Walking in the frozen dawn, this morning, I was awed by the glaze of marmalade light on steel blue snow. Despite everything that is happening in the world, color and beauty still possess the morning.
I stopped to watch a large crow, black and shiny as obsidian. My breath caught when it lifted its wings. Just the fact of them, the bones, so like our arm bones and yet so different, and the feat of miraculous engineering that makes them work, astounded me. They lifted the bird into the still air, and its parting call seemed to fill the street. I let my heart follow it into the mysterious depths of the sky. It defined for me the interface between earth and heaven.
The cold bit into my knees. Coming back to earth I remembered that for many this sunrise was a different sort of wonder. It marked the end of a tortuous night. In a tent village, under a bridge, in a prison, or even in the antiseptic confines of an ICU, people would greet the lightening sky with surprise, and maybe no little dread. After lying down to die they would be surprised to need to get up again, and to go on. They would have survived the night.
God has given me this double vision, stirring my heart, so that my sorrow and my mindfulness of the needs of others go hand in hand with my wonder and my sense of awe. It is not a comfortable way to live. But how can we be entirely happy so long as anyone in the world suffers? And, on the other hand, how can we close ourselves off from the mind-boggling grandeur of the universe? God made us for reflection, thanksgiving and praise.
I can only make room for God’s direction in my soul. May I always be available to be your hands and heart in the world, O Holy Creator.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.