Catching glimpses through the fog

Jenny Castro is a communications associate and coordinator of the Women in Leadership Project for Mennonite Church USA.

It was recently my birthday.

Every year for the last 20 years, I’ve awaited the feeling of having arrived. I’ve anticipated the wisdom that comes with age, the confidence and the satisfaction of knowing.

Every year I expect it. Every year I hold my breath. Every year I hope for that shift inside my soul — from optimistic naivety to sagelike insight.

And every year, I’m disappointed. I wake up a year older and discover I haven’t arrived. I’m pretty much the same person I was yesterday.

This year though, has been a tough one.

This year I have a few more grey hairs, creaky joints and wrinkles. This year I’ve been married to my spouse for 16 years. This year I have a teenage child! This year I was forced to learn new parenting skills when my old ones didn’t cut it. This year I learned about mortgage refinancing. This year, I really struggled with not having my dad in my life. This year I’ve been stretched professionally and creatively. This year, the world felt like too much most of the time and I wasn’t sure how to explain or translate all of that to my kids.

This year, if I’m being honest, it’s been hard to sense the presence of God at all.

It’s as if I’ve been surrounded by layers of clouds and fog, with no clear sense of direction or what’s ahead of me.

Some days I feel vulnerable and exposed. Simply rising and living and working feels risky — what if all this work is not worthwhile and my life doesn’t amount to anything?

Other days I’m tired and hopeless. Or I’m angry at everyone. In these moments I’ve learned to practice grace and patience with myself — and so has my poor family — creating enough space to catch my breath.

But some days living my life feels like a holy privilege, and I catch glimpses of God, hints of the divine, through the clouds that surround me. And it’s enough.

I am sustained right now by glimpses.

I catch a glimpse of God in my son’s passion for creation when, even after running around on the soccer field for 90 minutes, he spends even more time and energy picking up trash and water bottles left behind by spectators.

I catch a glimpse of God in the strength and grace of my friend whose three-year-old son is battling cancer.

I catch a glimpse of God in the words of Gloria Anzaldúa when she says,

“I write to record what others erase when I speak, to rewrite the stories others have miswritten about me, about you. To become more intimate with myself and with you. To discover myself, preserve myself, to make myself … To dispel the myth that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy.”

I catch a glimpse of God on a chilly morning run, when suddenly after weeks of barely making it home, I’m actually able to kick my pace up a notch for the last mile.

I catch a glimpse of God in remembering and honoring both of my grandmothers today on Día de los Muertos — their strength, their generosity and their legacies of love anchor me in what is true.

I catch a glimpse of God in the privilege of living life on this earth for 42 years and the ability to recognize my life won’t always look like it does today.

These days, I get life from the song “There is more love somewhere,” number 109 in Sing the Journey. It speaks to me with its tenacity and perseverance in pursuit of love/divinity/ God:

There is more love somewhere

There is more love somewhere

I’m gonna keep on til I find it

There is more love somewhere