Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lord, Send Me a Sign

                                                            Lord, Send Me a Sign

A few years ago, I was experiencing a rough patch in my life. Throughout the decades of my life, I have always found solace in the solitude of walking in the woods. For me it is an experience to be alone with the One who is God for me. It is a comfortable time to whisper aloud the formula prayers that I have known since I was a child; sometimes prayers for healing, sometime prayers for guidance. Many times my prayers are for mercy and forgiveness.

The circumstances of this difficult time were weighing heavily on me one afternoon while I was walking in the woods. I feared God was absent to me; His ears deaf to my prayers. My solitude became loneliness. At a crossroad of paths I felt compelled to veer off my usual course and walk to the edge of a small pond. It was a hot and humid dog-day in August; complete stillness and no breeze at all. There was not even a ripple upon the placid, sun glistened water. 

The trees surrounding the pond were statuesque; no movement among the tangle of branches and leaves. Near the shoreline encircling the pond were elegant tall cattails; and all was enclosed by thousands of lily pads sleeping peacefully on the surface of the water. 

The water level of the pond was shallow due to a lack of rain. Haphazardly around shoreline were large flat stones that normally were submerged. I had a youthful urge to step out upon the dry stones into the pond; following them into the deepening water until I could go no further. Though I became surrounded by swampy water, cattails and lily pads, the view was beautiful. 

As I gazed upon the splendor of all that was before me, I gave thanks to God for this moment. But like a doubting Thomas, I greedily and selfishly prayed aloud, "Lord, show me a sign." I remained a few more moments and just when I was about to turn away from God's magnificence, I discerned in the distance the sound of an oncoming breeze. 

On the opposite shore I spied the top of the trees farthest from the shoreline beginning to bend, pressing towards me, forced down by a strengthening, invisible wind. I watched as the blustery breeze cascaded down until it reached the trees along the shoreline and they too began bow heavily toward me. The wind raced over the surface of the pond and the placid water began to roll in sun-sparkled wavelets toward me. In seconds the wind buffeted my entire body. The surprise of it all almost caused me to fall backwards off the stone and into the water. 

I regained my balance, but had to lean into the increasing wind, to keep from falling. The velocity of the wind became such that I imagined, if I spread my arms I would soar into the sky like an eagle. As I extended my arms, each reaching for opposite shores, I was graced with a blessed sight. The surface of pond began to roil and boil. The branches of bowed trees scratched the choppy waters. The cattails bent over until their flowery spikes caressed the pond surface. The multitude of lily pads were tossed about like overboard sailors afloat on stormy seas. 

A gust of wind penetrated the underneath the lily pads, and in a wondrous instant, the lily pads were upheld before the wind. Tethered to the bottom of the pond by root stems, they appeared like kites blown about in a thunderstorm. 

The wind abruptly stopped. The lily pads fell to the surface of the water. The bowed trees stood erect like silent sentinels and the cattails gently swayed to music of silence. As I walked upon the stones toward the shore, my heart's ears heard a small whispering voice say, "Why do you doubt me?" (BM 2013)


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