Recently in the very center of my living and moving life
(as opposed to the contemplative silence and journalling and singing and watching the show that I have conjured up and committed to every morning – the spiritual practice time during which you might expect these sorts of stories to unfold, not then.)
In the midst of going about the other regular, practical tasks, like meals alongside some of my favorite people, I ran smack into Glory.
It has decidedly not been of my doing.
But recently, twice, I have been brought practically to my knees with women alongside into utter sacredness.
I have witnessed, noticed, seen, been enveloped by Glory.
Why would I even try to record these because, and this bears repeating, I don’t write because I think I can do anything to make things happen? I can not.
Instead these examples were gifts to me, held out with no required response and I didn’t miss them.
First, “The Bird Assist.”
I suppose I had observed my own bird-whispering husband enough to know it was possible.
When we girls found a tiny black-capped chickadee fluttering against the ceiling corner at the beach house,
I could be crystal-clear that I wanted to help him fly outside again.
At first when we found him inside, he crashed into the window and I wondered momentarily,
“Will we next be grieving together over his dead slight body?”
Instead, in full wonder, I watched him step onto my extended index finger.
We had just come from yoga so I could give my writing camp friends clear brief directions.
They helped, blocking dead ends.
After I cleared the kitchen island on route to the open door with the wee one still perched, I sensed he was home free.
Did you hear me start whispering then, little fellow?
“Thank you for sheltering me through the long majestic star-studded night complete with buck braying and trampling under the outside deck that cradled me.”
I poured out my gratitude in tiny nearly-silent words, gladly rejoicing that he would live and soon spring free.
Did I actually step down and walk out onto the deck while he remained on my finger?
I must have because I found myself outside when he lifted off.
Next I spontaneously raised my arms across my chest as he flew away.
I held myself tightly, exploding in relief, and cried quietly.
Earlier my bigness would have surely scared him.
Now though I could exclaim, at least here in my heart, “I have seen Glory. She lives.”
A Second Example
I think the masters would call this Presence.
Not when I try to do something or another but when I notice, wide-eyed and act in sync.
My girl Carolina had agreed to go to St. Michael’s and All Angels our first morning together in Portland.
We had arrived with a very few seconds to spare.
Since we had been to this church together once before we could beeline for the bathroom then giggle as we rushed to a pew steps ahead of the procession.
We had already agreed to sit in the back and leave early.
Moments of quiet glee – Glory if you will – began when my friend, the rector named Christopher, appeared through an open door in front.
While she wore her collar denoting that she was a priest in this place, she also wore a simple gray not black shirt cloth, rather than long white vestments like the others.
She walked over to us.
Standing there with her pearly white teeth and giant smile, her gorgeous wavy hair and big open heart, I watched while she introduced herself to my adult child by name.
“Carolina, I was hoping you’d be here. I’m Chris. I saw your Mom’s post saying she’d be in Portland and I thought you might come. I am leaving now to take my son Jack to grandparent camp and then I’ll be ending my sabbatical at Machu Picchu. I wanted to meet you first. I’m so glad you are here.”
I ask you, “Who comes into their work place during sabbatical?!!”…..but I digress.
I simply watched my lovely daughter meet her priest.
Chris moved away from us, said adios to her congregation and disappeared.
I had stilled, in the moment, and watched.
Next I blubbered through the well-known hymn with Carolina’s arm tight around me.
Oh that she could witness my prayer of such utter gratitude after briefly touching Glory.
Please, please give me more of these moments.
I can not create them, I know.
Still, I can certainly ask, beg for more.
*More about this word, Glory:
Synonyms for noun Glory as per thesaurus: magnificence, beauty, splendor, resplendence, grandeur, illustriousness, immortality, majesty, greatness, opulence, elegance, eminence
Synonyms for verb Glory as “to take great pleasure in”: revel in, rejoice in, delight in, relish, savor, bask in, get a kick out of, get a thrill out of, exult in