Riding my bike, gears creaking, tires rattling, I look up at a small rock bluff.
Beautiful, I think. Then, as I ride by, it occurs to me that this could be a moment to encounter the divine. This could be a Mount Sinai (I’m always on alert for Mount Sinais. When I’m not on alert for homework, emotions, work, food, clothes, friends, that is). Turning around I leave the beaten path, lay my bicycle down on the grass, and tip-toe over rocks & through brambles whose thorn hands stretch out to grab the soft fabric of my dress. On the (short) way up I think about how every day it seems I am seeking the divine. Every day I am wanting to become a more spiritual being, on higher alert for the invisible, eternal world around & in us. So I do odd things like go to church on Sundays & have conversations with people who are different than me. (There is no formula, that I know of, other than getting outside of culture’s boxy perspective.)
I climb the rock, hopes high that I will feel something, experience some sort of rebirth, or get a word of encouragement for my own soul or someone else’s. Taking two long strides I come to the top. I edge to the overhang and look down. I look around. Trees. Fall trees. Rocks & dirt. The red sign of a Conoco peeks above tree-line, as do various other town buildings. I hear air whistling through my lungs. I feel my pulse. Try and think deep. Try and become meditative. But my bladder tugs attention away from eternity into the present moment. I try to ignore it, looking at a tree with limbs spread wide, watch the yellow leaves wave & blink. The leaves remind me of loved ones. I offer a silent prayer for those I know suffering. Those I know who need healing like they need the next breath of oxygen. I pray for words, for clarity about those situations. I hear nothing. I feel nothing, except the throbbing of my bladder again, and yellow sunlight on the hair of my arms. I pick at the pennys of mud thrown against my leggings by dry-rotted bike tires.
I pray. I lean into my own consciousness. I hope for something wonderful, something undeniably divine to blow my way. Nothing does.
So I say thanks for the trees, the grass, the skin holding my flesh in shape, the feet that got me up this mountain (over which a dear friend prayed for healing this morning–it didn’t come, not today), and the people I have the privilege of praying for.
I get on my bike & ride away. No story to tell. No words burning within. Maybe a gust of peace across the prairie of my mind. Nothing tangible, really. Just another interlude. An episode that matters because of the desire, chased down, that got no answer. A mystery every other moment mimics, carrying pleas for place and for significance away with the afternoon breeze.
So I said, “I’m here to do it your way, O God, the way it is described in your book.”~Hebrews 10, MSG
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. ~Christopher McCandless