I found a notepad while packing my room that contained an attempt to put to words a story that I’ve hardly even spoken of to anyone. The story cuts off abruptly in my notes; what was written, I posted the other day. Here is the completed tale…
When I was around fifteen, I “found God.” I don’t remember the date, can’t even pin down the year, but then, chronos time never meant much to me. “Chronos,” as described to me not long after the night in question by a retreat leader, is earthly time- the time associated with clocks, schedules, etc. “Kairos” (another Greek word) connotes “God’s time” in several senses, from “the appointed time” of Biblical events to the way an eternal being, outside the heady flow of chronos, views time. This kairos view of time, to me, brings to light a way that the ubiquitous art of storytelling is in the Image of God- our tales, like His, turn on opportune times rather than the turning of the Earth.
As for finding God, it wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds. The casual observer, or my sister (who was probably asleep in the bunk above mine), would have noticed nothing much. If I had been crying, I might have stopped, and shortly thereafter, I fell asleep. But you, gentle reader, deserve a bit more understanding of it than our hypothetical observer. As I mentioned, I was in bed and probably crying. This was usual for me in the middle of the night. I had been agnosticating for something like a year and had concurrently been suffering what I can only call depression. (Hindsight not being as 20-20 as the saying suggests, I cannot diagnose my high-school self based on college coursework.) Another night of necessary but nonexistent sleep was being spent in tortuous twines of thought about the seemingly necessary but nonexistent God and wishes for death. Finally, my mind cried out “Are You there?” to the horribly silent One…
I didn’t hear an answer aloud, nor in my mind. God was not revealed to me in a blare of trumpets, a burning bush, or a gentle breeze. I felt something, the gentlest pressure within my chest, and in that I discerned a quiet affirmation. I was not alone. The wordless message was simple – “I Am.”
That night, for the first time, I understood the power of that holy name. It’s the answer to every question at the center of the human heart- “Is there something more out there?”, “What’s my purpose?”, ” What is true, what is beautiful, what is precious?”, we ask. If we are able to listen, there comes but one answer… “I Am.”
I’m restless tonight, for reasons I’ll discuss soon. But within that restlessness, I can feel that gentle, reassuring pressure reaching from eternity, through a decade-old experience, into my heart tonight. “Why aren’t I the one who knows my fate?” I wonder. Then comes, I imagine with a divine chuckle, the timeless reply… “I Am.”