A few weeks ago I was at a writing retreat in North Carolina and went for a walk among the beautiful leaves of a North Carolina autumn. While there, I felt a call to walk along the Pigeon River, which ran along a path near the big field of the camp. The path got smaller and smaller as I continued, obviously more and more unused. I kept thinking I should head back and actually do some writing, but something kept calling me. I realized it was a lot like walking a labyrinth, a spiritual practice meant to “imitate” a pilgrimage, where a person walks a twisting path to the center of a circle, often meeting the Divine in that center and then walking out again. I love this form of walking meditation and was excited to experience it in a place without a formal labyrinth design. This is an excerpt from my writing upon my return to my cabin.
The river curves left beyond where I can see, and the background for the water spilling over the boulders are those glorious hillsides of autumn leaves. I gasp as the awe rolls over me. Tears spring to my eyes. God is walking with me, flowing in the river. I am overcome.
“How can you give all this beauty to someone like me?” I ask, perhaps even out loud, though God’s ears do not require voice. I gasp again as I hear the response, teasing, but oh, so serious. “Can’t you see you’re worth all this and more.” The tears overflow their eyelid dams like riffles flowing over rocky cheekbones.
I struggle to accept these words though they come from a source far more powerful than all my insecurities and doubts. How can I continue to exist if I tear down the narrative that has defined my life – that I am deformed with evil, that I am flawed, that I am unlovable: unworthy of love. I have built the foundations of my false ego self on this story and it is too hard to consider rebuilding on the new story: that God finds me infinitely loveable and has never felt otherwise.
God has always been giving me gifts, and God wants me to follow when I’m called and open my eyes and heart to the things that are beautiful, outside and in – even the dying leaves on the hillside that surround me. They are not beautiful because they are flawless, but because they are wounded. Because in their brokenness, in what they have lost, a deeper, richer color can shine through.
I have continued slow steps along the valley rocks through this profound dialogue with the Divine, called to keep moving. There is more. As I turn the corner of the river, beyond God’s thunder in the falls, light spills over the mountains on my left. The water above the falls sparkles to new life, the leaves glow in the newness of light breaking – the golden hour my photographer husband calls it. In this beauty at the center of God’s presence I am without words – there are only sobs as the river of my tears join the Holy Cascade.
Have you ever felt the Divine Presence with you on a walk or in a beautiful moment of your life. Does it ever feel like you are having a conversation with God? What do you say? What does God say? What kinds of spiritual practices open you up to hearing God’s voice, rather than you always doing the talking in prayer?
Openings: Let the Spirit In is dedicated to helping people go deeper in their spiritual journey. We can’t guarantee you’ll hear Gods voice, but we can help you open your hearts to receive it when it comes. If you are interested in learning more, contact us.