It struck me today how little control we have over our lives. I was traveling on I-580, in the fast lane, just after the Richmond Bridge, going about 65 mph. Suddenly I came upon a stopped truck in my lane, with flashing lights and a sign that said “lane closed.” In seconds I had to change lanes, right in between two larger trucks, a car carrier and an 18-wheeler. Had these trucks been closer together, without a gap between them, I would have crashed. I was shaken up at my close call. Maybe, I thought, God had protected me in that moment. How else could I explain it?
God seems active in many parts of my life. I became a spiritual director in 2019 and I’m happy to provide spiritual care for several individuals. They are deeply spiritual people, very in tune with God’s nudgings. I feel inspired by them each time we meet. I’m grateful that these people found their way to me and I have the privilege to sit with them and offer them a listening ear as they pursue a relationship with God. I do believe God placed us together for a reason.
I need to remember God’s care more than ever these days, as I am undergoing a dark period in my life. My husband moved out of the house in January and is working on his “issues.” I am lonely and sad. I have tried to fill my days with walks and coffee with friends but it’s impossible to fill every minute. Many times I find myself just watching the clock, until I can find relief with another friend. I turn to God in these empty moments; sometimes I hear his voice reassuring me, sometimes not. But I trust that he’s there, protecting me from even worse feelings.
A bright spot in my life are my two sons, now 20 and 23. I am happy to see them enjoying life and developing into adults, post-Covid. Miguel, 23, graduated from college right before Covid and has become a gourmet cook. He sends me photos of some of his meals, like the fresh fish tacos and slaw he made the other night. He has a new job, managing two farm-to-market food stands in Brooklyn. The stands are run by a non-profit that seeks to bring fresh fruit and vegetables from local farms to the city. Miguel is in charge of setting up the stands, overseeing the high school employees that work as cashiers, and breaking them down in the evening. The job seems like a good match for his skills and interests. It’s only part-time, allowing him time for freelance gigs as a photographer and filmmaker.
TJ, my younger son, is at home for just one more week. He was forced to return home from the dorms when Covid hit and now he can finally go back to in-person classes, this time living in an apartment with his dorm roommate. They are excited to move into their first apartment.
Meanwhile, at the end of June, TJ and some friends traveled to Austin, Texas for a ten-day-long stay. They visited their online friends Haydon and Gregg. They did a lot of swimming and a few things I’m glad I didn’t know about beforehand, like cliffdiving. TJ showed me a video of himself jumping off an incredibly high cliff. He got the wind knocked out of him upon hitting the water. Thankfully, he says he won’t do it again. On a lighter note, Gregg took TJ down to Corpus Christi where he lives and they drove along the beach there in Gregg’s jeep, almost to the border of Mexico. On the way they spotted an injured bird and tried to take it to a bird rescue facility (Gregg’s girlfriend works there), but the bird didn’t make it.
As I think about Miguel’s job or TJ’s friendship with his online friends, I can’t help but think God brought these things together. In New York, the city is slowly coming to life again and it was amazing Miguel found a job doing something he’s passionate about. Likewise, TJ has been fortunate to remain friends with Gregg for over 10 years, and with Haydon for about five years.
My kids not only provide bright spots but they bolster my faith that God cares. I may be undergoing a huge trial, coping day to day without Peter, but God still cares for me and has good things for me. I took a walk this morning with one friend and the sun was warm and hopeful. The fog lifted early today. We ended our walk with refreshing ice lattes. Last night I invited another friend over for dinner and I taught her to play my favorite card game, Spite and Malice. It’s a bit of a complicated game but she caught on quickly. So, I tell myself, God provides some pools of relief in the midst of struggle.
Yesterday TJ received a package in the mail from Gregg. It contained a server and a Bonsai Lego set. It was an expression of Gregg’s deep friendship, very sweet. TJ immediately went to work piecing together the server, which will host their game of Minecraft. A couple of weeks ago TJ made his first phone calls about his apartment. I overheard him using his most polite voice to set up an appointment to view a place. I felt proud. He found a place not long after and it’s close to school.
Maybe I’m just being naïve, trusting in God so much. That could be, but when I look at things in a deep way, I just feel there aren’t coincidences. God does listen to our prayers. In fact, I feel convicted to pray more as I write this. I haven’t prayed enough to ask God to lift my darkness. I haven’t prayed enough for Peter and his well-being. I need to pray more. I commit to pray more. If God is in the big things in life, surely he is in the small things too. I need him in big and small ways.