I was at a conference during which we were asked to team up in pairs, and ask each other some of those Big Reflective Questions in life: when did you feel most alive? what is something in your life you are proud of? is there anyone you would want to apologize to? We didn’t know each other and here we were, giving up some of our most vulnerable memories. After the exercise, we were asked to reflect on the experience; one of my colleagues said “This was holy time”.
Holy Time. The person who said that was a spiritual care worker; I wanted to ask others what word they would use to describe that experience. Over lunch, I asked a people in other professions and they all said, though “holy” wasn’t part of their professional (or personal) vocabulary, it was “exactly the right word to describe it”. I agree with them; of course, I asked why.
I’m still reflecting… I can’t report word-for-word, but we shared a general sense that each of us was “right there” with the person telling the story. We weren’t distracted, even though we were in a noisy room. When we were Listener, it felt important, the stories “weighty” and precious; we were aware that these stories may never have been shared before. When we were Teller, we were Heard. We were truly present to one another; all that existed was the other person speaking and us listening. We saw, we heard, we held their soul – and they ours. Holy time.
It was as if time stood still; holy time becomes wholly Time.
My yoga instructor used to make our class holy time by reminding us “there is only here, only now”, and that in this time we had set apart we had “no where else to go, nothing else to do but to be here”. Holy means “set apart”. It is when we are fully present, focused, on where we are and what we’re doing. That what we are engaged in is important enough to set aside distraction. Holy time.
I experience such holy time when I focus on what, or who, is before me. Whether it is watching the birds, or listening to the lawnmower next door, or sitting on an amusement ride, I realize that I am not individual, but am Connected. That in this moment we breathe the same air, are occupying the same moment in time together, that the same Life-force runs in every living thing. It’s like I am turned inside-out – I am not just me, I am Part of It All, and It is Part of Me. We are Connected at a molecular level. In that moment of awareness, I am touched by a sense of the Divine Present with me. Holy, Awe-filled, God-filled time. It is a blessing beyond words.
It sometimes happens when I am intentionally meditating and mindful. Sometimes it takes me by surprise (like yesterday, when through the fine mist of rain the neon brightness of a male goldfinch in the deep green of freshly mown ‘grass’ jumped out at me)*. Holy Moment. God was Present.
May you have many holy moments during your summer-time. And may their blessing infuse you with Life in its Abundance, just like Jesus promised they would.
(*As I’m no photographer, thanks to gardenofaaron.com for a similar experience.)