Where the Veil is Thin
At the church I attend, the children talk about “God Sightings,” times when they see signs of God during their everyday life. It started as an activity during Vacation Bible School. It caught on, and the kids liked it so much that they’ve kept it up. It’s a fun way for the children to be reminded that God is all around. And you know, it’s not a bad reminder for the adults too. Here’s my God Sighting.
My friend and I arrived at the beach on Friday afternoon after a series of mishaps. It was not the easy, joyous travel we had hoped for, and yet, we were happy just to have made it.
I love the beach for many reasons, and the sand, sun, and sea are not the only ones. For me, sitting there, staring at the ocean is therapeutic. The vastness of the landscape seems to put the size of both my ego and my problems in perspective. Miniscule would probably be the right word at this point.
The other reason I love the beach is that for me, the veil is thinner there. The distance between heaven and earth is closer. The distance between God and myself. I’ve always heard that there are physical places on earth where this is true. The places tend to take on mythic proportions: Sedona, Arizona; Ayers Rock, Australia; Stonehenge, England. But for me the beach has always been that place.
So that’s what I was ready for when we arrived. I was looking for a reconnection. A “mountain top moment” so to speak. And that’s exactly what happened, but not in the way I expected it.
The minute my friend and I arrived, we walked straight to the balcony of our hotel room, looking for the peace and quiet, the serenity of the shore. Instead, out on the balcony of the room beside ours we found a young man who was smoking heavily and looked like he had been drinking almost as much. He looked tired, but he was carrying on a loud conversation with anyone near him. Soon he was talking to my friend and me. He was boisterous and liked to say shocking things. But it was easy to see through the bluster and realize that he was lonely and had been rejected by many people because of some of his life choices.
My friend and I sat talking with him across the balcony till it was getting late and we realized we needed to make a run to the grocers. As we filed past him, my friend very casually said, “We’re going to the store. Do you need anything?” He looked up from his phone with a surprised expression on his face. He smiled at her. “No, I’m fine, but thank you for asking.” And in that moment, I had my God sighting. I think those quiet words, that small offer of courtesy, that care of others is exactly what Jesus would have done.
So while some people may travel the world to find mystic places where they sense a connection to the holy, where the veil is thinner, I saw it through the simple words of kindness said to a young man who was struggling.