Exterior/Interior Scenes: I’m walking in the rain down our country road with my daughter’s umbrella in hand. The thick, overly-large sweater, hat, and long pants I threw on after discarding summer shorts are welcomed warmth. The wind kicks up. The sun dodges clouds and lands on me. Our black cocker, Miss Molly, whom I’ve come to respect as an ace watchdog, and love as part of our family, amuses me with her escapades and devotion. She’s taken to darting ahead in what appears to be scouting missions, only to return to assure me, all is well. I stand under the junipers when the downfall begins. Raindrops speckle my pants. Molly sniffs, then positions herself at my feet, alert to the lowliest movements, as I watch earth and heaven connect.
The filtered sun flashes highlights onto humble ground. Iridescent gold flecks rest upon split pea yellow brush, which stand in equal number next to fallen kin, stark gray branches that have succumbed to the desert heat. Diamond-like beads glisten everywhere. Lightning launches, an arrow. I count: 1001, 1002 . . . nineteen miles away. Then it strikes me–an awareness that children probably have studied, but I at forty-two, am only discovering in the moments following the peal. I listen for the sound, as it rumbles past me into someone else’s ears, no doubt. Had someone counted to 1020, 1021? Had someone stopped at 1001? Were there other counters? In that revealing second, I open to the fact that sound travels, and we, those of us who hear, are mysteriously connected by it.
Interior Scenes: I stop in my tracks to ask God for a sign. Even though He’s given me His peace about this particularly large step of faith (a surety in itself), I want a tangible confirmation from Him. As soon as I ask, I repent of my lack; nonetheless, I add, “It would be helpful, Lord.”
It’s my day ‘off.’ It’s a cherished day afforded me by a husbandly love that understands my need for occasional solitude; a day when he takes our precious ever-inquisitive children out, so that I can read and write in undisturbed quietude. As I sit to finish the book that came by way of his hands, too, I read about the beginning of the universe: “. . . violent explosion . . . continues as the galaxies hurtle outward into unknown space. What our radio telescopes are picking up now are echoes of the sound of that primal explosion so long ago that it is scarcely expressible numerically.
As the echoes of the beginning linger, so too, all that we say moves outward in gradually diminishing but neverending sound waves.” (Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water, 1982)
I realize after reading those sentences that God has laid the sign before me, and more! He’s seen fit to answer my prayer immediately and open my mind more to sound waves just to increase my awe of Him. Joyful dives into mysteries, too deep to comprehend, befit answered prayers. We dive and we are refreshed in Him.
It’s to His glory when we peek into how our God, the Almighty One, whose being spans the universe, whose mind planned galaxies and whose utterances thrust substance forth in its purest form (faith) to bring everything into being meets us. That God, who is infinitely and indescribably more glorious than any natural handiwork we might bring forth, more unbelievably credible than the invisible physical phenomena we barely catch hold of (like sound waves) does something that appears simpler than creation, but astounds me more. He, who transcends time and space, hears me and allows me to tap into His faith to cover my pocketed childlike parodies.
Dateline: Right Now
Interior Scenes: I ask myself, if He left an open-ended spectrum of perfection to become mortal flesh–flesh that hung upon wood, which He called into existence, wood that pushed upward through His created earth into His sunshine, wood that bore nails (created ore), which first pierced His flesh and would not let go until He finished His purpose, and He, taken down by man, fashioned from dirt by His hands, and His limp form regarded as dead as the stained wood they pulled him from–then why, after humbling Himself in those ways, am I amazed when He speaks to me?
Perhaps it stems from the same awe I experienced in intuitively understanding sound waves. We know, intellectually, we are God’s children, that God loved us and sent His Son as prey for Satan to devour in our stead. We believe He appeared, undisclosed, to enact a cunning exchange on our behalf, knowing Satan could never sniff out such a love. We can know all these things and still not trust He hears our prayers! That onus is on us.
The next time truth flashes, listen. And in its passing, count the moments infinite, believing His voice won’t stop with us, but move onward, constantly onward, to where we know not; but still, pray. He wants us in His loop of awareness–one with His mind in the Father.
Perhaps, within that meeting place, in that time of right now, the connectedness we experience will be so beyond our everyday concept of reality, that all there’s left for us to do within that present Presence of Eternity is to give what is due to the One who loves and connects all of us. He longs for us to know Him well–with our whole soul.
To those of us who do hear, we shall find, somehow, we are changed forever; as changed as any tree, bearing the mark of a jagged arrow, a flash of light. Lightning strikes trees unawares. Trees stretch toward light, or die. They bend with the wind, or break. They bear fruit, and reproduce their kind. They know not how. Yet, it is enough. They are what God created, and He marks them as He wills. Rest in the growth we do not make happen. It’s happening right now.
This is a guest piece by Anne Stanton.
Anne Stanton has several well-traveled and annotated life maps, rolled up and stored away. Assuming a handful of map pins, stuck in a brief bio would end up looking like a garish plot of steppingstones, long covered in dust, she decided to let her writing speak for her, organically.
If you were to spends moments strolling through those labors of love, probably more than you’d care to know about her would surface; but their inner core—God and His ways with us—might stick better with the eternal present than mere facts like, Anne graduated in English Education a million years ago and then became a New Ager whom Jesus eventually snatched up for His own. (“Yay!” she said. Just quoting her.)
If today’s essay falls into your Goldilocks’ zone, consider subscribing to Anne’s newsletter for another ‘just right’ fit, coming soon to a screen near you. And leave a comment. Her blog is under construction, but she’ll be looking forward to chatting with you over some porridge soon.
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