I haven’t been writing much lately. Well, that’s not correct; I’ve been writing a lot, but it’s been assignments for some of my theology graduate courses. And those same classes have kept me really busy and then I got sick after Thanksgiving. I think my 4 year old granddaughter gave me her cold, but I could never be angry or upset about that. And I will certainly never regret that seeing her for 4 days gave me this virus. It’s inconvenient and unpleasant, but it’s a small price to pay. I’d do it all over again for that time with her and her siblings, and her parents, and our son and his wife. Some things are worth pain and suffering, and certainly worth being uncomfortable for a brief period of time.

So, today, as I’m starting to feel a tad better, I decided I would try to write something for my blog but realized that it might still be a little early. Sitting up for any length of time beyond a few minutes is still tough. So, instead of writing a lot, I’m going to share two things with you. One is a song (YouTube link, of course) as I like to do. The other is a quote from Thomas Merton who was a Trappist Monk and an amazing man. I quote him a lot, I’m finding lately. Here’s what he said:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . .

This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.” ― Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

If only we could see ourselves as we really are, as God sees us! This amazing moment of clarity, this epiphany, is something I have experienced a time or two in my life. It’s been perhaps a little more muted than his experience, but I have been touched by Grace in such a way that I just love everyone around me so much and I am filled with gratitude for having that moment. It is when I have felt the presence of God in a very real way.

Glimpses of Heaven, I call them. This song by Steven Curtis Chapman which follows is a similar sort of situation, I think. These experiences of awareness of God’s involvement in our lives and God’s immeasurable love for everything and everyone He created is profound. And it should move us to action. First we can ask, “What can I do, Lord?” And then we can look around and see what needs doing! You will find many things. Don’t be afraid. God is with you. Remember whose you are, because God loves you so.

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