Friday, March 27, 2015

A Minor Miracle

       Two and a half weeks ago I experienced a minor miracle and I can’t stop thinking about it.  Perhaps ‘miracle’ is too strong, but at least a blessing.

      I’m staying alone in a house in Ormond Beach, Florida.  I’d flown into Daytona Beach Airport after a brief trip to D.C., I’d planned the trip to reach the airport at mid-day and take the bus which services the airport hourly.  The day was unseasonably cold and windy.  After waiting an hour and a half with no sign of a bus, I called the number on the bus schedule I carried, the response was, “Oh, we have no service to the airport today, the Bike Week traffic is too heavy to allow for that”.  Almost speechless, I finally said, “I have no car, what can I do?”  “Walk out to International Speedway Boulevard, I think you are near there, look for a bus stop, take any bus, it will go to the Transfer Plaza where you can then take the correct bus to your destination” was the response.

      A bit dazed, carrying a suitcase (without wheels) and fighting whatever illness had begun the night before, I headed down the winding airport roads, somewhat disoriented I asked the parking lot attendant for directions.  I estimate my walk to have been about a mile.  As I neared the Boulevard I saw to the left a large Harley-Davidson tent with dozens of bikes and bikers, as I got to a branching road that turned off to the right a mass of bikes, I estimate 25-30, passed in front of me as I waited; when it cleared I crossed.  As I stepped onto the sidewalk, a woman (accompanied by a man) asked, “Do you have a problem?  I can see you aren’t a biker chick”.  I briefly explained the bus problem and she said, “Where do you live?”  “About 20 miles North, off of A1A” I replied.  She said, “I have a car, I can drive you.”  First I said thank you but I’m almost to the Boulevard and should be able to get a bus.  She responded, “In this crazy traffic?  It will take till dark for you to make it back home, come on, I’ll drop my husband off at the place we’re staying and take you.  We’re here for the bike races, we come every year so I know the area.”  At that point I was beginning to feel light-headed and a bit feverish. 

      For the briefest few seconds I thought of all the warnings about ‘strangers’, but as she took my arm and led me to her car I felt no fear, only gratitude.  She did indeed drop off her husband, bring me a bottle of cold water and we headed out into the snarled traffic.  It took about an hour to reach my house, as I reached for my purse to offer her some gas money she said, “Don’t even think of it, you do something nice for someone else some day.”  In my muddled state of mind I didn’t even get her name or address.  She waited as I fumbled with keys, then, when I opened the door, drove off with a smile and wave.

      I pretty much collapsed in bed, had a raging fever through the night, got up only to change the wet bedclothes and sheets and did not get out of bed the following day.  When my daughter arrived the next morning she immediately took me to a walk-in clinic where I was diagnosed with pneumonia and extreme dehydration and sent to a hospital for the next four days.

      Why do I call that a miracle you may ask?  . . . How often do strangers pay any attention to those who pass by?  How did this kind-hearted person happen to be on that corner at that time?   And with her car just a few steps away? 
      An angel?  God or the Universe sending aid?  The Holy Spirit responding to a prayer?  Synchronicity?  

      Something bridged the gap between my need and the circumstances in which I found myself by motivating a stranger to offer an unusual kindness.  I choose to call it a miracle or a blessing and give thanks.  There are unseen dimensions to life beyond our understanding.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A God Image

        How to envision God? . . . Of course we cannot, but at times an image can help expand our understanding.   We participate in life, it is not of our making, it is given us . . . and here is this world and the vast universe; we know of it yet we can’t understand it . . . our souls whisper to us of God.

       In attempting to grasp for the unreachable, I suggest we imagine the Times’ Square New Years’ Eve ball:  a giant glittering multi-colored ball made up of thousands of small triangles of Waterford crystal glass.  A ball twelve feet in diameter, the entire thing, all surfaces, cannot be seen at one time.  As it turns light bounces off each surface, glittering like a giant jewel flashing multi-colored rays.  Each triangle is at a slightly different angle so either from the inside or from the outside, no single unit reflects exactly the same thing.  Even the glitter and flashes would be different depending upon the light and angle.

       The New Years’ ball with its 2,688-crystal triangles flash with 32,265 LED lights capable of producing a pallet of more than 16 million colors.  Sixteen Million colors?!  I can read the statistics but cannot make meaning of the numbers; I can only be awed by its magnificence.  Most of us cannot actually comprehend it for the complexity is beyond the average person’s ability to grasp, and this is a man-made object. 

       The complexity of God far exceeds that.  But consider it, for a moment, as an image of God. From the outside (our place in the world) we are awed by the magnificence of life’s wonder and being. With our limited perspective we peek out through one of those tiny windows (our religion) at the wonder as we pray and listen to explanations.  We imagine we ‘Understand God’ . . . yet that which is beyond our vision so far exceeds what we do see.   Whether from the outside or inside, whatever our position; as with the sphere, the total is not capable of being seen by anyone.   If our religion is open and progressive, it seeks to explore the many reports of the visions of mystics throughout the ages, for no two individuals see exactly the same thing.

       Unfortunately it is in the nature of people to argue, thinking we ‘know’ God better than someone else.  But God is so multi-faceted no one can truly know God.  When we seek the good, we know some bit of God as we need to know God.  We each look through different lenses and see different things.  It not a question of either/or, who is right and who is wrong, not ‘this or that’, but it is AND.   Each sees similar realities, or perhaps one is on the opposite side of the big ball and sees a very different reality but the whole is beyond encompassing by anyone; only is the ALL (the seen and that which is beyond seeing) the reality.