It’s mid-afternoon and I stand in the middle of the grassy yard, eyes transfixed on the movement of light dancing all around me on the ground. The maple branches are caught in a lyrical dance that fools and I cannot stop watching this masterpiece before me.
My daughter runs past, asking, “What are you doing, Mommy?” By this time, I’ve pulled out my phone to try to capture this magic. It’s hard to explain that it’s not so much the shadows and light that I’m taking pictures of, but the feeling in which I’m enveloped.
This late summer trickery takes me to another backyard, another time period, and another mother. It calls me in to reflect on time now lost and people now passed. The dancing light lures me in like a cosy bed on a cool day. It’s familiar, comfortable, mystical and it feels like time has stopped.
My daughter stops and asks me again, “What are you doing, Mommy?” She peers at the screen on my phone and positions her feet and legs in the frame to capture herself. “Look at me!” she exclaims. Two and a half and full of life and joy and expectancy.
The light draws me in and she pulls me out – a lifeline in the grief that has poured another wave over my head since returning to my hometown. She leans over and presses the button to take a picture on my phone over and over again, except it’s still in video mode and the result is a small collection of millisecond videos. She insists on playing each one. She laughs and skips off to play with her big sister.
Why am I capturing light when the picture of beauty is in these two beings who grew in my womb? Why am I so distracted? Why am I entranced by the movement dancing from tree to grass to bush to shrub? Its ethereal nature draws me in like the intimacy of the Holy Spirit nurturing my soul. It’s like a gift from God, communicating His very presence with me.
Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”
In this holy space, time stands still. God’s presence is loud but gentle, His voice firm but loving. He picks up a little piece of my heart that had broken off and makes it whole, along with the rest of me.
I often find that the Lord speaks to me when I’m out in nature. How has God been meeting with you lately?