A sight, a sound, an event turns us upside down in unexpected and commonplace moments. I call this the holy revealing itself.
Two brothers chase each other in their yard. The older brother is yelling, “I am going to get you.” The younger brother tries desperately to escape by climbing a tree. When he can’t reach the branch, the older brother stops and lifts the younger boy into the first fork of the tree. They then both begin yelling angrily again.
This stops my world. It is like love, quarrels, beauty and confusion becomes one event of joy. I soak up the happiness that wells up inside me. Something holy has just happened.
Things happen to us, ugly, ordinary and beautiful things. If we don’t reflect on their impact, they float away without ever having touched the deep, the profound in our interior life. All of us have an interior world of the spirit that exists only with the external events and relationships that bombard us daily. It is this world within that we explore, deepen, expand and cultivate when something sacred makes itself known.
How do we access that interior world when the language of the Sacred, of God has been so distorted in our time? The Holy enters into our space in three essential times, even if that language no longer freights something meaningful.
- When we are in Crisis. We sometimes fall into those situations where nothing goes right. We call on Rescue God, who will save us from disaster. God does not work this way. In the midst of crisis, the Holy does not solve our problems with a fix-it. Perhaps we have longed for a holy moment when someone close to us dies. What we have experienced is the overwhelming insight that we stand before the God who gives all things and takes away all things.
- When Abundance strikes us. Sometimes that which is sacred is revealed in the most ordinary ways, when we feel beauty or greatness. We see a lone tulip about to bloom, and our world opens up. The solitary tulip is taken out of the ordinary and becomes transparently glorious. The divine Yes has exploded inside us.
- When we are in Doubt. There are times when we are at such a low, the world is so bland that it seems nothing could penetrate. We doubt that there is anything more. The Holy is always present but we have to receive it.
We wonder, “What is the ground of faith that underlies our stories/understanding? Our core understanding is that life as it is given is good. The process by which our pretenses and illusions are shattered is in the truth of a life-giving word that we can live authentically. When this word enters our consciousness, we recognize life as a gift from God.