So I will tell another story.
In telling the story, I am giving up ownership of it. Also, I am freely confessing that I do not know exactly what this means, but it was lovely to experience.
It might mean something beautiful to you, so I am giving it away. You might say that I am releasing it back into the beautiful mystery of Love from which it came.
It makes me think of this, from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation this morning:
"Great science, which we once considered an “enemy” of religion,
is now helping us see that we’re standing in the middle of awesome Mystery, and
the only response before that Mystery is immense humility. Astrophysicists are
much more comfortable with darkness, emptiness, non-explainability (dark matter,
black holes), and living with hypotheses than most Christians I know. Who could
have imagined this?"
The Shape of God: Deepening the
Mystery of the Trinity
Last night I stood on the grass in the mystery of that quiet, inner place.
Above me the sky was a deep blue of evening and I could see the blurred, black silhouettes of swallows fluttering past. I could feel the cool grass against my bare feet.
My spirit expanded out into quiet wonder at the detailed, living beauty of this.
Standing in front of me was that One that I love and seeing Him caused my heart to swell up into love and joy. I opened my arms wide to set the joy free.
"Love!" I declared to Him with delight.
I went freely across the grass like a child and threw my arms around Him.
"Love, love love!" I declared joyfully, which is, admittedly, a childish short hand, but oh well. That is what I said.
He did not say anything, but I got wrapped up warmly in His embrace and I stayed there for a long time, simply being there, caught up in love and resting in it.
Then I sat down on the grass and ran my hand through it; it was cool in the evening and alive and growing, the way that grass does. It brought back memories of when I was a child. I lay down and put my cheek to the grass.
"Do You remember," I asked dreamily, "being on the grass of the front lawn in the evening with the other children and looking for four leaf clover?"
He did remember; He had been there. He remembers, with love, all the moments of our lives, even the small ones. He is like a parent that way, keeping a book of all our moments.
I remembered that there was a small brook that ran through the woods on the edge of the grassy space, so I sat up.
"Let's go down to the brook," I said happily, holding out my hand to Him.
He took my hand and we went running into the edge of the woods and carefully down the bank and into the water that ran over the smooth stones.
The stream reminded me of one I had played in as a girl and this reminded me of the friend that had played in it with me, and I thought of her with love, and the love became like a prayer for her that rose up out of my heart almost without any words at all.
This made me think of other friends and prayers for them also rose up, easily, from my heart as I went wading down the stream over the rocks.
We followed it down as it went tumbling over some boulders and then slowly between mossy banks and under trees and all the way until it came out at the edge of the cliffs and went running down them toward the ocean.
We came out there and the whole sky was visible from the top of the cliff. The beach stretched out pale below. A sickle moon has risen and hung over the ocean. The breakers of the ocean made long, white curves along the coast. Along the horizon a pale pink and gold lingered, but the sky was cobalt blue and dark at the zenith, full of stars.
Listen, He said, bending down to me. Can you hear it?
I listened and I could hear the sound of the waves falling again and again on the shore, and also the soft music of the brook has it tumbled down the cliff. We sat down there and watched the sky and the ocean for a long time.
Do you want to go down? He asked.
"We could go down," I mused, almost to myself, remembering this freedom. "We don't have to walk. We could simply be there."
And then I was there; I let myself be there. I felt the sand between my toes, I bent down and let the waves wash over my hand and then a large one came and swept me off balance and I sat down in the surf and looked at up Him in shock and then suddenly it was just funny and we were laughing.
I stood up and shook the water off my hands. It did not seem unpleasant to be wet. We went walking down the beach, passing by an outcrop of rugged black rock that stood up from the sand; I went clambering up this and then jumped down. I could see the sheen of the water as it washed between the rocks, sliding back into the ocean.
There were things washed up on the beach; I saw a small white stone and bent to pick it up. I held it in the palm of my hand and then bent to let the waves wash the sand off. It turned translucent under the water.
I stood and held it out to Him.
"Look," I said with wonder.
He bent over my hand and looked and then He took it and held it in His hand. I could see that He also thought it was lovely. He gave it back to me and then I wondered what to do with it.
I didn't have any pockets, so I couldn't keep it with me and I wanted my hands free. I thought it was best anyway, not to hold onto to things, but to let them come and then to let them go.
Turning I placed it on top of the rock outcropping. It glimmering white there against the darker stone. He came and put His arm around my shoulders and we stood leaning together.
"It will stay there, unless some raven or crow comes along wants something shiny for their nest," I said to Him.
They won't take it, He said.
Then we went on walking, looking at things and being there, being together. And then suddenly I was tired and wanted to be home and we were home.
I could see the front room in unusual detail and clarity. It was open to the grassy space with stone pillars, full of light from lamps hung on delicate iron chains fastened to the ceiling. Everything in there was warm with light and inviting and comfortable and well known to me. I could see through into the interior room, which also was full of light.
A tree, a weeping willow, grew at one side of the front room and the branches swung down like a veil and at the other side of the front room was the orchard.
I thought about going in, but it seemed so fresh and airy outside, in the quiet evening. I didn't want to go in yet.
I fell back onto the grassy space with delight and looked up at the dark and starry sky. He lay down beside me and pointed up at something, so I looked and looked, but all I saw were shifting alignments of stars, glimmers of moving light.
"Do You especially love the sky?" I asked Him.
I love everything I made, He said.
I thought about this. "Even the earthworms beneath the grass and the bright hidden colors inside the rock, hidden deep under?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
Even those, He agreed.
"Even the tiny particles that make up matter and that spin around each other, holding each other in place?" I asked.
My love is in every dimension of what I created, He answered.
I wrote this blog and then I saw two quotes from some one who passed away today.
I was not familiar with Dallas Willard's writing until today, but his way of explaining the love of God resonates very deeply with me:
“We must understand that God does not 'love' us without liking us - through gritted teeth - as 'Christian' love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core - which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word 'love'.”
-Dallas Willard, ― The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God
"Creation was an act of joy, delight, in the goodness of what was done. Do we believe this? For human beings, our most joyful moments are often moments of creation (a birth, art, building something, writing music, a job well done, etc.). Joy cuts through everything. Our moment of passage from this world will be one of joy.
"Jesus teaches us that within his presence, we begin to live in heaven now. "Those who keep my word will never experience death." There will be a continuity of life even when our bodies stop working. When we die, we might not realize it for a while. There will be a continuity of life now and forever."