Actually posted this in September of 2007, but it popped into my head, just now, so I thought I’d repost it with a little explanation.
Behind the post was this: Buster had just left for college. Elder Son had not yet boomeranged back, so my husband and I were facing our “empty nest.” While I wasn’t exactly worried about how we would reconnect after our focus being so kid-primary for all those years -we’re each other’s best friends, after all (which just shows you how little we get out!)- I had convinced my husband that we should take a scripture class at a local Catholic school.
Although we adapted very well to the nest-emptying, the classes were interesting and so my husband and I were happy to continue them. During one of the sessions, the instructor had urged us to find a quiet place, either in the school or the church, to pray. Always the renegade, when everyone else left to seek out the perfect spot, I remained in the now-empty classroom and sat by a window, looking out at the sky and praying. Came home and posted this.
TO SIT BY AN OPEN WINDOW…
To sit by an open window of a dark and quiet autumn night and hear in the sounds of distant traffic, the ebb and flow of the ocean (or the rushing water of a stream) is to displace oneself from all that is absolute, solid, identifiable and known, and to seek out the larger space that exists half in-reality and half in-perception. Half in heaven and half on earth.
Tonight I sit by a window in a local schoolroom in a landlocked town, and I can hear the sound of the ocean…no, the traffic…no, a stream, and to me it all seems like a world of oneness and infinite possibility.
Voices are voices. Voices are foghorns and gulls and music somewhere distant – beyond where I am.
All of this is God revealing himself in a duality of wonder. The wonder-illusion of space and time and the limitlessness of our imaginings. The wonder of everything being both real and not real, illusion and reality. I am here at this desk. I am there, on the beach. There is here. Only God can create this mystery and live within it.
All is one. Atoms are mountains; mountains are atoms – all creation quivers with the love and intention of the Creator.
So I sit by this window. Today I did mundane, real things. Today I heard the ocean. Today I sat in a room full of strangers, and while I did not see them “shining like the sun” ala Thomas Merton, I saw them with better-than-my-own eyes, with perhaps an infinitesimal bit of “God-eyes” – the tiniest sense of love, comprehension, recognition, compassion for everyone there – a mere millisecond of bright understanding, no more than the smallest speck of sand in the vast beach/ocean/desert that is God’s constant awareness, God’s constant, intensive intent. Just that one flash, that snapshot felt so enlarging. So then, how vast and huge and unfathomable is the reality of the love of the Creator?
We get gifts every day. This is my gift for today – the gift of wonder. Wonder at my own children. Wonder at the rich mystery of marriage. Wonder at the tiny sparks – the divine sparks – that exist in each of us, like sparks that leap from a campfire, from the Fire of the Creator, carried away on the breeze – to be reclaimed by him at the time of his choosing, when he “calls all things to himself.”
The wonder of our little sparks working so diligently, so trustingly to re-connect with his great unfathomable Flame. “O Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (St. Augustine).
There is a poem by Walt Whitman, “Sparkles from the Wheel,” – a knife sharpener plies his trade, a stone wheel turns against an edge of steel and sparkles fly.
The Word, the Logos, the Incarnation is the Rock. The Intention of the Creator hews the sharp edge.
All humanity, the sparkles.