Finding God

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops her friend who has found a strong connection to Source.What did you lose and what did you find? I always pose these questions. But maybe what I should be asking all the people who share their smiles and stories is, What DIDN’T you lose? What is it that survived throughout all your pain and suffering?

I went to see an old friend who grew up in the same neighborhood as I did, in a similar household to mine. Neither of us had been exposed to religion as children. Yet, as young girls, we each prayed on our own. And we watched our other friends get confirmed or bat mitzvah-ed. “As long as I can remember I have been on a path to know God better,” my friend told me. “I always had my own connection to God, to Source, to All There Is.”

When we left home for college, we lost track of each other for almost two decades. During that time she explored the spiritual world and grew a strong commitment to God. I’m so in awe of this. Other than my kids and my inherited dog, my connections hang on fragile threads.

My friend is now a psycho-spiritual counselor and interfaith/inter-spiritual minister. Originally trained as a social worker, she went into a seminary and ended up teaching ministers-in-training. From all spiritual paths and traditions. Even atheists. How did she come to love serving God this way, I wondered?
“You don’t just get struck with a spiritual practice. It’s a discipline,” she said. “Like working out, you have to do it every day, seven days a week, in order to maintain connection.”

I asked, “What changed your world?”
“Having my daughter. Having my grandson. Losing my sister. Being diagnosed with cancer, being a three-time breast cancer survivor,” she replied.
“You lost your health. And your sister. How do you reconcile this with God, with your faith?” I asked.
“I believe that nowhere in any sacred text are we promised by God (or any entity or spiritual master), no death, no suffering, no war or sickness…. What I believe we’re promised is that God is there to comfort us. When I cry out in anger, ‘God, how could you…?’ I will be comforted.”

We walked around her yard and she told me she felt connected to earth through the trees, birds, and rocks. There were rocks everywhere. In the garden, on the path leading to her little rock-studded house, and particular piles of rocks that she proudly pointed out. She said, “God is the energy or conscience that moves through all of us and everything.” In my own current state of still thawing out from years of feeling like frozen mud, I’m considering this.


What didn’t you lose? What survived your times of pain?

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3 thoughts on “Finding God

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I like that definition of God because it’s inclusive of all we experience in life. I was raised in a quasi-Protestant family that rarely attended church or said prayers except at holiday meals. We didn’t pray or ask God(dess) for comfort while my dad was dying. I seem to have learned gratitude from Nature and from bits and pieces of various spiritual traditions. I don’t ask for comfort, although it’s wonderful when it comes. I ask for understanding and meaning. Nature provides me with constant transcendent experiences–like the bluebird couple feeding their 5 nestlings out my windows today. My telescope is focused on the nesting box door and their comings and goings bring me a surprising sense of comfort and a little peak experience each time. I also love Buddhism and the training I’ve received from Buddhist teachers, but in the end Nature is my Goddess.


    I want so much to start meditating. But my life seems to be getting more and more hectic. A good reason right there to practice meditation. I don’t even have time for the continuous motion torso-exercising machine that’s supposed to rid me of backache. Except for an hour before bedtime, I hardly get a chance to read novels anymore. And these days I don’t pretend anymore to have the time for a boyfriend in my life. So, to stop everything and sit and meditate – not likely but still calling to me. yeah, I agree about Buddhism, Lynne. It’s the religion that makes most sense to me too. But right now, until something changes in my daily life, I’d be a miserable Buddhist.

  3. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, I love your courage to tackle any topic–even “finding God”!

    Like you, I was not raised in any particular faith, and after exploring several, I find that Buddhism makes the most sense to me. My weekly meditation group was a great source of comfort and patience when I was going through my husband’s deterioration and eventual death from Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago. Meditation is now a daily practice in my life.


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