Some summer weekend mornings I like to write a few pages with coffee in my room then move to the deck that faces the sunlight with a book of poetry hearing the birds in the background (this morning mostly sparrows and juncos dancing around in the dirt) then set down the book to watch the still morning and the quiet trees and listen to my heart. Suddenly something opens up in me and the darkness lifts and again I can receive the world and its beauty and the voice of the earth and I am reminded it’s all okay (even if it’s not) and it’s all going to be okay and this eternal moment gently loosens my clenched fists trying so hard to control my life and to get what I want and says “let go, be still, receive” and I have a feeling beyond emotion and a sense beyond the tangible and what is it but Love? Here my being is full of it spilling over with it and while it is not an escape from darkness and certainly fear and anxiety still hum their background noise these are bystanders only and not the Source which is instead the Presence and even when I leave this comforting space it remains so as it has always been and always is and always will be and it is never finished with me nor I with it.
I sat on the deck that particular morning still as the trees and something happened. There’s no name for it, no description. But peace descends. Something settles on me. It doesn’t magically make it all better or fix me or smooth the circumstances, but it moves me somehow. It’s a small step towards letting go, a small gesture of surrender. This Presence asks for something and I give it, even if only a fragment. In a way it’s giving up yet growing even deeper roots. Settling into the “it’s okay” of the world to which the morning of sun and birds and trees attest. Something lifts, and I feel a little lighter. The situation is still the same, I still struggle, but I find peace within it. Some moments I let darkness in and it seems to conquer me. But this morning something met me in this space where it’s okay even if it’s not. Is it God? Wishful thinking? Chemical reactions? Most of all I think it’s God, responding to a plea for help, something like a prayer—small and simple and insignificant—yet something about me and my heart and my life for which God cares greatly.
Sometimes we can’t ascend from a difficult space. But the truth of it is this: We don’t ascend. God descends. God doesn’t let us be. Whether we ask for help or not he shows up and gives what we need, these invisible gifts, even while we wait and wait and wait, even if nothing changes on the surface. We don’t ascend. God descends. God descends to us in our need, in the small experiences of hardship and the moments that hurt.
I do not ascend. God descends. We do not lift ourselves up to God. God bows down to us. There is no space too low. There is no personal darkness his heart and hand do not reach.