The sun smiled broadly and chased the clouds away, leaving the sky so blue it almost hurt my eyes to look at it. For a moment, all my worries faded away as I stood in silent gratitude for this fine day. But the buzzing of a frantic bee snapped me out of my peaceful reverie. There, against the sliding door, he tried desperately to find his way back to freedom.
“You don’t belong here, little fella,” I told him as I placed a glass over him and gently slipped a piece of cardboard under it, trapping him inside. I released him at the door, happy that he could once again pollinate the spring flowers and return home.
My thoughts turned to my life—upended by the pandemic—isolating so far away from home. “When will I be able to return home where I belong?” I asked out loud.
“You are where you belong,” God said gently as the wind passed through the trees. “You are home, here in my heart, where you have been for all of time.”
Tears sprang to my eyes. I wiped them with my sleeve and nodded, emotions crowding out my voice. I sat down at the table on the deck, under the ancient oak, under the warmth of the noonday sun, and gave thanks for the home I’ve always known and loved—God’s good heart.
Always seek God’s face.
~1 Chronicles 16:11
I drove the winding road up over the hills and down to the secluded beach just north of where the locals hang out. I unlaced my shoes and walked barefoot, the soft sand giving way between my toes. “Are you here, God?” I asked over the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore. A flock of low-flying pelicans drifted silently across the horizon.
“I’m here,” God replied.
“Good. I came here to be near you,” I whispered.
“You didn’t have to drive to the beach to find me,” He answered.
“I know. But I like looking for you here,” I said.
“And I like looking for you,” God said gently. “I seek you everywhere you go.”
“Then we are looking for each other,” I answered as a waved raced up and surrounded my ankles. I laughed and stepped back farther onto the shore. I sat down where the sand was dry and looked out over the ocean. I thought how amazing it is that God who created the heavens and the earth looks for me amid His immense creation.
We sat there together for awhile—me listening to the rhythm of the waves— and God listening to all that was in my heart.
Jesus came to seek.
The cool fingers of the morning fog reached in through my window and woke me up. I draped my robe across my shoulders and made my way into the kitchen, doing my best to shake the sleep from my eyes. A soft, tap, tap, tap, caught my attention. Who could be knocking at my door at such an early hour, I wondered.
I pushed open the door to the trees swaying in the wind; their leaves gently rustling on the breeze. Birds were already at the feeders, quietly eating their morning meal. I looked in both directions but saw no one. “That’s odd,” I said out loud and closed the door. “I could have sworn someone was there.” I made myself a cup of tea and settled down in my favorite chair, letting the cup warm my hands. Again, I heard a soft tap, tap, tap. I quickly rose and went to the door.
I opened the door and stepped out into the chill of the morning, looking for the visitor. “God? Is that you?” I asked.
“Yes. It’s me. I was knocking on your heart, not on your door,” He answered.
I rested my hands over my heart. “I feel you,” I replied. I looked around at the beauty shrouded in the cool breath of fog. “I see you, too.”
“Let’s spend the day together,” God suggested. I nodded, not wanting words to shatter the quiet peace that slowly made its way through me. I stood for a few more moments then turned and went back inside, back to my tea, back to the start of another fine day.
Teacher, where do you live? Come and see.
My back stiff from sitting and reading, I pulled on my boots to take a walk. I thought it would be a good time to stretch my aching muscles and to pray. “Jesus, what do you want from me?” I asked as I hiked toward the pond out beyond the meadow. “Do you want me to be more virtuous? To pray more?”
“I’m not asking for virtue or more prayers,” Jesus answered me from behind. I turned around and waited for Him to catch up with me. When He was by my side, I started walking again.
“What are you asking?”
“I’m asking you to be the fully realized person you came to the planet to be,” He explained. “
“What do I need to do to do that?”
“Live where I live,” Jesus answered.
“Where is that?”
“Come and see,” He said quietly, His eyes shining with a light so radiant that I had to close my own. I realized at that moment that He wasn’t talking about a physical place. He was inviting me to dwell in the Kingdom Of Heaven. He was inviting me to take on His Consciousness.
“I will,” I said, my eyes filling with tears from an emotion I couldn’t name.
Jesus stopped and stretched out His arms, much as He did on the cross, and then wrapped them around me so tightly that I didn’t know where He ended and I began. It felt so sweet and tender I didn’t want it to end. “Don’t let me go,” I begged.
“I’ll never let you go, Sparrow,” He whispered. Gently, He wiped the tears from my face. “I’m here with you, always.” We walked the rest of the way to the pond connected by our hearts and our love.
God is light.
~1 John 1:5
The day now done, I turned on the porch light to illuminate the darkness. The feral cats would soon be wanting their dinner. I picked up their empty bowls and took them into the kitchen. When I returned with them full of kibble, a large moth bobbed around the light. I sat down the bowls and watched the delicate creature beat its wings against the globe as if trying to break through the glass to get to the bulb.
“I know that desire,” I said to the moth. “That wanting to get as close as you can. That’s how I feel about God.” The moth paid no attention to me and continued its dance around the light. I went inside and turned off the light, knowing that the moth would lose interest and fly away.
“Please, don’t you ever turn off your light, God,” I prayed.
“Don’t worry, Sparrow,” God answered. “My light will never go out, I promise.”
“I’ll always be a moth to your flame,” I whispered and began readying myself for the night ahead as God kept His steady light burning within my heart.
God is my refuge and fortress.
Branches broke off from the oak tree as another storm blew in from the North. I heard them hitting the roof of the cottage as the windows protested against the force of the wind. I drew my shawl around my shoulders and stood at the window, watching sticks and leaves fly about the yard. I spied the feral cats taking refuge under the hedgerow, their little bodies turned away from the gale. Not a single bird was at the feeders that swung like pendulums from their poles.
“The animals are riding out the storm in protected places,” God said to me. “They know to be patient, trusting that this storm will pass, just as all storms eventually do.” A gust rushed through the old oak in the yard. God pointed to it as its branches moved wildly in the wind. “Its roots grew strong from storms like these,” God said.
I thought of the storms I’d experienced in my life, each one making me stronger by taking me deeper into my only refuge, the Heart of God. A flock of birds braved the wind and fought their way across the sky. I watched them as they struggled forward, determined to get to where they were going.
“With you as our fortress, we will all make our way through the storms,” I replied. I didn’t want to leave the window, but there was work to do, and so I turned away and got on with my day, taking with me God’s promise that storms don’t last forever.