Listen. Listen. The world is trying to tell you something.
There are messages in the dragonflies that seem to follow you everywhere, in the way the wind whips up at just the right moment, in the clock showing you the same time when you wake every night, sweaty and confused.
Listen, because while you’ve been waiting for a booming message from God and searching desperately in the dusty, dry corners of pews, God has been speaking to you all along. Through the neighbor you hate and the one you love, through the flower that grows even though you keep forgetting to water it, through the stranger that sat next to you at Starbucks and struck up a conversation.
Why do we insist that everything should be so big?
There is wonder in the small moments: the praying mantis who comes to your screen door and stays there, in stillness, for three days. There is wonder in the tide coming in and out and the sun always rising and setting and did you know we make carbon dioxide and the trees breathe it and give us oxygen in return?
So stop saying there are no miracles and that the world is bad. Just today the sun rose up and its light is what you see by, even now as you proclaim that there is nothing pure or holy anymore and that you can’t hear the voice of God.
The moon pulls the tides and us, too, and we take her for granted in the same way we do each other. We look past the kind, gentle ones and we point fingers at the hateful and blame them for the world falling apart. Turn your gaze instead to this: the way your child hugs you like you are Home, the shade of giant trees on hot days, the door held for you, the song that breaks something open in your rib cage and moves your stagnant heart.
Let yourself be afraid of that new space inside your ribs, that floating feeling of your heart, and lean into it. Be afraid and be okay with afraid; despite what you’ve heard, there is magic in fear. You work so hard to apply anesthesia to the places that you feel, you have run so far and so fast that you don’t realize you’ve left yourself behind.
Don’t listen anymore to the ones who tell you how to feel and instead learn to listen to the little voice that whispers to you, the one in you who knows. That voice you’ve tuned out for so long is the only voice that can tell you a thing worth hearing, and it is not an expert or a professional and maybe it doesn’t have a degree or certification or—gasp!—any experience at all and still, this is the guide you’ve been waiting for.
All your life you’ve been taught: here is how you sail. Plot the course. Bring a map and a compass and enough supplies for the worst of circumstances and bring other people with you, ones who are smarter and better than you, because you could not possibly know. And you’ve been taken somewhere, and it might be exactly where you all agreed to come ashore and still, it is not where you want to be. And you know it.
So I am saying: do not wait to hop aboard any kind of ship with someone else at the helm, they will not take you where you need to go. It is not their fault; how could they ever be responsible for your trajectory when they cannot hear the whispers inside of you?
Instead, wake in the coolness of the morning and revel in it. Do nothing and just be. Recapture your long-lost sense of wonder, the kind that made you, as a child, study birds in the sky and leaves that fell to the ground; that made tiny pebbles the greatest of Earth’s treasures; that turned a tumbling brook into the keeper of secrets waiting to be discovered. Take off your shoes and feel the cushion of moss under your feet, lean back against a tree and let its rough bark scratch your back, stare at the puffed-up white clouds and feel curious about it all, and grateful to be a part of it. Relax on that tree and feel your chest rise and fall, its rhythms matching the ebb and flow of water on the shore, that trunk supporting your back and your breath. Breathe out and the tree soaks it in; breathe in and the tree gives you life.
There. Now you no longer have to question if there is anything good or pure or holy, if there is any God who speaks to you, if you have anything left to give this world.