Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Shut Up and Feel the Shimmer

If God is everywhere, then everywhere must be holy, no?
Sometimes, all you have to do is shut up, and there it is. There's a shimmer on all kinds of things, even ugly things. That's God.
I keep a diary. In it are listed many, many holy moments. (If I don't write them down, I tend to forget them.) This has been a holy year.
Yesterday on the road to Paco's vineyard, three owls lifted out of the ditch and across our path. They vanished into the fog. They were perfectly silent.
With Laurie in July, on a cow-path in a mountaintop meadow near Penalba, with Ponferrada far down in the distance. We stopped and sat against the steep hillside. I pulled off my boots and stretched out my toes. I felt my feet smile.
With three beloved people in a stone house in the mountains in France, staring up at the stars in the back garden, laughing and exulting over divine cheese and wine and Rachmaninoff on the radio. "It's 3 o'clock in the morning!" someone said. We all fell silent. We all looked at one another, then smiled. It was God we felt in the room. God was there.
In a cave with hands painted on the walls thousands of years ago.
In my car, stopped in the middle of a terrific thunderstorm, the rain roaring on the roof and nothing at all visible outside.
In my arms while Murphy Cat died, in the horror of his suffering, and the tenderness of Mo cat and Rosie dog, who came and touched his body with their noses once he finished. How Paddy's hands tucked the towel 'round his head, and so softly laid the dirt over him out back.
How Paddy's hands put ends to suffering hens, because I just cannot do that myself. Paddy is not godless, no matter what he says. He buries our dead. God is with him.
God is with me at church, as you'd expect. I taste him at Communion, I feel the rush of him in my pew. I heard his voice in the canary songs, and the crows' sour voices, too.
I hear him in the poetry of priests. In February I read out the poetry myself, in English, in my deep Scripture Voice, in the great cathedral shrine at Santiago de Compostela, I stood and recited the Gospel Truth as winter rain poured through the roof above, and the holy ghost moved all around our side-chapel of St. Andrew.
He came too, in May, to Crystal Gardens Banquet Facility in South Detroit, when I read scripture at a somewhat wrong moment of my son's Muslim wedding feast. I was forgiven. I think I was actually heard.
I felt God in September outside the Bar Luna in Sahagun, just after I had an impacted molar pulled. I had lost consciousness, frightened the dentist, gave myself a scare, too. I was stunned, bloody, The anesthesia was wearing off. The waiter brought me a shot of Four Roses and a glass of draft beer.
I drank them down, and felt the strength of ten men roar into my being. God with us!
Sometimes God is obvious. He came with the strength of two men late last Winter, when I planted a tree. It was a big tree, too big for me to handle on my own, a meaningful tree, in memory of a fallen pilgrim. I stopped and stilled my bothered-ness and asked for help. And up the trail came two strapping pilgrims, who helped me wrestle the tree into the hole and stand it straight and fill in the dirt around it. They even snapped photos!
He sat in my hands this summer when I treated a pilgrim with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The man was a doctor. He knew what was wrong. He was ready to go home. And in the morning, well... I still don't like to say it. The tendon was whole again. The tear had repaired in the night. The pilgrim headed out onto the trail rejoicing. I was stunned. I still am.
But when I think of where I see God, and I think mostly of mundane things, daily things. St. Teresa of Avila, a great Christian mystic from here in Castilla, told the Grand Inquisitor that "God lives in the kitchen, among the pots and pans."
This year I saw God in mud-and-straw adobe bricks, in my sudden outburst of properly conjugated preterite imperfect verbs. I saw him in the faces of Antonio from Badajoz, Miguel Angel from Paris, Andy from Birmingham, Kathy from San Francisco. I saw him at Thanksgiving in Madrid, and here in Moratinos, in the fog, in the ditches, the plaza, the bodegas.
He's here. He brings holiness with him.
And if we just show up, he makes us holy, too.


Ingrid said...

I love this Post Rebekah. To you and Paddy a most blessed Christmas and abundance, love and health in 2015.

I hope to make it to Moratinos, just to say hello, who knows, I might walk the Meseta just for a bit. I need to make peace with it.

Light and Love Ingrid

Andy Byers said...

That is such a great post. My oldest son went to Kiros (sp) in high school. When he got home he told us that God was everywhere not just church so he was not going to go any more. He was right be that was a poor attempt at getting out of mass.

Merry Christmas to you, Paddy and Bruno!

Kiwi Nomad said...

Thanks Reb- a special post to read on what is Christmas Eve. I am going to print it off to ponder in the quiet summer spaces before the New Year arrives.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a wrong place to hear God's word. Or any place you cannot find him.
Blessings on you and Paddy and all your beloved critters.

Martea Cashion said...

This has touched my heart completely...I'm in tears and in love! Merry Christmas to you and to Paddy! You are an incredible writer sister. I'm so proud!

Unknown said...


A blessed Christmas and New Year to you!

Br. Francis Wagner, O.S.B.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey

Diane Maxon said...

Thanks for these words on Christmas Eve here in Jersey City, NJ. Miles away from Moratinos in distance and surroundings but God is here too. Have a wonderful Christmas.

justine said...

Mil gracias, Rebekah, for this lovely, lovely soulful meditation. Peace and many God-ful moments to you and Paddy in the coming year.

t2andreo said...

It always helps when God has angels like you and Paddy to do some of his heavy lifting on earth. I am blessed and fortunate to know the both of you. The world is a better place for all you efforts.

May God bless you and keep you at this special time of the year, and throughout the the coming year.

Our thoughts and best wishes remain for you, Paddy, and the Menagerie now and for the New Year.

Kiwi Nomad said...

Reb- you have inspired me- and for the last few days I have written down some 'shimmering' moments. It's good to remember them. Today's shimmering moment was very special. My elderly Aunty and Uncle, after four years of renting, have just moved back into their rebuilt house in Christchurch- damaged in the earthquakes. My Aunty was so happy when I spoke to her on the phone. And one of the things that made her happiest was describing how a man and his wife had taken it upon themselves to re-establish the vege garden. This was no mean feat, as bricks from the demolition had been piled there, and needed to be stacked up first. But already, the garden, neglected and wild for four years, is growing superbly. Special generosity- shimmering kindness.

Anonymous said...

Rebekah -

A wonderful post! I am not sure whether it is the best of yours that I have read (possible!) or whether it simply speaks to me in the now.

No matter - - Beautiful! - - and thank you. And Happy New Year!

Brendan O'C

PS. When I first saw the title, I heard an echo from Wendell Berry (I think). "There are no un-sacred places unless we have desecrated them ourselves."

Jacques-D. said...

Thank you Rebekah...

Amanda Schaffer said...

Beautifully written! Often the 'small' moments can shine the brightest.
New Year wishes to all at Peaceable Kingdom!

Warren said...

Even in mid-January your Christmas post shouts out its truth. God bless you and those beings .