The girl sitting at the front of the bus had gotten sick all over the sidewalk just before boarding. I moved to a seat as far back as possible and slumped against the window. Just what I needed—someone to get sick on the bus and turn this long day into an even longer one.
I shouldn’t have been complaining. I was, after all, traveling in Ireland, seeing new sights, exploring new places. I should have been acknowledging how fortunate I was, should have been living into each moment with gusto and joy.
But after a week of walking in a foolishly chosen pair of turquoise strappy sandals, my feet and back ached. My plans to see the Cliffs of Moher had been thwarted by fog and a Galway Horse Race-induced bus delay. I’d been on this bus for six hours, staring at nothing but rain. Then I stared at rain out the window of the Limerick bus station for an hour and a half. And now I was in for another two hours on the bus to Killarney with a girl who might upchuck at any moment. After three months of travel I was homesick. I was lonely. I was tired.
I put on my headphones and leaned my head against the window, sulking as the bus headed southwest on N21. I closed my eyes and sighed.
Somewhere between Templeglantine and Knocknageshel, I opened my eyes and the world had changed. We had turned a corner around a hill, and the sun had turned a corner around a cloud. Shadows danced over bright green valleys dotted with pines and colorful houses. Mountains, grey and blue, seemed to encircle and envelop us in arms of safety. In the distance, you could sense the sea. Exactly at that moment, the music through my headphones turned to a bagpipe declaration so familiar: “Amazing Grace.” I chuckled, blinking back tears. Well played, God. And I gave thanks for the moment.
Our God is a God of moments, I’ve noticed. That one little sign that God is still with us, and God is still good, and God is still God. I’ve thought about moments like these often in the last few years. The papers pile up and the bookshelf sags a bit more and the hoops to jump through to finish this degree and to candidate and to find a job seem to stretch out endlessly.
But there’s always a moment. Amid the weariness and frustration and never-ending hoop-jumping, God bursts onto the scene in sunlight and birds nesting and friends smiling. And God says, “Look! See! See the beauty of the earth, the wonder of creation, the joy of the Father. Look beyond your present and rest in the care of the Creator. I am the God of mountains and dancing sunbeams and the sea, and I will bless you.”