The picture at left was the view from my balcony this weekend. The heavens appear to be literally touching the water, but it’s simply the vivid reflection of the clouds off the ridiculously clear water. Me being me, I immediately began wondering, do heaven and earth collide, and what would it look like if they did? I’m always reaching and looking towards Heaven and squinting really hard to see if I can get even a faint glimpse.
I think I now have a surprising answer. Yes, all the time, and it doesn’t look like what one would think.
I don’t know why I have to travel hundreds of miles away from my life to figure out things in my life, but apparently I do.
Because of my biblical training, steeped in Saints and martyrs, burning bushes and of course, Jesus’s example, I actually had it wrong. I thought a bridge between heaven and earth was huge, rare, probably involved the heavens literally opening and God saying something like, “ Hey, you! I’m right here!”
I now know differently. Heaven and earth collide all the time. All that is necessary is a small bridge between the two. I like to call it a Bridge to Marvel. Something that takes us, if even just for a moment, out of our worries, our fears, and ourselves and seems to direct us to focus towards a Benevolent Father long enough to notice he is there.
There was no cell service in the canyon, so I had 3 days where I was forced to pull my head out of my own purse long enough to see these amazing Bridges to Marvel happening with regularity. The first day without Twitter I was somewhat twitchy, but that sustained period of focus produced a multitude of these beautiful little bridges.
The first was the most annoying monarch butterfly in creation. Every time I got away to myself even for just 30 seconds to sit in the sun and reflect on something a speaker had said, she would show up. Not one for subtlety, it took about 10 times for me to figure it out. She would circle me and then go straight for my face, startling me. Every time. As if to say, “ Hey! I’m right here!”
My second bridge was a public one and everyone in the room at the time, knew it. God appearing in a grand flourish. The last night of the conference, there was a campfire where everyone gathered for friendship, and conversation. There were some great professional musicians there, who blessed us with their gifts. But, these musicians encouraged non- professionals to jump in. They used their considerable gifts to bolster and support people trying to escape their comfort zone. The last song of the night, a non- musician stepped up and started singing an old hymn. The guitarists joined in. Something happened. All of us, every last one of us, were pulled into the song and each other and everyone sang, harmonized, drummed and strummed. We all looked at each other like 6 year olds surveying their Halloween bounty. We could not believe it was happening, but it was. It was magnificent. It was reaching up to God and finding him.
My final bridge to marvel was in the person of my roommate. She was the closest thing to the embodiment of an angel as I’ve ever seen. Of course, she did not look like what I thought she would. She was in her late 70s, walked with great difficulty and was too tired to do the late night campfires. She had the most radiantly happy countenance. One day, she got up to sing a song about her son. In a clear, soft voice she sang of how she knew she would meet him again, for he had died of a brain tumor years ago. She sang it with that same radiant countenance. The next morning, she casually mentioned that the reason she could not join me in many of the conference activities was that she had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time. She supposed that the stress of being at her son’s hospital bedside for months on end and finally watching him die had been the culprit. Then she said, “ I’ve learned that we have to give praise anyway.” Boy, she taught me a thing or two that I still ponder and will for some time. She was a bridge to heaven. “Hey You! I’m right here, looking at you!”
So, for me it appears to be a matter of focus. If I can focus my awareness on seeing these Bridges to Marvel, they are everywhere, and if I can see a bridge, perhaps sometimes, I can be one. The hug I talked myself out of giving, the time I shrunk away from singing, speaking, dancing or loving, might have been someone’s bridge. Sometimes I am so stupid. I know that God works through people, but I try to pre- select whom he will work through. I don’t know much, but I do know that God isn’t looking for perfect people to be his reps. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have much human help would he?