I was in Wales when I realized that God is everywhere.
Tintern Abbey was lathered in light. I tilted my head back to gaze at the monastery, the pillars, the blackened stone. I looked down at the fresh, soft grass speckled with daisies and bumble bees. I felt as if this place, this place of warm tranquility, was Heaven disguised as Earth. Every step was sacred. I felt Him beneath my feet and in my hands and in the mountains. My friends gathered in the middle of the meadow, whispering so that they did not crack the fragile quiet.
The day my sister told me that she didn’t have faith, something inside me crumbled. I suppose she didn’t remember that moment when we sat on that Pennsylvanian hill, counting fireflies. She squealed and wanted to capture each insect in Grandma Gayle’s glass jars, but I told her to admire them while they’re free. So we compared the fireflies with the cloud of stars above us, pulsating and blinking back at us. We splayed our bodies in the grass and giggled.
Didn’t you feel God then?
A few years later, she showed me the jagged scars on her wrist. She hauled out her anatomy textbook and paged through all the chapters regarding the nervous system. Her eyes were wide with realization. “There is no such thing as a soul,” she said. “The brain controls everything.”
I fall in love with people who worship math and blame God for the problems they can’t solve. But a calculator cannot tell you why we feel the night is ours to hold. It cannot tell you why we might decide to live for someone else.
Sometimes I feel as though I left God in Wales. When I walked off the plane, suitcase in hand, maybe I left Him behind.
Or, maybe I just have to keep looking everywhere.
Written/Photography by Hannah Butcher
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