When was the Last Time You Saw God?

Dear Reader:

I am so glad I decided to go back and re-read Louise Penny’s detective series…because I realize now I was reading the books so quickly the first time around…in my eagerness to discover “who dunnit” that I missed many subtle, poignant and powerful spiritual messages held within the pages…far more important than the capture of the culprit.

I don’t want to give anything away…but there is a beautiful spiritual side line story that becomes the benchmark of courage and hope for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache…a personal story that he carries with him, as a shield,  through a series of political corruptions that explode around him…dragging him down into a dark abyss of betrayal by close friends, jealousy, and power run amuck.

In book two…the first hint that Chief Inspector Gamache did something morally courageous comes to light…but we only get hints of what is to come. He finds himself in a situation where his moral compass must decide whether to overlook injustice at its worst and cover up his knowledge of mis-doings from his own police force and close friends or expose it to the public at large.

Before the situation explodes Gamache finds himself in an isolated fishing village finishing up an earlier case. In this rocky barren plot of land Gamache finds beauty in the lichen on the rocks and almost invisible purple flowers. He doesn’t find God there…but in a diner.

He gathers his courage to tell a Three Pines resident this most personal story:

The friend immediately asks Gamache back…”What was God eating?” 

“Lemon meringue pie” Gamache replies with a twinkle in his eyes.

“He was dressed like a fisherman…but He looked across the room at me with such tenderness, such love, I was staggered.”

The “fisherman” then finished his pie and turned to the wall…rubbing something on it and then He “turned back to me with the most radiant smile I’ve ever seen. I was filled with joy.”

Before the fisherman left he looked back at Gamache, one last time, with a warm and comforting smile…as if to say he understood and it would be alright.

As soon as he left Gamache rushed over and wrote the four simple lines in his notebook that the fisherman had written on the wall. He knew then, immediately what his soul had been trying to tell him…that he had to do what was morally right…and let the consequences fall where they may. Because he had everything…

The four lines were:

“Where there is love, there is courage

Where there is courage, there is peace

Where there is peace, there is God.

And when you have God, you have everything.”


Throughout the series…other characters see God…as a road worker carrying a sign or a homeless woman carrying a life-altering secret…God appears in the most mundane but extraordinary circumstances simultaneously.

There is no doubt in my mind…that my dolphin, was God revealed in one of His most beautiful creations that day back in 2008 (off the jetties at Edisto)  following my initial breast cancer diagnosis. And the lines (the mental impressions) I still remember from that foggy fall morning, the sighting of the dolphin jumping above me sitting on the jetties, are:

It’s going to be alright

Everything is just as it should be

You are a part of the universe

Go live your life


Now how about you? Have you ever experienced a moment, an incident so mundane, yet so powerfully memorable, where you knew or at least suspected that You met God…that you were on Holy ground…that our Creator was as real as the Velveteen Rabbit…because to be real is to be loved?

From little children on…aren’t we taught that God is love…that the words God and Love are synonyms. So if we reject the notion of God…aren’t we declaring that we don’t believe love exists either? I, for one, wouldn’t want to live in a world without love…without God.

I finally remembered a popular song from a few years back that addressed the topic of seeing God all around us…including everyday people….do you remember it? It was called “What if God was One of Us?” by Joan Osborne.

If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

*I love the Gregorian (Masters of Chant) version of this song

Gregorian – One of Us – YouTube


So until tomorrow…I never see a dolphin without remembering that sacred moment in my life almost ten years ago…and now I will never eat a piece of lemon meringue pie without thinking of God, also…and the fictional Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Anne texted me yesterday…and said that the stuffed monkey I gave Nala as a baby…is still her favorite toy. I replied back…that from the monkey’s point of view…the photo’s title should read:

“Love Hurts”








About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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7 Responses to When was the Last Time You Saw God?

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    This is so powerful. With all the devastation from natural causes lately, there have been so many times to see God in so many acts of love and kindness and yes, even in acts of heroism. I want to read this series by Penny as I’ve heard so much about these books. Maybe I’ll make that part of my new year’s commitment. Stay warm. I remember saying last year that we hardly knew there was a winter, not even enough to kill the bugs. Well, if the ticks, bugs,etc. have survived this year, they are certainly a hardy breed. Love these words, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Jo…thanks for your response…and I think this year we all need to pray the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow…it seems like winter won’t get over and we are just settling into the season unfortunately…let’s hope spring isn’t far behind…we will certainly all welcome it with open arms.


  2. Gin'g Edwards says:

    Such a powerful message. I am still reading Book One. With the holidays and being a little puny with ashtma issues and also tending to Fred who had surgery on his ear yesterday I am dragging a little behind. Hope to get it back to you soon.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      So sorry you haven’t been feeling well…and now tending to Fred with his surgery. No hurry with the book I know you have a lot of your mind right now. Let’s all pray for warmer and brighter days with so many people sick with one bug or another.


  3. bcparkison says:

    If we just look God is all around us. My encounter was with Chickadees after my sons death,but He really is in every detail of every day. We just need to “look”


    • Becky Dingle says:

      This sounds like a powerful story. Our prayers stay with you over this sad life altering incident in your life. And you are so true…God is found in “every detail of every day.”


  4. ambikasur says:


    This is where I felt GOD.. during one of our road trips..


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