Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foretastes of heaven

Dublin. A perfect Irish day, sunny-cloudy after days of heavy rain. Fall leaves add radiance to the green. I’m out at sunrise, the horizon tinged pink over the sea. A brisk 30 minutes brings me to a coffee shop where I peruse the Times and sip my coffee. Then a ramble. I visit a shop to gather my vegetable lunch and then set my pace on the hidden paths of St Anne’s Park. Huge old trees. Ivy. Rose gardens. An old-growth streamside meander complete with tumble-down Victorian follies and ancient walls. The footing is thick, wet leaves, and the sun glints through to set the fall colors on fire. The air is cool but not crisp with the slightest breeze.

Seventeen men and women gather in our flat for a day of listening prayer. I look at them and realize we come from 13 nations on six continents. Another evening I notice that the eight gathered at our dining table represent seven nations and, again, six continents. Fragrant incense rising to the throne of God.

The four of us God has drawn to Kas gather on the third floor balcony of the villa dedicated-and-in-waiting. As dusk approaches, a rainbow arches down to the sea before us. As night falls a cloud pauses over the sea for an hour and lightning flash within it, contained and never going to ground. The breeze cools me and carries scents of eucalyptus and jasmine. The silence is perfect as we pass the bread and wine.

Though she is in breakdown, in crisis, this woman who has asked to talk wants to see Jesus in her frightening place. I am confident she will, and that she will find both healing and new growth.

I sit on the sofa with Curt at the end of the day. We put our feet up, watch TV and hold hands.

Cait comes tearing out of the kitchen with Eda chasing her. Cait slips and nearly falls. Dan cheers, and all fall into gales of laughter, rejoicing to be so loved and in love, to be together.

Several are gathered for a day of quiet and prayer. From my corner in the dining room I am drawn out of myself to intercession. My “job” seems simply to hold certain ones in God’s presence. Curt, who sits with God in another room. Jennifer, who dwells with us for a season. Curt says later, with quiet joy, “It was a good day.” And as I “hold” Jenn, a sweet fragrance fills my senses and remains.

The air is dry, cooled by the evening breeze. That hamburger fresh off the grill was a wonder. I marvel to find the dune where I lie cool. How can it be like that when the sun shines hot all day? I don’t see a single constellation I recognize, and I wonder when the moon will rise and what phase it is in. I could easily doze off right here. But Pawan is about and lonely. He finds me and speaks of his childhood when his grandfather would show him the stars and tell him that he would become a star one day. “Why did he tell me that, Madame?” I wish my brother Pawan could find the freedom to call me “Jeri.” Tonight I see that this adventure in the desert has left him raw with homesickness for Nepal. What a privilege to serve as mother for this young man who courageously makes his way so far from home.

Miriam and I share lunch in Port Townsend—right on the water of the Puget Sound-- and wax whimsical about what God might do with the old bank building we just looked at, the one Curt and I want to buy. A seagull drops his load, which kindly misses us—and our food—and lands on the chair next to Miriam. We laugh; we marvel.

I see the plate of fresh cookies. The smell of baking permeates the house. I look, but feel no compulsion to eat. Detached. Free in my inner being. I walk away.

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