There are moments in time, often small moments, that mark our lives in a way we couldn’t have expected. These moments are rare but I found myself in one of them just the other day. Many of you who have followed my blog know of my loss of faith in God. So much has happened to me that even as I have healed, I have still never gotten that faith back. There is an emptiness there that is palpable – there has been ever since I stopped believing, but that emptiness is not enough on its own to make me believe again.
Before I stopped believing, when I was so filled with anger, I used to ask God, beg even, for some kind of sign, something to let me know he really was there, because with all the balls of hell-fire being thrown at me, consuming me, I needed to know it was all for something better than me, that there was a purpose for so much pain being thrust upon one person. I never received a sign, and as more tragedy was forced upon me, I realized one day that I just didn’t believe in God anymore. How could a kind, loving God allow such pain, especially to a person who served him and was kind and giving to everyone?
Then when my father died suddenly, I thought that surely if there was a God, my dad in Heaven would find a way to bring me back to him, but no, nothing changed, no sign, no direction. Somehow, that made me even more angry. I have had people here and there try to offer some kind of solace and hope, that I would find my way back, but nothing ever sank in. No words were ever strong enough to break through my concrete wall of pain. But then…
A couple days ago, I went to the bank with a deposit for work. The ladies who work at this bank are so sweet. I was speaking with one of them as she processed our deposit, and she looked up at me and said, “You are so nice; you have such a sunny personality.” I actually took a moment to respond because I am so used to being invisible. I thanked her and told her how much I appreciate her kindness. Then, she said something that stunned me. She said, “I can see the Christ in you.”
Something inside me froze, as time seemed to stand still.Honestly, my first thought was how can someone see the Christ in ME – a jaded, non-believer whose heart holds on by a shred sometimes? I thanked her and said I had never received such a compliment before. Then she said, “Sometimes you see the other!” I agreed with her on that, as I have seen the devil in his earthly disguise. I left and sat in my car for a bit as her words ran circles in my splintered mind.
Was this the sign I have so desperately needed? And why now? It’s been years since I stopped believing. No one else has gotten through. And here, all of the sudden, a sweet, black lady from Jackson, MS may have just saved my life, metaphorically speaking. And I say black lady because in this case, that distinction matters. Since moving to Mississippi, I have found that black people are so strong in their faith, in their family, in their community, and I both value and envy that. Here is this lady who does not really know me and yet she can see the Christ in me. Can you imagine how profound that felt to me?
It was definitely one of those changing moments. I am not sure in what way yet; it did not make me suddenly just believe again. Life is not that simple. But it was enough to make me think, to make me ponder. It was the first twinge of “what if” that I have felt in some time. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to do with it, but I am open to the possibilities.