“In the same way, let your light shine before others…”
“I want you to be a light for others,” God told me on our morning walk together.
“I thought I was already,” I said, rather defensively.
“Yes, but I want you to really shine now. Really burn.”
“What about burning?” I asked. I wasn’t thrilled with the word.
“The work of being a candle is that it has to burn in order to share its light,” God explained.
“You want me to burn?” I asked. I’m sure God could hear the concern in my voice.
“I want you to burn with my love for you. I want you to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. I want you to shine so brightly that other’s hearts will be illuminated.”
“So, it’s a metaphor, this fire you speak of,” I said, relieved.
“Of course it is Sparrow,” God smiled. ” I want you to fall even more in love with me. I want you to trust me even more than you do.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“I’ll help you,” He said gently as He rested His hand on my shoulder.
God wants you to do the work of burning for Him, too. To share your light with others, you’ve got to be on fire for God. It doesn’t happen on its own; you’ve got to strike the match. Ignite your reality with God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
“Let go,” God whispered to me as I padded outside in the early morning, my head still dreamy from sleep.
“Let go of what?” I asked. “I’m not holding anything.” I opened my hands to show Him that they were empty.
“Not your hands. Your heart and mind,” He explained. “Let go of your worries and woes. Let go of your thoughts and beliefs. Let go of the words you use to construct your reality. Be with me in your pure form.”
“My pure form?”
“Yes. Be with me in spirit. Join me for a few moments without the incessant chatter in your mind. Let go of it all,” He said. “Sit in your garden and let yourself be still. Turn your consciousness towards the life that goes on around you. Let yourself expand beyond the boundaries you’ve built in your mind.”
And so I sat in the garden, still and quiet, and listened. The songs of the birds, the buzzing of the bees, the wind rustling through the trees—I took it all in, doing my best to be fully present in spirit, not in thought. For a few moments, I felt God’s expansiveness; His unlimited, eternal grace. There, beyond my thoughts, beyond the words I use to define reality, I touched God with my spirit, the pure essence of who He created me to be. And for a few moments, I was home.
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
A baby bird somehow managed to find its way into my screened-in balcony. Exhausted from flailing against the netting, it sat on the railing with its mouth opened, gasping for air. When I got close to it, it spooked back into flight. I had no idea how I was going to free it; the balcony screen has only two small areas that I can open to the outside. As I walked toward the bird again, it shot past me and was gone. Thankful that it found its way out, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I padded into the kitchen to cook lunch. Standing at the counter chopping vegetables, a movement startled me. I looked up and there, on the window sill, was the bird! It hadn’t flown outside, but instead, it had flown into the cottage. It made a feeble attempt to fly away, but it was too weak. I took the flyswatter off of the hook on the wall and extended it to the bird. It hopped onto it but tumbled off when I turned towards the door. It landed on a whisk sticking out of the jar of cooking utensils by the stove. I slowly picked up the canister of utensils and walked it outside.
I sat the canister on the ground, but the bird still clung to the whisk. I took a few steps back and waited. It took a few moments, but finally, the bird found some strength and flew off. I thought about the bird as I cooked lunch—how it allowed me to help only after it had completely exhausted itself. Do I wait until I’m exhausted before I allow God to help me? Do I not trust Him enough to turn to Him first? I wondered.
I ate my lunch in the warmth of midday and asked God to help me turn to Him at the first sign of trouble. There’s no point in flailing about, exhausting myself, when God is right there ready and waiting. There’s no point in you doing that either.
“For the Son of Man came to seek…”
“Ah, there you are, Sparrow,” God called to me as He opened the garden gate. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“The tomatoes needed staking,” I said. “I came out early, before the heat. What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing, really. I just wanted to hang out with you today,” He answered.
“I want to hang out with you, too,” I said.
“Great! What shall we do today?” God asked.
“What do you want me to do?” I asked.
“Whatever makes your heart happy,” He said.
I thought for a few moments. “Let’s go swimming down at the Yuba River.”
“That’s a good idea. I’m already there with a lot of other people. It can be like a little party,” God said. I could hear a happiness in His voice.
I smiled, thinking of how God seeks out our company, wanting so very much to be involved in the day to day activities of our lives. “Let me finish with this tomato bush, and I’ll go get my swimsuit.”
God smiled. “Here, let me help you,” and together we tied up the sprawling branches.
I wonder, what are you doing with God today?
“God is spirit…”
“I’ve been wanting to ask you a question, God, but I don’t know if you’ll be offended,” I said as I climbed onto the porch swing.
“Try me,” God said.
I got settled in and gave the swing a gentle push to start it swaying. “I love you and I trust you, but I don’t know what you are. So that’s my question. What are you?”
“That’s a good question,” He answered. “And I’m not offended. I don’t have a body, even though people speak of me as if I do. I’ve been described as spirit and as love—the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I’m all of those things but more than those things. I am God.”
“Yes, I know you are God. I am not questioning that. I’m questioning what you are made of.” I explained.
“You don’t have the capacity to understand what I am,” God said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I made you that way. if you could fully understand me, you’d not appreciate the world I created for you. You’d not be pleased by the beauty of the sunset, or take delight in the sights and sounds of a thunderstorm. You’d not be able to fully enjoy the miracle of birth or appreciate the profundity of death. You’d not be happy here on earth if you were able to fully understand me. So instead, you understand me through what I’ve created for you,” God explained.
“Will we ever be able to understand you fully?” I asked.
“No. But when you leave your body and return home, you’ll experience my love more fully than you do now,” God said gently. “When that happens, you won’t question what I am. You’ll be happy to simply bath in my Light and in my Love.”
I allowed the swing to come to a stop and I closed my eyes. I sat there, still, in the quiet of the late afternoon and appreciated that God was there with me, even if I was not able to fully understand what God is.
“The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…”
~Song of Solomon 2:12
In the dark before dawn, I heard God singing, just outside my window. “That’s a lovely song,” I called to Him from my bed.
“Thank you. Why don’t you sing with me?” He asked. “Join your voice with mine.”
The thought of singing with God filled me with immense pleasure but also a bit of trepidation. Who was I to sing with the Almighty? “Are you sure, God?” I asked.
“Lift up your voice. You know the tune,” God urged.
He was right. I did know the tune, for I heard it in the beating of my heart. So I softly sang, harmonizing with God in the moments before the sun appeared.
“Keep singing, all the days of your life, Sparrow,” God said as He continued on His way. The birds—roused from their slumber—followed Him overhead, singing with Him.
I heard them off in the distance as I made my way to the kitchen. I hummed along as I made myself a cup of coffee.