Last week I attended an early morning contemplative service with hypnotic Taize-style chants. Just as mesmerizing, however, was the rainbow of reflected light emanating through the stained glass windows. As the sun rose, its rays painted an increasingly vivid palette of Monet-esque colors across its canvas of plastered walls.
I feel like those walls. I see reflections of the divine scattered across my life. My partner’s smile. Our cat “making biscuits” on my lap. My feet spontaneously tapping to the rhythm of a catchy new tune. A walk on the ridge near our house where I catch sight of a darting jackrabbit. I see these reflections of the divine, but I can’t see the Source of those reflections.
What is that Source? A being? A presence? An energy? An evolutionary process? I can’t see through the window to know.
For many, of course, these questions are irrelevant. They savor the reflections with little thought given to their Source. While I honor and appreciate that straightforward approach to living, I’ve yearned for intimacy with that Source Itself. I’ve craved more. I’ve longed for more felt connection, more clarity about who/what the divine is, more of a deep sense of knowing, and, yes, more mountaintop ecstasy.
Instead what I experience are these reflections, disparate rays catching my attention, if only I am paying attention. And I’m wondering if that might be what’s needed after all. Much like a committed human relationship, maybe it’s not about grasping for that honeymoon or first kiss experience. Maybe it’s about paying attention to and savoring the “blessed normalcy” of life together. Yes, there are peaks and valleys, but most of the relationship is marked by ordinariness that only nourishes when noticed and treasured. And in that noticing and treasuring is the connection, the intimacy and the seeing.
So, I am going to try an experiment. When I notice “reflections”, I’m going to stay with them just a tad longer to appreciate them and let their sacred ordinariness be enough. I’m also going to honor my longing for more and notice if in that longing itself, I feel more connected to Source. The longing is sacred; it’s the addiction to its fulfillment feeling or looking a certain way that causes me such angst.
And, if and when I catch a glimpse of Source Itself, of the divine, of God, I’ll value that experience as no more sacred than moments spent admiring the violet-blossomed, amazingly fragrant orchid on the mantle above our fireplace. For in any moment of openness and awe, the seer and the Light and the reflections are all intimately one.