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.
“Goodnight, God,” I said, my eyes heavy with the desire for sleep. “Thank you for another day. It was wonderful.” I put another log on the fire and hoped it would burn well into the night before allowing the cold to enter the room. “I’m really tired, so if you don’t mind, I’m going straight to sleep, without my usual prayers,” I mumbled the words as I started to drift off.
“I know what’s in your heart,” God said and gently pulled the blankets up around me. He turned off the light but left His light burning softly so that if I awoke from a dream, frightened and confused, I could see Him and be comforted.
“Thank you, God, for being there,” I said and fell fast asleep.
When I woke the next morning, He had already pushed the sun above the horizon and woken the songbirds for me. “Thank you, God,” I said, and got out of bed and stepped into another wonderful day of His creating.
Geese on the wing called to me this morning, urging me to get out of bed. The soft light spilling into my room was all the clock I needed—time to start my day. The feral cats were probably waiting at my kitchen door, noses pressed to the panes, wanting me to feed them. The geese circled the cottage, calling again and again. I threw back the blankets and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. “It’s cold this morning, God,” I said, a shiver running through me.
“It’s winter,” God said, and smiled at me.
I opened the curtains to see a dozen birds vying for position on the feeders. Off beyond the hedgerow, a rabbit hopped lazily in the early sun. “I’ll make us a fire,” I said, “right after I feed the kitties.”
“That would be lovely,” God replied.
“I’d like to spend some time with you this morning,” I said.
“I’d like that,” God said, and smiled again.
After I fed the cats, we sat by the fire and I thanked God for my many blessings and told Him how much I loved Him. I could barely hear the sound of my voice over the beating of His happy heart, its rhythm filling my own with peace.
~God will watch over your life.
All night the wind lashed at my little cottage. I laid awake in the small hours, listening to the walls groan with each gust. I knew sleep would not find me until the storm had spent its fury. Until then, I hoped the fire in the stove would keep the cold at bay. I watched the orange flames dance behind the glass across the room, grateful for their company.
“Are you afraid?” God asked as another gust shook the windows in their panes.
“Mostly feeling alone,” I replied honestly.
“I’ll keep you company,” He said and sat down in the wicker chair at the foot of my bed. The fire reflected off His face, filling the room with a heavenly glow.
“The storm will pass,” God said softly. “Go on and go to sleep. I’ll keep watch over you.”
I closed my eyes, my tired bones reaching out for the comfort of slumber, even as the wind howled. Sometime after dawn, I woke to the sound of silence outside, and to God’s sentinel heart beating at the foot of my bed. The night’s fire now ash and embers, but His love keeping me warm.