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Meet me in the middle

I find God in creativity. In community. In the journey that is forever. God isn’t only at the finish line, but in the strength and grit that urges me forward
Finding God in the grounded dance. (iStock)
Finding God in the grounded dance. (iStock)

God told me He wasn’t interested in furthering our relationship. Well, He didn’t say that explicitly, but He never responded. He ghosted me. When a boyfriend does that, it means they’re no longer interested, they’re done investing, it’s time to move on. Wouldn’t it be the same with God? I thought so, until I realized, maybe it means you have to try harder to make it work. If you really love your partner, or your sibling, or a parent, do you give up at the first sign of conflict? Walk away when it starts to get rough? No, you put in the effort to make the relationship better and lasting.

So getting no response from God simply means I have to seek Him out. I have to look for Him, because He doesn’t always come find me. Sometimes He does, and those days are lovely, when spirituality lands peacefully and magically on my shoulders. Sometimes, though, it feels like I have to climb the highest mountain, stumbling through bushes and scraping my knees, to finally land before Him parched and out of breath. And sometimes we meet in the middle, when I go looking for God, and find Him there waiting for me.

I find God in the journey. In the road that goes on forever, in the feet still walking though they ache. God isn’t only at the finish line. In the face that smiles through tears, in the strength and grit that urges me to keep pushing through difficulty, there I find God. When I see that I’m still here today despite the hardships, I know God is how I got there. He’s holding my hand, keeping my feet steady and my back standing tall. I know that last ounce of strength that keeps me from crying, that burst of energy that keeps me awake when I’m about to collapse, is God’s little gift, saying “I’m here with you, helping you get through this.” It’s God meeting me in the middle. 

I find God in creation and in rest, in the movement of the world and in the stillness of a break. I see God in art crafted by the human hand, in a moving song, a grounded dance, in words that pierce my skin and touch my soul. Human creation is a collaboration with God, a lesson learned from our Creator. It’s a hand outstretched towards Him that He clasped with a smile. And when I pause my productivity and take a moment to listen to the silence and feel the air, when all my troubles melt away in a moment of mindfulness, I feel God there too. Just as God did in Beresheit (creating the world) and with Shabbat, when I create, and when I pause, I step towards Him, and God meets me in the middle. 

I find God when I’m surrounded by community. I see Him in my connection to others, when people bond like puzzle pieces finding their place. I find God in Judaism, in countless people coming together as one towards a singular purpose. In our dancing on holidays, in our tears when mourning, when we come together as a people, I feel God’s arms around us all in a circle of connection. God guides us to each other, helping us connect and love, giving us the strength and desire to meet Him in the middle.

And when I’m standing alone without my Jewish peers, I find Him in the conversations I have with non-believers. As I explain my actions and thoughts, and feel the power of my convictions, the depth of my belief, I look around and see God. It’s God giving me a pat on the back, a deep hug, saying, “You are my child, and I will never leave you.” Even when I feel far away, God meets me in the middle. 

So maybe He never ghosted me at all. Maybe He only wanted me to look harder. To realize that love isn’t like the movies, handed to you on a silver platter with meet-cutes and cheesy cliches. The best love, love that never dies, is found when both parties reach towards each other. When you know that no matter how far the distance, you’ll work to cross the expanse. I don’t need a voice from heaven. I know that in happiness and sadness, in good times and bad, no matter how far away He seems to be, if I look for God, He will meet me in the middle. 

The above essay won first place in the Yedid Nefesh (powered by Yavneh) Summer 2022 prose contest (judged anonymously), all about bringing God back into the conversation. The prompt was: Where do you find God in your life?

For more information, see Yedid Nefesh (powered by Yavneh).

About the Author
First place winner of Yedid Nefesh (Powered by Yavneh)’s anonymously judged prose contest, Aviva Katz grew up in Los Angeles, California. She spent two years studying at Midreshet Torah v'Avodah in Jerusalem, Israel. She is now a Junior at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she is President of Chabad and a Yavneh Fellow, and studies Government and Theatre.
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