Following Grace

            “It is a light within which illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon our faces.  It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it.  It is Shekinah of the soul, the presence in the midst.  Here is the slumbering Christ stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And he is within us all.”  Thomas Kelly (Foster, Smith.(2005). Devotional Classics: A renovare’ resource for spiritual renewal.NewYork:Harpercollins Publisher. P. 173)

Intensities and darkness, inner turmoil and moments of calm, brief images flash like the black and white film reels from the 50’s. The isolation, the silence, and distance all play into the pictures of a lifetime but they moved to the forefront as I started to process my brother’s death. I remember flashes of begging God for peace, and yelling at God to be fair, all to no avail. God remained silent. His silence taunted me. I felt isolated like a gazelle sorted from the pack. I knew something of dealing with loss for when I was six my father died but no silence compared to the silence I felt. God’s silence was complete and profound. It was as complete as the total darkness in a deep cavern. At first I was paralyzed, angry and scared but eventually I began to listen.  I began to listen for truth.  I began to listen for God.

Where were the vibrations of truth? What did I love? What was my purpose in life? As I began to think about truth, I began to feel less like a gazelle sorted from the pack and more and more like a wounded gazelle in the cool, dark, safety of a cave. The silence turned from threat to care ever so slowly. I discovered love in the silence, a distinct knowing. Love came quietly and softly enticing me through art. The color, composition, and emotion painted wonder into my soul. I was drawn into the beauty and raptured by skill, artistry, and splendor ….and I felt loved.

I started to hear the trees whisper the same message as the bubbling streams, the message of love. This compelling voice embraced me in the warm water of a bubble bath in my own home and wrapped my tired feet with icy river water after a long hike in the mountains. I awakened to the not so gentle cawing of the black bird on the crisp morning air, and the soft, calm cooing of the morning dove, as each repeated the message of love.  This voice didn’t originate from the mountain top vista although I began to hear it from there. It did not originate from the trees, or the paintings at the art museum. It originated from somewhere deep inside of me.

Like the thumping of a subwoofer from a distance I heard the rhythm first… the thump, thump became the foundation of a song. I heard one beat, then two, and slowly I started to recognize the simple vibrations of a new song, the stirring of life, a small surge of joy from its ultimate source. Music began to slowly emulate love, drawing me away from the old into the new.  After the silence settled in my soul, I stopped yelling at God and started to listen, I needed to become the person I was born to be. I needed to somehow become the little girl in daddy’s arms, the little girl who was loved, the little girl full of wonder, dancing, spinning, and loving life; the girl who would wiggle and squirm when she was supposed to sit still. I needed to stop explaining and analyzing things and working so hard. I needed to stop….and hear the rhythm. I needed to wander and stumble close to the sound of love, and finally, I needed to allow myself to be loved.

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