I’ve found myself with a lump in my throat so many times this week: the sun on the snow…the deep Crayola blue of the sky…this cold…the sun dogs…the moon dogs…One evening 6 deer were walking down the street towards me; I was so taken aback I turned off the car so they wouldn’t get spooked. They passed by slowly, looking in the windows and sniffing the tyres; their look reminded me of a group of young teens – curious and dismissive all at the same time. Then off they wandered in search of a place to sleep or food, with a “whatever” in their smooth gait. (I know there’s more than one viewpoint on deer in town, but I still had a moment of profound connection.)
A few minutes later, I was out of town, just as sunset happened. Words don’t do it justice. But I might describe it as a layered-jellied-salad – colours distinct but fusing, vibrantly other-worldly, topped off with jet black silouettes of trees and bins and pump jacks. I couldn’t drive, so I pulled over and sat gob-smacked by its intensity and beauty. I tried taking a picture…but you know how it is: holy moments just can’t be captured.
I’ve been reading the next section of Immortal Diamond by Fr. Richard Rohr this week and was reminded that the work of soul-tending is to come to know oneself as part of the whole, not separate from the land and the wildlife, nor separate from the holy which infuses it all. (What we could learn of the holy from a poem that begins “When God was a deer….”)
Soul-tending requires intentionality. But I wonder if that sometimes is simply allowing oneself to be so “taken up”, so connected, with a moment that the illusion of differentiation between “me” and “the moment” is erased? Being turned aside from the mundane to see the holy in the ordinary? (My spiritual tradition tell a story of Moses who was out just being a herder, when a bush catches his eye. He stops, turns aside and hears a voice: take off your shoes, for you stand on holy ground.) Does soul-tending happen when we allow ourselves to look beyond the blinkers of just-getting’-it-done?
There was a picture that caught my eye, that felt to me like a great illustration of this kind of holy moment. The light from above expands and the light from below expands, and where they meet is an elan, a point of light in the canvas (or in history) that is so vibrant with life, the point disappears. It’s so infused with the Holiness that it becomes a sacrifice; it’s no longer a separate entity, it’s disintegrated but in a way that makes it that makes it so much more.
How have you felt that moment of connection between the power of Life Within with the Power of Life that is beyond “you”? Has it felt like a moment of disintegration of separateness? How did you respond?