The God of Small Things: Reflections on experiencing the Divine Presence in the interpersonal

As part of my rabbinic training, I completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education several years ago. One of our assignments was something called “Theologial Dynamics,” in which we were invited to explore our own theology in any way we chose. I’m not sure why it occurred to me to do this, but as I was thinking about what I wanted to do, I decided to do a little doodling in a digital drawing app on my tablet. I fiddled with the drawing and painting tools, starting with an image that captured my lack of certainty on how to proceed and writing what was in my heart. And somehow, the process began to unfold on its own. Vignettes from my visits with clients came to mind, and I sketched them using my fingertips. Add block

The images below are what I created for that assignment, based on real interactions I had with older adults during my unit of elder care CPE. Names have been changed to protect their privacy. I am grateful for the opportunities I had to learn from them, and for this assignment that challenged me to express how I understand and perceive God or the divine presence in the world. It also allowed me to rediscover and explore avenues of creativity. Although the sketches are rough, it feels true to the organic nature of the process of creating and working through a theology that is dynamic and changing. I find that there is a richness conveyed by the combination of image and text that is greater than the sum of its parts. In the years since, I have been inspired to explore this art form through the work of comics/comix creators and children’s book illustrators. Although these media have often been seen as juvenile or illegitimate, I find in them great beauty and depth that is unique to these art forms.