Because my husband and I reached a moment of clarity when his truck, again, needed extensive repairs we couldn't afford. "Something needs to change,” we said, together, and the words set like concrete, solid and steady beneath our feet.
Because, the job opening was posted online within a day or two of our decision.
Because, it had been six months or more since I looked for any kind of job and this kind of job only appears once in a blue moon. What are the chances we would reach this decision, that I would start looking for a job, the day after my dream job was posted?
Because, my references all said, "Yes, of course, we think you'd be great."
Because, the timing is perfect, with the kids ready steady in a new school year.
Because I want it to be so.
I ticked these signs off one by one in my Spiritual Director's office, laying them out like bread crumbs I've gathered amidst the wilderness of my life, crumbs I hope might form a trail.
“I want these things to add up,” I said. “I want them to mean I will get this job. But I know, it’s one thing to know what is – to be aware – and a much more difficult thing to know what it means.”
Here, she nodded, knowingly.
“I want to be able to say these signs mean God is doing this," I continued, "but I know God too well by now to place God in that kind of box." "I’m not sure where God is in this,” I concluded.
“It seems to me,” she said, “that you’re being invited into a more mystical way of being. Invited to dwell, not in the meaning of things, but in what you know to be true in each moment.”
In high school, I always did my math homework first. For the most part, for me, it was easy. More importantly, though, it was solid, clear, concrete. There was only one answer and when you found it and checked it, you were done.
Writing homework, though, was another beast. Writing an essay is so open-ended. There are so many words to choose from, so many ways to shape a sentence, a paragraph, a thought. There is no clear ending; there are many was to frame a correct answer, so many ways to sculpt ideas across a page. I never finished my writing assignments until just before they were due.
Mysticism is not math. It is the homework I have saved for last.
I immediately recognized the truth in my Spiritual Director’s words and, inwardly, I sighed. Giving up my clumsy attempts to discern the meaning of things felt like a loss – a loss of knowing, to be exact.
What do we have if we can't add events of our lives up one after the other, if we cannot trace a simple path through the woods of where we are to where we think we want to be? We are left only with the present in all of its fullness and fragility.
I told my director this, how I value the easy math of knowing, nailing down, what God is or is not doing. How letting it go feels like a loss. But, I realized even as I spoke, that by letting go of what is not, we enter, more fully, into what is. We are free to stop hoarding and trying to find our path via the breadcrumbs of our lives. Free to enjoy each crumb as the much-needed manna it is.
What do we have if we only live in the present?
We have nothing. We have everything.
We have God.