My walk is more a hobble of late. I’m quite accomplished at the crummy. With practiced ease I blithely bypass my sunrise devotions with barely a “good morning” to the Lover of my soul, who sits attentively on the bench as I limp past. And sometimes I wonder if I enjoy being afraid. Ungracious thoughts alight my mind’s wiring like a pesky murder of crows. Can you see the lines of my face bend beneath the gathering load? Little wonder I see no angels.
Yet I know those who have…seen angels, I mean…several times, in fact. And another dear one who gave up her ghost beneath the violent caresses of jade waves at the age of 17…not knowing how to swim…dragged inexorably seaward by the undertow…out toward darkened depths…where monsters waited…but then suddenly awoke to electric Elysian Fields of light…and to relatives long lost and laughing. And I know one more soul who often feels the atmosphere bend in around her…the embrace of mysterium tremendum…like gravity itself grips and engulfs her like a Lover invisible—and she’s visited by Inviolable Himself.
Such drama! Angelic appearances and back from the dead! Imagine to see and sense the Presence of Him we’ve always longed for! And me? Oh, dear reader, I’m afraid to tell you…Are you sure you want to know?
I’m not hearing from God. I can’t even hear His Voice.
Sometimes it seems everyone feasts on meat and deeper draughts of His table but me. I scrounge the dog-hair-strewn floor for crumbs from a meal I can hear but the faintest rumor…let alone stretch and scramble to peer over the edge to the tabletop.
Yet as dull of heart and hearing as can be, I’m nevertheless not wholly without my visitations. Such was my unexpected meeting this past Saturday, when I stood above my beets and kale, hose in hand—as ripe and ready and unsuspecting as Mary before the Annunciation. The buzz of wings and blur of body shook me from my morning malaise as the humming-angel whizzed by the gleaming—almost gossamer—stream in my hand. Wouldn’t it be lovely, I yearned, if she would come play in the spray?
Unaccustomed to whispered prayers being suddenly whispered back, I stood transfixed by the minute resplendent fairy creature alighting only feet away. No longer bent on her wearying circuit of petals…the endless meager meal…the life lived out in sips…she regarded the glinting fan of water like a friend, known to her from the nest. As droplets fell just short to splatter before her feet, my spirit is wooed and stirred….I obediently raise the hose…like I raise my hands Sunday morning…witnessing a holy shower.
Ah, dear reader, can I hold your hand and guide you to the moment of feathery praise? of her diminutive wings open in acceptance? of beaded pinions collecting fallen diamonds? then in staccato flashes flutter them away? And suddenly I am the prophet, Ezekiel, in God’s throne room (see Ezek. 1)! Surely some dread Cherub looks just like this bird…four beaks pointed in opposite directions and the whir of abalone-shell wings with eyes wheeling and guarding God‘s holiness.
Then I receive the Revelation….
I want to be the bird! I don’t need Him to dazzle me with fireworks and mystic throes. I suddenly want to dazzle Him! I’m content with His crumbs. I just want to surprise Him who my soul adores (if such a wondrous sacrilege were possible) with my heart turned hummingbird! in a praise of spray…of cerulean splendor… cobalt mercies…and tears of peridot.
Ha! Now I’m coming back from the dead!
He doesn’t need to touch me, as long as He lets me touch Him. I need not the nectar…I’ll exchange crummy for crumb-y…and make a meal of my Master’s crumbs.
Oh Lord, I faint. Seek Your servant!