

He looked at me, a bit taken aback. “You find God in prison?”

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God is in the detail

“The Devil is in the detail” is a phrase I’ve heard but never really used.  It came to mind today and I thought, “Actually, God is in the details.”  Turns out, “God is in the detail” was the first phrase and the devil one is a spin-off.  Just like him, too.  Never being creative, simply sloppily redoing something of God’s genius and trying to pawn it off as his own invention.

God is found in the details of everyday life.  The other day, I was driving back to my house and took a moment to look around the road I was on.  I mean–to really see.  I noticed the pieces of icy snow alongside the road, the way the sun was shining on the cars driving under the bridge, and the lines of watery dust dried on my windshield.  It was a moment where I stopped and saw.  Too often I skim over the details.  I’m lost in my thoughts as I drive or I will drive past the exact same scene and never notice it really.

Today I went to Mass at the hospital, and I was absentmindedly staring at the stained glass at the front.  For as many times as I’ve seen the window, I should be able to draw it from memory.  But I couldn’t, even though my mind has often wandered to finding the different patterns in the window.  Or the other day, I was driving to the interstate ramp and noticed that the trailer court extended much further than I realized.  The stoplight consistently forces me to read the entrance sign for the trailer court, but that day as I drove by, I glanced back and saw how far it extended.  It was an entire community that I had only thought of as a handful of trailers settled near a busy road.

I realize that it wouldn’t be possible to notice all of the details all of the time.  With the rows of houses and flashing digital signs, I would be inundated with too much stimuli if I truly took all of it in.  However, I can do a better job at noticing my surroundings, of taking the time to pause, look around me, and truly see.

God is in the details of my daily life and maybe I am just not truly seeing Him at work.  My goal is to slow down and see the beauty that is found simply in the present moment and place.