Day 74 | Gabriele Hickman

The real reason why I went to Italy this summer was because I wanted to get close to God. All I had left of me was a the smallest seed of hope, and I wanted to plant it in the Vatican City. I thought that perhaps if I were to go to a land of religious history and art, I could walk among the the other pilgrims and find the God I’ve been looking for. And though I will say to the very end that God breathes through every brick in Venice, and though Malarie and I did experience a bit of heavenly déjà vu (ask us for a coffee sometime for the full story), I still left Italy with my hope-seed in hand, wondering if I would ever find a place to plant it.

Every year millions of people travel to a holy land in an attempt to get closer to God. Jerusalem is one of those lands.

I was so happy when my fellow pilgrims said,
    “Let’s go to the house of the Eternal!”
 We have made the journey, and now we are standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem.

A daily prayer of mine is asking God where he is. It goes a little bit like “God, where are you though really” because I know His answer will be something like “I’m right here” or “I’m everywhere” or “I live within you” in which I respond, “yes, yes, yes, but where are you though really.” In full disclosure, sometimes I even sing him the song “Where Are You Christmas?” that little Cindy Lou Who sang in How The Grinch Stole Christmas but I just change Christmas to Jesus: where are you Jesus? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away?

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

When I was in Italy, I walked through the Sistine Chapel, home of the Michelangelo painting “The Creation of Adam.” In this painting, Adam and God have outstretched arms. Some say that God is giving to Adam the “spark of life.” That image is super powerful to me, that although we are distanced, God has given us this spark of life, this spark of something that is beyond what we can wrap our heads around. And though we may feel this spark more in holy places, we carry this spark with us in our outstretched arms. So I think the answer to “God, where are you though really” isn’t the Vatican City or even Jerusalem. Though I believe He is potent in those places, I think it’s because in those places you find yourself stretching out your arms and lending God your very fingertips.

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