“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
“Breathing with a heartbeat or not – it is as if all that we are is condensed into our souls…”
This has been a difficult week for our family. Rebekah has been hit hard by the loss of her sister, Rachel, underlining the truth that we are never really prepared for the death of someone we love deeply, and grief will insist on our attention regardless.
Today I was reminded of a story from when a friend in Atlanta passed away. He loved flowers, and the last few years of his life he cultivated a “butterfly garden” that – while it prospered in lovely blooms – never seemed to attract any of its intended visitors.
One day, while he was under hospice care at home, his daughter went out into the garden to take a breather and to pray. A movement caught her eye and – in her words – “literally thousands of butterflies suddenly took off from the herbaceous borders and rose into the air…”
She stopped for a moment to drink in the wonder. Then she hurried inside because she understood; in that moment, her father has passed.
I love that story because it offers such clear, tangible, visible picture of how real and how present the spiritual is. It’s as my friend Dan likes to say, “We don’t have a life, and then a spiritual life, as if they are separate ideas…” We have life, and we either recognize and engage and practice a relationship to/with God or we do not.
The spiritual part of us is not optional; it’s not, “I can take it or leave it;” it’s not, “You go ahead with that if it’s your thing;” or, “It may be fine for religious types but I’m okay without it…” The spiritual is real, and – breathing with a heartbeat or not – it is as if all that we are is condensed into our souls; and that, friends, is as real as it gets.
Sunday morning check in:
Today is Sunday, so maybe we all might want to think about checking in with God and doing a bit of soul maintenance.
The words I quoted from 1 Thessalonians 4, two days ago read, “We do not grieve as those who have no hope.” Yet, we do grieve. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In love, and because love sets us free – DEREK