Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, July 11, 2011

Standing on Holy Ground

For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life. ~ William Blake

I couldn't decide what to journal about this morning.  I've too many ideas and thoughts rambling around in my heart. I had decided to simply journal on Macrina's book, that would keep me focused! Imagine my surprise when the first page seemed to be another puzzle piece of my rambling thoughts.

I wonder if God enjoys watching me sort through all the thoughts, questions, images, insights that are a part of my heart's reflections.

Holy Ground video.....

Chapter 7, Macrina writes about a time that a walk took her further than planned:
"...It is just dawn. Standing still for a moment, I see the first rays of sunlight shimmering through a silver maple tree...Suddenly I am uncertain whether those golden arms swaying in the morning sunlight are tree branches or angel wings. Such shining I find overpowering. My wondering heart is filled with joy..."So what do I do? What do I do with this vision that heaven has blessed me with? If I am an adult I keep very quiet about this vision, carefully guarding my reputation.  I tell no one. If I am a child, or if  I have a child's heart, I cannot contain the vision. I shout it from the rooftops. I say, 'Listen, everybody! I saw a tree full of angels shining like stars in the night." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 83)
There have been times I have forgotten I am an adult and cry out in awe, excitement, marvel when something strikes my soul.  It can be nature, or it can be something really dumb (by the world's standards).

William Blake (1757-1827) was a child who was not inhibited by what adults could or could not see.  Story goes that one day, while rambling over the hills of Dulwich he saw a tree full of angels. He ran to his parents to share what he had seen.  His father was about to punish young William for telling lies (notice the era), but his mother, more able to see the depths of things, saved him from his father's blindness.
"It is so like adults not to be able to tell the difference between a vision and a mirage. Artists are those who have visions.There is something of the artist in each of us. Artists have hungry eyes and hungry hearts, and on some days when they are purifying their eyes and hearts for deeper seeing, they choose to have hungry stomachs as well. Fasting empties them so that they can see the truth more clearly." (Wiederkehr, p 84)
Macrina shares that a wonderful example of this is Thornton Wilder's play Our Town. It has been a long time since I have seen this wonderful play.  Thankfully, Macrina refreshes my memory.
"Emily, who has died, wants to come back to the land of the living and relive one day of her life. The stage manager knows the heartache she will experience and is not enthusiastic about her request, but Emily is determined. She chooses her twelfth birthday to return. It is indeed a heartache as she sees how myopic human beings really are, how they simply do not have time to look at one another. At one point she pleads with her mother to look at her for just one moment with undistracted eyes." (Ibid)
Tearfully, Emily asks to return to her grave.  She asks if any human beings ever fully realize life while they live it. The stage manager gives a sad "No," and then as if remembering the redeemers of the human race, he suggests that the poets and saints came closest to tasting the fullness of life.

Macrina writes:
"In this section of my journal that I share with you in this chapter [Chapter 7], I am praying with the saints and the poets. I am feeding on their vision, their questions, and their dreams."I have never been one to limit God to the Scriptures, though the Scriptures have nourished me well. My God is not imprisoned anywhere, not in the Bible nor the tabernacle. Real Presence is everywhere, and those with the hearts of children revel in it. So much that I do not blush to call divine is revealed to me each day. The Word and the Bread! That's all there is. They continue becoming flesh. A crumb at a time." (Wiederkehr, p 84-84)
I am smiling with delight!

A Child's Delight
I have felt a little guilty, not staying focused, by adding pages to my blog and including pictures of things that don't really have anything to do with journaling through a book.  Yet, as I have journaled through The Cup of Life and A Tree Full of Angels, God has been bursting out all around me and I did not know what to do with all those moments of delight.

Once again, I have fallen prey to what I am supposed to do or be.  I have tried to inhibit the delight God has set in my heart by twisting it in a way that is "acceptable."

Many weeks ago I journaled about a woman in my congregation that was undergoing dialysis.  Honestly, I never expected to see her ever smiling her relaxed and happy smile again in this life.  Yesterday, I was blessed with a miracle.  When I went to see her...there was that wonderful smile greeting me as I walked into the room!  And...she is going home today!

When she was very ill and tired of the battle, Pat saw what she thought were angels.  She has described them to me in detail several times.  Yesterday, she was more subdued about this vision, contributing it to her illness, medication... I stopped her and said, "Pat, these angels you saw gave you a sense of hope and a sense of peace. Do not discredit the gift God has given you simply because the rest of us did not see them! Because we did not see them does not mean they were not there!"

She responded by a moment of stillness and then her face literally lit up like the angel light she has described. "Thank you, Sandi!"

My pictures of growing corn, flowers, rocks, Indians, my parents and grandchildren...are all images of God...of angels dancing through moments in my life! Joyce Rupp talked in The Cup of Life about stepping on this earth and leaving a blessing with each footstep.

I have at times wondered how people could not see what was before them when the living God was incarnate...right here on this earth in the form of Jesus!! Yet, I suffer the same blindness, missing the holy that is within my midst, much like the characters of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.

These thoughts give me the courage to share such a moment from a few days ago.  Walking into a local post office an elderly gentleman handed me a DumDum sucker. "Would you like my sucker? I really shouldn't eat it."

I was surprised, but thanked  him, and went in to get the proper postage on my packages.  Once back in my car I looked again at the sucker....

Ummm, I don't think I've ever seen this flavor before....ooooooohhh!

Instead of biting into that blueberry dum dum, I savored every lick, and I felt like a blessed child.  I even put the wrapper in my Gratitude Journal that evening as a reminder of that wonderful moment that I simply sat in pure enjoyment without a care in the world.

Yet, later, I placed a judgement.  "You can't journal about that San, its dumb!"

How different would my life be if I carried the notion with me through out all my day that every place I find myself is holy ground?

Sitting here at my computer, I'm on holy ground.

Walking my dog around the yard, I'm on holy ground.

Doing my stretches or riding my bike to nowhere, I'm on holy ground.

Visiting someone in their home, hospital, nursing home, I'm on holy ground.

Picking green beans in the garden, I'm on holy ground.

Helping to deliver projects or walking along the County 4-H Fair, I'm on holy ground.

The ordinary things of an ordinary day...I'm on holy ground!  With this openness, I wonder what I might discover within the ordinary! Things that the world is too distracted to see?

Hummmm, I might even notice a tree full of angels!

Another version of Holy Ground

"I know there are angels all around...Let us praise Jesus now...we are standing in his presence on holy ground."

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Interesting thoughts! I love that song ...We are standing on Holy Ground...and yes re my post...we can see God so much in His creation!!

  2. Thank you for this post! I keeps me grounded.

    AND thank you for your sweet comment on my "friends" post! and yes he sure is a big guy!


  3. Well done, Sandi! Absolutely well done!

  4. Beautiful post. I love both songs.