I walked the sidewalk down to the trail in the early morning while the sun was behind the trees and the dew was waiting to sparkle in its first rays. I began to pray in the beauty of it all and I heard that voice that I’ve come to recognize tell me in that mystical non-verbal way what I can only translate as, “Shhhhhh . . .”
I walked down to the bench that I think of as Mom’s. She often rested there in her wanderings and talked to passersby. I could see her from the back deck, just there down the hill, through the back yards and across a small field. A comforting way to verify her presence without taking away her precious freedom. Sometimes she would be gently swaying from the music in her iPod, transported in time.
I sat on the rough wood bench and tried to clear my mind, to listen beyond the constant yammering that goes on in my head. I had said prayers for Mom’s comfort and health and safety as she now navigates the mysterious trails of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Yesterday she flew in her first helicopter, life-flighted to a hospital after a small stroke.
My brother said she she was smiling as they loaded her in. I can see it in my mind. She said she raised up to see out and it was beautiful. Mom is always smiling. Though some might question her rationality, there is always a clear reason. You only have to ask. She will describe the scene in front of you as a beautiful day, though it looks average to you. By the time she finishes pointing out the reality right before your face in glowing terms you just might be able to see it along with her.
But I let go of all these noisy thoughts and louder feelings. As they faded into the background I began to hear the sounds of cricket’s coded messages to each other. The birds called across the fields in an apparent argument. As the first swords of sunlight caught the upper reaches, the excited wind began to whisper through the leaves and blades of grass.
Then I looked between my feet in the soft damp grass and saw a star – five sided, pale white with small pink flecks. It looked like the frame of a small umbrella, stalks dusted with white fluff. It was beautiful. Spherical drops of fat dew clung to the grass.
Suddenly, in a backwards sort of movie in my mind, I saw it all and it quietly overwhelmed me.
Sometime last week, the sun peeked over the horizon, casting beams 90 million miles to the distant waves of the Gulf of Mexico. The brackish water reacted as surely as the morning breeze around me and heated into mist as pure as a mountain stream. Impurities left behind, the fog soon rose to the heights, dragging its feet behind the quickly spinning earth below.
Forming into clouds that spun north from the equator over Texas and the Mississippi River, they gathered steam from ponds and puddles. It blew into a thunderstorm before it reached Williamson county and drenched a path across middle Tennessee, part of it falling on this very bench.
As I sheltered inside, the grass broke the raindrops’ fall and kept the earth from washing away in a muddy torrent. It then soaked up the moisture with minerals from the soil through a delicate system of pathways. As the rich concoction reached the blade’s tip, deep green from chlorophyll, it absorbed what I exhale and dispersed the oxygen I desperately need.
I took a deep breath.
The soft tendrils fed the rabbits and insects which fed the birds and predators and livestock and me. It then sent up a tiny sprout with five spokes filled with the beginnings of seeds which will guarantee the process continues. Which is good. Because if any single link in this complicated chain fails then I will not survive. But it won’t fail.
Be still and know that I am God . . . Psalms 46:10.
The unspoken message God seemed to be saying was,”Be at peace.” If He, without a single thought or plan or action from me, could make the air that I breathe out of a hydrogen inferno more than 90 million miles away, then what did He need from me? If lungs inhale automatically and oxygen crosses barriers into red blood cells that deliver their gift to the brain that is thinking the thought that I hold in my mind right this very second, what do I have to add beyond gratitude?
So many interlocking miracles occurred to get me to this moment in time. To write them all would take time beyond reach and knowledge beyond my abilities. But in that moment I got a glimpse beyond words.
And peace . . .