I am not a dancer. Of the many elements of self-discovery achieved in my recently abandoned teens, this is among the ones I am most certain about. As much as it pains me to accept it, it pains me even more so to have to prove it. And yet, it just so happened that I was invited, rather dragged to dance with an elderly maiden in my last visit to a retirement home. Needless to say, it was one of the most terrifying yet enriching experiences of my life. As I stomped around and the kindly elder woman swung my arms from one side to the other, I found in her wrinkled countenance a joy that I had long sought after, the joy of the children of God, who are somehow able to find God in every circumstance, even amidst a horrid dance. A soft smile came to replace my terrified grimace as I realized how simple it is to be joyful: one must find God in all things.
“To what shall I compare this generation?”, asked the Lord exasperated by the hardheadedness of the Pharisees. “It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘we played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’” (Luke 7:32) The simple-hearted, God’s children are still bewildered at our age’s ennui. Tepidly modern man wanders from website to website. Languor-filled he binges M rated content. Weary and dissatisfied he complains of loneliness among the masses and protests against all the evil out there clouding his newsfeed. Not for one instant does he realize he is the cause of his current distress. All the while God’s children continue playing the flute and singing dirges, but he does not stir.
Might this be the story of our lives? Could it be somewhat of a satire of our days? God is in our midst competing for out fleeting attention against billboards and flashy things. He wishes us to experience his love and to feel impelled to love our neighbors, but we ignore his voice and complacently place our ear-phones back on and blast the music louder. Can we complain then of our boredom, our loneliness or our lack of purpose?
Often we give up on prayer, the excuse: “God is too aloof, too silent.” The truth is we do not kneel enough. We do not seek. We do not knock. We do not listen. To find God, one must seek God. “Seek God in all things and we shall find God by our side,” remarked St. Peter Claver.
“Where can we find you, O Lord?”, is our constant plea. God’s answer is “simply everywhere.”
God in our brothers and sisters, God in the beautiful sunrise, God in a majestic storm, God in poetry, God in Sacred Scripture, God in a Van Gogh, God in a bloodied Crucifix, God in our hearts, God incarnate in the Eucharist; he can be found everywhere living, loving and seeking our salvation, but we must be searching and praying:
“My God, let me see you where you are. Let me love you where I find you, adore you where I discover you, serve you where I notice you, embrace you where I encounter you. My God, let me see you where you are.”
Lent is a privileged moment of encounter. As we continue our journey through this modern desert, let us pray that we be made attentive to God’s presence in our lives. If God’s children play the flute, you better be ready to dance.