"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."
~ Jeremiah 31:3, 25
Last night as I let my dogs out, I stood on my back patio and watched as the fog drifted below larger clouds. Every now and then I could catch a glimpse of Venus and a few stars. There was no sound. Different layers of darkness could be determined, but yet there was light.
I looked down, and could see my shadow. The lamp just inside the window, glowed dimly through the screen. The light was enough for me to clearly see my image outlined.
In my mind I asked Venus if she knew what was happening here on earth, and how things seem to have changed so much in just a short period of time? She was silent, but continued to shine. I realize that this was not the first time she had heard this from someone on earth.
I remember a few years ago, watching as the Space Station traveled across the sky, soaring high above and moving almost five miles per second. I watched as it crossed the horizon, and thought of astronauts who were looking down on us.
Funny how we always seem to be looking "elsewhere." I suppose it's because we understand that this life is temporary. Our spirit, no matter how settled we may be in our life, longs to be elsewhere.
Recently a man told me his wife's spirit was "making a deal with her body," on how long she would continue to live within, knowing that earth was not her home, and that heaven was waiting.
Staring at the sky last night, while by myself, I did not feel alone. Of course Venus didn't answer, but somewhere along the way, I realized my voice joined others, in looking up and asking God, "Are you seeing what's happening?"
I found myself being part of the entire human race, both present and past, who have looked up and asked the God who created me and all those who have come before and asking, "Are you there?"
It's times like these that I wish the disciples had shared of their experience, of laying under a sky like this with Jesus, and listening to Jesus share of what it was like when the stars, and Venus were created. Did he find himself sitting under a sky like the one I was experiencing? Did he look to the heavens and share with God what this whole experience felt like?
Did the disciples push him further and ask him, "Do you hear the Creator now? While we are struggling to understand what it is like for you to be the Messiah, walking among the Creation that you helped to create, and now looking up from the very place where you shaped mud and blew your breath into to give life, we are wondering, 'What is it that you are thinking?'"
Did Jesus turn over, and tell the disciples to, "Go to sleep?"
I continued to stand and look upward, hoping that I am asking God the right questions, so that I am not met with the words, "Go to bed, now, Todd."
Instead, I looked to the heavens and did not ask, "Why?"
I looked upward and asked, "Please, hear our prayers. For the answers we need. For the comfort of the widow, who has just lost her husband. For the child who suddenly has become an orphan, and for the stranger, who is now like me, looking upward to the sky and wondering if you are watching? We are being told not to be near one another, and I know that you understand what this is like. Even Your son sat in a garden, with much darkness, and asked for a cup to be passed from him. Did you see him, alone? Did you hear Him, like I am asking now?"
I turned, called the dogs to come in from the yard, and I once again looked to the heavens, thinking of my own family and friends. My coworkers at hospice who continue to care for the dying each day, and that while death is something we know awaits each of us, there are many who are not ready to face what lies ahead. My heart aches for those in my faith community who, for many, coming together to worship is the only time that they encounter a hug, the reminder that we can share the peace of Christ with one another, and that everything will "be okay." Life has been disrupted.
The door closed behind me, and I turned off the lamp. In the dark I know my way across the room.
Somewhere in the darkness, I was reminded that God will continue to lead us. Our spirit knows the way, and that we must not forget that God is still sustaining our journey. Guiding our steps, hearing our words, and reminding us to remain faithful.
I'm not sure what it is about this encounter that has remained with me this morning as I sit, drink my coffee and sit on that same patio that now is illumined by the morning light. Perhaps it's because we could all use a reminder about now that there are better days to come.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.