God’s not in the mailbox

As it often does, the lunch time conversation turned to religion. We each talked about the different ways we were raised in our faiths, our pitfalls along the way, the different beliefs we’ve held over the years. I mentioned my disappointment over the fact that I couldn’t recall having one of those big faith moments that so many people have experienced. You know the ones – those moments when someone clearly hears God speaking, or sees Him in the everyday surroundings, or simply has a defining moment when His presence is undeniably felt. I said that maybe it’s a failure on my own part that I haven’t had one of those moments. Either way, it contributes to my struggle with religion.

I wanted to lighten the mood, so I relayed an experience I had just last night. I was reading. Mark was watching t.v. and opening mail. I hadn’t been minding my husband, but he caught my attention when I heard him say, “Oh that was freaky! This is freaking me out! Look at this!”

I looked up to find him holding a sheet of paper in front of me that looked like this:

“Just stare into His eyes,” Mark told me. “Stare at them for a few minutes and you’ll see them open!”

So I stared.

And I stared.

And I stared some more.

I could literally feel my heart sink. His eyes didn’t open for me. I was sure it was a sign of my failure to be strong in my faith.

“His eyes aren’t opening for me,” I sort of whined to Mark.

“Just keep looking. They’ll open.”

I stared more. I knew what this was. I’ve seen plenty of optical illusions in my time. I couldn’t make this one work.

“I can’t see it,” I said to Mark, feeling defeated. And then I Googled the image to see what my failure said about me.

I explained to my coworkers that I was relieved to see that according to Google, this illusion was unanimously seen as a scam. The picture comes to you by mail. When you see the eyes of Jesus open, you are amazed and filled with awe. And this will make you want to follow the enclosed instructions and send your prayer requests (and some moolah!) to the designated church, which only exists as a P.O. box. Some “pastor” is getting rich off this scam. But he’s getting nada from me because the miracle failed to materialize for me.

My coworkers wanted to see the image that had me so bothered, so after lunch, I passed on a link. Thus ensued the following instant message conversation:

I’d like to think God has a sense of humor. I sure hope so because this had me laughing harder today than I’ve laughed in … I don’t know … a long time! And I’ve really been feeling like I could use a laugh lately. My coworkers sensed my feelings of worry over a silly mailing and took it upon themselves to make me see the lighter side of it. And anyone who has coworkers like mine would surely feel blessed!

Have I learned anything from this experience? Yes. I can find God wherever I think I might find him. It doesn’t have to be where others tell me he should be found.

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21 thoughts on “God’s not in the mailbox

  1. I loved this …. I haven’t been in a church in years (crowds freak me out). I think He finds us often and, sometimes, I find Him.

    I’m sure He is with you when your children walk in the door and you feel your heart lurch with joy. I’m sure He is with you when you first saw Luci pie’s face … and when you see it daily. I’m sure He’s with you when you cook and care for your Mom and others dear to you. I’m sure He’s with you …

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  2. I only saw one of the eyes in the picture you posted…the left one. Someone could always go stake out the post office and wait to see who opens it….

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  3. Love this Terri. Wanna here something ironic? As I scrolled down to the Jesus photo. My husband was switching around channels on the TV and came upon The Life of Brian! Ha! (In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a Monty Python movie parody about Jesus).
    I’ve had my own issues with religion, but didn’t doubt the existance of a God. So, in my early 30′s I went on a search. I read everything I could get my hands on about early Christianity and about history during those times. I found what I needed for myself, and not what other people told me to believe. One of the things that sticks with me is that Christianity worships a man named Jesus, but that wasn’t even his name. Though I consider myself a Christian (but Christians don’t consider me one), I’m always open to learning more and growing in my spirituality. However, many of the answers I sought at that time, were found.
    I’m so glad that you have such wonderful girlfriends to laugh with you. I have one or two like that myself. What a blessing. BTW, your best friend has a really great name. ;-)

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  4. I have mixed feelings as well. I grew up not going to church, but when I married a Catholic and baptized our kids Catholic, I decided to convert and went to church pretty regularly. But since I’ve started my hotel job, I’m rarely off work on Sunday mornings, and when I am, usually the last thing I want to do is go to church. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, it’s just that I don’t feel it’s necessarily to have to be in a church to feel His presence and appreciate the blessings I have. But I wonder all the time, if HE feels like I should be. :/ (I didn’t even try to see if His eyes would open for me… I’m too scared. lol)
    Either way, it’s awesome that you were able to laugh so hard! I’m sure God has a pretty good sense of humor. :)

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  5. I have wonky eyes and never see that sort of thing.

    My God has a great sense of humour. If he didn’t there would be lots of smoking pairs of shoes to show where lightning bolts had been used on people who ran scams in his name!

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  6. Have I learned anything from this experience? Yes. I can find God wherever I think I might find him. It doesn’t have to be where others tell me he should be found.

    You see the intent of the picture has been successful with you. It is your eyes that are open. Open to the Light.

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  7. I’ve never been good at those find the hidden picture/message thing. I never did get those 3d images (look hard and you can see a picture of the shuttle). I do think your co-workers are certifiable. Belinda’s observation had me laughing as well.

    I definitely think God has a sense of humor. Warped sometimes, but funny nonetheless. I have a similar outlook that you and a few others have – God is where you find him.

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  8. I could see the left eye open and frankly, it kind of gave me the creeps — like one of those staring-eye dolls! Be glad you don’t fall for such obvious attempts to part you with your money. Be glad for good friends, too! I’m sorry, but you’re right — God doesn’t reside in the mailbox, snail or online!!

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  9. Very interesting. Yeah, God is everywhere and wherever you want to look for him. BTW, it might help if you stare at his forehead, not his eyes. The “opening” is seeing his pupils within the eye.

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  10. His eyes opened for me, but why didn’t I get a rug in the mail? He likes you better!

    And what is up with those nuns that make school girls hit themselves with a ruler and then hit themselves harder?! I think it was done so you would have your AHA moment all these years later!

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  11. I got one of those letters too. I was disconcerted when I read all the junk on the outside of the envelope, but, I guess because I was raised in a Christian home, I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. I opened it and started reading it and felt like it was suspiciously like a chain letter (It says something about passing it on to another family.) I tore it up and threw it away, then and there.

    That picture is called a prayer rug, though I have never seen a paper rug before.

    His eyes didn’t really open for me, though I could sort of see the elements of the drawing that were probably supposed to make that happen. I’ve never been able to see those 3-d optical illusion pictures either. I assume it’s because I have an astigmatism.

    Glad you got a good laugh out of the whole thing and I agree with your conclusion; God is everywere and anywhere. He will meet you where you are.

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  12. Man, I thought I got the special envelope, but I see you got one, too! This would be the FIFTH one of these I’ve gotten. Do you think someone is trying to tell me something?

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  13. OK. I have absolute proof that it doesn’t mean a thing. I saw the eyes open immediately (but I see all those magic picture things, too.) It seems to me that if you depend on optical illusions for faith, it isn’t much of a faith. Don’t mean to be so serious. I really enjoyed this post and I’m glad you had fun with it.

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  14. That picture is kinda creepy. I did see his eyes on the picture here, but I’ve gotten those things a couple of times, and never could when I’d try it in real life. Anyway, they always went in the trash.

    I have mixed feelings on religion as well. I have a somewhat cynical view of humanity as a whole, and don’t really have much of an interest in attending church. I believe in God, and I have had instances where I’ve said to myself, “Wow… this is proof that He exists,” but I’m not at all a fan of organized religion. I’ve written blog posts before on the subject, but never ended up posting them.

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