Trying to see the light
Earlier this week I was doing some thinking about this whole God thing as I was stuck in traffic. I was pondering once again the fact that I rarely if ever feel anything that I would describe as "God's presence," and that if he does exist I don't feel like I'm in touch with him at all. I had been making an effort to "see God" in the everyday world but wasn't really coming up with anything.
Then I looked up past the road construction, exhaust fumes and traffic and saw that somewhere behind all that the waning light of the sun was bursting through the clouds in a spectacular sunset. I took a picture of it with my phone:
I paused to try to enjoy the moment but the truck behind me honked because the light had turned green, and I needed to change the song on my Eminem CD that I had blaring. As I hurried through the light and got onto the cluttered freeway my view of the sunset faded away behind billboards and road signs. I thought of the dilemmas I've had about making yourself open to the possibility of seeing God and creating an environment conducive to feeling God's presence.
Imagine if I'd seen those same rays of light bursting through the clouds while sitting in a remote cabin in the mountains, or while on a hike around the lake. I think I would have felt in awe at the beauty of nature, perhaps taking a moment to close my eyes and open myself to God. But as it was I was stuck in traffic with some guy honking at me over the blare of my Eminem CD.
I think that all our modern conveniences -- air conditioned houses in the 'burbs, cars, malls, computers, ready-made clothing, etc. -- have put up a huge barrier between people and God. I think that being out in nature, seeing its beauty and feeling your own insignificance against its power, is an important aspect of staying in touch with your spiritual side. Our ancestors who lived without electricity or running water and who lived off of the land around them felt the power of nature every minute of every day, and their society was much more religious than ours. I don't think that's a coincidence.
So I need to remind myself here that it's possible that God's having a hard time getting through to me. He's offering some awe-inspiring sunsets, but I just can't see them through the power lines and exhaust fumes.