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  • Writer's pictureKatie Noll

Playing Hide and Seek with God


The COVID-19 pandemic cut me off (as it did for so many others) from my spiritual well. No more church gatherings, no more silent weekend retreats, where I could connect with God, be around others in faith, walk in nature, and rejuvenate and recharge. At the flick of a switch, all was gone.


I felt alone, hanging on to a piece of driftwood after my boat had quite unexpectedly sunk. I gave up on even trying to find God for awhile. It just seemed too hard, and besides, my neighborhood is too noisy.


Several months ago, something changed. If God is in everything, can't I find him outside of nature, outside of quiet? Could God be in the roar of my neighbor's motorcycle? The barking of my dogs?


I decided to look for God in any situation. Walking my dogs down the street, I'm usually bombarded with noisy trucks rumbling by, the sound of deep bass or upbeat music booming from car stereos. One day, to my surprise, a car drove by blasting out "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees. I am truly staying alive, with all my faults, and all my graces, I am doing the best I can to survive. I smiled and my dogs and I began to sashay down the street, doing our best John Travolta impersonations. And I could feel God strutting his stuff right next to us. There he was, found him!


Or how about when my daughter, on a visit home, wanted to binge watch the reality TV show, "90 Day Fiancé?" I thought I was better than these folks who were being tricked into green card marriages, or foolishly believing what they wanted to hear. Surprise, surprise. Real love and longing abounded, in a reality show I sneered at. Gotcha, God.


A mundane trip to the supermarket? A young woman excitedly carrying a "Happy 30th birthday" to the self check out. A couple of smiling friends had what were clearly snacks for a fun Friday night together. A baby smiled at me as her worried mama counted coupons for diapers and formula. The young teenage bagger, so careful with my groceries, handing me eggs and saying solemnly, "You'll want to be careful with these." I had been buying and transporting eggs years before this boy had been born, but his care touched me. Found you, God.


A time when I thought God hid too well was taking my mother-in-law to a doctor's apartment. I sat in a bleak parking lot, on a grey day, confident I could find God if I looked hard enough. I couldn't. In the dingy apartment building across the way, I searched for a decoration or some sign of hope, optimism from the occupants within. Windows covered with an old sheet stared dismally back.


To this day I thought I had failed, but thinking about it now I realized God was there - in my mother-in-law, her worry that I had to take time out of work to bring her, in me, as I tried to make her as comfortable as possible, saying it was no problem, in the nurses who came out to help her inside the building, navigating her around an icy patch on the entry ramp.


I hope you'll join me and find God wherever you are able - your favorite music, a poem, or something even as mundane as taking the garbage out. It's fun, and what I discovered is God doesn't truly hide, or if he does, he's hiding in plain sight.





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