January 1999Truly, God was in this place, and I did not know it.


With clever ingenuity and a great kindness, Life somehow put together these two most unlikely people. Buddy was a child of seven. She was a little lady, sixty something, with cropped white hair and a hunched back. Author Truman Capote goes on to recount a childhood memory, he being the Buddy of the story.1 Buddy referred to the little lady as "My best friend". Marginally, Buddy and Bestfriend lived together in a house with other relatives. For the most part, Buddy and Bestfriend lived their own full and abundant life unnoticed, with few taking note of the deep enviable bond of friendship between the two.

Although Bestfriend was noticeably religious, she allowed her seven-year old friend to be a true boy of his age. Every Saturday, Bestfriend gave Buddy ten cents for the picture show. She herself did want not go. She would rather listen to Buddy tell her the story afterwards. Besides, she wanted to keep her eyes unadulterated and unsquandered so that she would be able to see the Lord clearly when the Lord came.

At gift giving time, Bestfriend had always wanted to give Buddy a bike and Buddy had always wanted to give his best friend a box of chocolate covered cherries. However, buying these gifts was not an option. Instead, they each made gifts for the other, in secret. Usually, both gifts ended up being kites, the most wonderful gifts in the world, we might add. However, one year they did make slingshots.

One day, when the wind was blowing just right, these two champions waded through waist-high grass on their way to the pasture and there, with unfettered hearts, unreeled their kites. After a bit, they sprawled on the grass, warmed by the sun, and watched the expressions of their common spirit play and cavort against a backdrop of clouds. Suddenly alert, almost with a tone of great discovery, Bestfriend smiled at a point beyond and said something akin to, "You know, Buddy, I've always thought that one would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And, I imagined that when the Lord came, it would be like looking through a church window with the sun shining through. But, I'll wager that this never happens. I'll wager that in the end, a person realizes that she or he has been seeing the Lord all along - in the clouds, in the kites, in the grass and in Queenie, the dog, pawing over a bone. As for me, I could leave this world with today in my eyes."

Can we say that Bestfriend was a mystic? Most people would agree that she was. Did Bestfriend start at the beginning and grow into a kind of everyday mysticism? Very likely.

The winter months that precede Spring are generally regarded as slump time. In Church circles, this interval is referred to as Ordinary Time. But, in actuality, is any time ever really ordinary?

Aware or not, most people yearn for the more of life and to touch the "Other Side of Silence", an expression used by Morton Kelsey. Along this line, there is an old religious custom called the Examen. In this exercise, the serious seeker is encouraged to pause for a few minutes in the middle of the day and to ask, "In what way have I met God this morning? Looking ahead to this afternoon, where am I likely to see God?"

In the book of Genesis (28:16ff), Jacob had a dream. In it, a stairway reached from earth to the heavens. The Lord stood beside Jacob, not at the top of the stairway. And, God said, "Know that I am with you. I will protect you wherever you go and bring you back. I will never leave you until I have done what I have promised."

Jacob awoke, rubbed his eyes and exclaimed, "Truly, God was in this place and I did not know it!"

As I close this reflection, I say to myself, "Today, where have I met God in this place? With all my heart, I do not want to miss such an experience."

(1) Capote, Truman, "A Christmas Memory," A Christmas Treasury, Ed. Jack Newcombe. (New York: Viking Press, 1982) pp. 36-46.

By: Sister Mary Jo Loebig


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