I was driving home from PA yesterday, where I spent the day with a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer after surviving two bouts of the endometrial variety. Her partner, a sweetheart, has a congenital heart defect that has caused repeated heart failure and strokes. The two women have said their goodbyes on more than one occasion. I suspect that they might have lots of reasons to shake their fists at whatever form of the Divine appeals to them but instead they value life and one another in ways that are inspiring. But I digress …

… driving home from PA, I passed a giant billboard on 276 that shouted, “When You Die You WILL Meet God!” Not fearing death, I was driving far too fast to notice who sponsored the message that intruded on my peaceful musings. At first I was annoyed that people who apparently have both disposable income and a skewed sense of religious zeal chose to exercise their First Amendment right using such intrusive methods. But the more that I thought about their message the more I started to pity their very limited understanding of the human relationship with the Divine.

I find it rather sad that anyone would believe that one must die before meeting God. In my opinion, that’s a little late in the game. Most religions have some conception of a Divine/human link: humanity is created in the image of the Divine; humans contain a Divine spark; humans can access the Divine through prayer, meditation or other methods; humanity is one with the Divine; humans came from Divinity and will return to it; and some go so far as to posit that humans are Gods, whether or not they know it. Even people who label themselves atheists often experience a profound sense of awe while hiking through the Grand Canyon or walking on a glacier. In none of these scenarios must one wait until death to experience the Divine.

So, the next time that you’re tooling down the highway, I’d like you to think about the many ways that you interact with the Divine, however you conceive of it, on a daily basis. If you wait until death to meet God then you’ve missed out on life.