My friend Elizabeth tells about the time she was driving home when her twin 6-year-olds in the back seat pointed suddenly upward at a small plane writing “007” in the sky. “It’s GOD writing his phone number!” they exclaimed. “Let’s call the minute we get home!”
My friend Elizabeth tells about the time she was driving home when her twin 6-year-olds in the back seat pointed suddenly upward at a small plane writing “007” in the sky.
“It’s GOD writing his phone number!” they exclaimed. “Let’s call the minute we get home!”
I think of this story now at the solstice, that thing older than our human celebrations, and more planetary. We feel it as an exhalation almost, like the breathing-out of one deeply sleeping. Then comes the pause, electric, mystical. Then the breathing-in again.
“Watch!” it seems to say. “Listen!”
Last week I attended a concert on a day with a wind so strong it parted your hair for you. The Vienna Boys Choir sang in voices high and pure in Latin and German both, as their leader swooped and gestured. Some of the boys fidgeted minutely and, during notes held especially long, broke into yawns as wide as their shirt-fronts. But when they began their “selection from the American tradition” - “Schinkle bellz, Schinkle bellz, schinkle all dee vay... ” - they beamed at the crowd’s appreciation.
So on that day I listened.
On another day, I walked wearily homeward with a heavy mist sewing beads of moisture in my hair, and sensed a sudden stirring above me. In the branches of an old tree dozens of birds perched, most two by two. They looked like the paired jewelry I admired on an earring tree that once sat on my mother’s bureau. For the first time I saw birds as the trees’ jewelry and was briefly a child again myself, transported past all worry.
Because all year long we walk with worry. We knit our brows and clench our hands - even in sleep. It leaves its mark, as those who care for the body remind us. “Smooth the brow,” they tell us. “Relax the feet. Let the clenched hand fall open.” But most times the challenge proves beyond us.
Last night I rented The Last Temptation of Christ, a film that once raised great controversy for its presentation of a Jesus who is unsure, often unstable-seeming – sometimes even delusional.
In a scene well into the film, he trudges slowly through the desert sands toward Jerusalem with his ragged band of followers. He has stirred up trouble by now; he knows he is being watched.
Believing, fervently hoping that surely Jesus must intend to there reveal himself as the Messiah, Peter approaches him as they make their weary way:
“Master,” he begins hesitantly. “I’ve been talking with the others, and listening, and some of them wanted me to ask: Will there be angels to meet us? Or anyone at all besides who’s here?”
Jesus only looks at him silently, tenderly, then encircles him with an arm as they walk on.
Darkness fell as I wrote this piece. Just 30 minutes ago, I walked past the scene of a car crash, ambulances and fire trucks ringed around it.
Though I saw no serious injury, a young woman stood by her crumpled automobile, weeping and trembling. A firefighter standing before her held her face in his two hands as tender as a father, and talked to her softly.
We cannot know if God writes us notes in the sky or sings to us in the voices of children. He certainly seems to communicate with us through the actions of his creatures however and so we can at least believe this: It is never only us. On even our darkest day, there are angels come to meet us.
Write Terry at TerryMarotta@verizon.net or c/o Ravenscroft Press, P.O. Box 270 Winchester, MA 01890. Read more and leave a comment on her blog “Exit Only” at www.TerryMarotta.Wordpress.com.