by Jennifer Vasil
As I experience Him, God’s pretty quiet. Even though it’s a consistent prayer of mine that I hear His voice, I don’t seem to do so very often, or if I do, it’s not something I’m aware of. I remind Him that I can be pretty dense and need Him to be blatantly obvious, as if my creator really needed that bit of information about me. Nevertheless. I seem to spend most of my time in our relationship being the one who does the talking, and that can get lonely.
But then there are days like today. I woke up feeling a little down, the kind of low I get from overthinking something the night before, and I let that feeling inform my morning’s prayer. I wanted clarity on an ongoing issue that wasn’t forthcoming, and I was tired of being frustrated about it. Reading the psalms helped a little, but not much. So I dressed for my morning’s run and headed out the door.
My satellite radio was parked at its usual Broadway station, but I didn’t remember leaving it on quite so loud when I turned the car off the night before. As I backed out of my parking space, I thought the music sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. Then I put the car in drive and the display showed the title: “Sabbath Prayer” from Fiddler on the Roof, a song of blessing the musical’s protagonists sing for their five daughters from a show I had watched my mother perform when I was a child. “Ok, God,” I thought. “I’m listening.”
But that was it for a while. I parked my car at Shelby Farms and spent four and a half miles running speed drills around the Chickasaw Trail, trying to exhaust the frustration out of me. In the heat, my legs felt heavy, and the boost I had gotten from hearing that song was fading, replaced by the low from before. I slowed to a walk and trudged up the path.
All of a sudden, I was being grabbed in a sweaty group hug by four girls, some former and some soon-to-be students of mine on a run for cross country practice. They stopped and walked with me for a few minutes until I felt guilty for making them break their training and started running again. We went another half mile or so, talking about summer, their AP scores, who their advisors would be. It was hard not to be caught up in their youthful energy, and their exuberance carried me far past where I thought my legs would give out. It was a blessing I needed just then, another “God moment” in my morning. About a hundred feet from my car, we said hasty goodbyes as they continued down the trail. One of them shouted, “I love you, Ms. Vasil!”
“I love you, too,” I called back in return.
When God does talk to me, it’s usually like this – He puts people in my path at just the moment I need to meet them, or I get an email out of the blue that changes my day, or a song comes on the radio that makes me smile because it’s just what I needed to hear. Little moments that I probably have more often than I realize because I’m too busy looking for them to actually see. I still don’t have the clarity I was hoping for, which is a lesson in itself, I suppose. But I have God’s presence, which is decidedly more important.
Jennifer Vasil teaches upper school English at St. George’s Independent School, where she also oversees their Collierville campus’s peer tutoring center. An avid runner and published poet, she serves as a lay eucharistic minister at Church of the Holy Communion.