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Walk on the beach
I was walking the beach on a beautiful calm sunny day,
deep in thought as I reflected on my life.
I stopped at the water’s edge
gazing out on the beauty and colour of the ocean.
I was in awe of the vastness,
and the power that it can have in a storm,
but today I was enraptured by its gentleness.
I stood there gazing at it for quite a while
and feeling God’s presence in the moment.
As I stood there in awe, the gentle waves rippling at my feet,
I saw a beautiful fragile shell.
It began to move, with each gentle wave.
It moved backwards, sideways,
then forward, and sometimes staying still.
I was totally absorbed by this shell.
I watched it moving in harmony with the ocean,
offering no resistance,
just willingly going where it was taken.
Sometimes almost touching my feet.
The shell fully trusted the ocean.
God became the ocean,
and I became like that shell.
God was giving me a message to trust Him
and to let go of all the negativity that I can hold on to.
At this moment I felt very close to God.
God you are always inviting me to trust, and to let go.
Thank you for revealing yourself to me
in such a simple and beautiful way.
I walked with you,
You revealed yourself ever so slowly,
I’d look up and there you’d be peeping through the clouds,
Then sometimes you would hide.
It was as if you were playing hide and seek with me.
I longed to receive your image.
But you seemed to say
No Mary not now
The time is not right.
I know it an be hard for you to wait.
If you do , I know in time I will reveal myself to you.
It wasn’t easy waiting
But that little voice within me said
Mary wait, there is a treasure in waiting.
Treasure I thought to myself.
Well maybe I will
With eyes downcast and feeling sad
I turned for home,
Feeling like the apostles felt on the road to Emmaus.
Once more I glanced up at the sky
There in the sky was this beautiful moon
Shinning back at me
Smiling at me, as if taking delight in me.
For a moment I felt God whisper
See didn’t I tell you , I would reveal myself to you,
I held up my phone excitedly to receive this beautiful image,
Then I looked at it ever so slowly,
All I could say was
Oh my God
I struggled for words.
So much beauty, I was so excited
So much beauty , I kept saying to myself.
God had revealed his great love for me.
I struggled to find words, to express how I felt
Thank You was all I could say.
Truly it was my night sky messenger.
Whenever I go for a walk
I look up lovingly at the sky searching for my night sky messenger
Sometimes I see it ,
More times I can’t see it
But it’s ok
As I know deep down
I carry this beautiful image within my heart,
And that is such a comfort to feel
I am never alone
As my night sky messenger will always walk with me.
Mary O Mahony
‘The sight of the star filled them with delight’
(Matt 2; 10)
We don’t create ‘epiphanies’, but we can create a way of life where we are open to noticing them happening around us and within us;
Some of the following practices help us stay in the ‘open zone’.
Spend time in nature.
Enjoy the changing rhythms of nature. Go out into a moonlit night, look up at the stars…allow the immensity of it all to reveal your own belonging and the mystery of your life in this wonderful, expansive cosmos. Drink in the beauty of nature, allowing the Divine Whispers to reach you and surprise you through the gift of creation.
Allow a sense of awe to emerge; this happens when we are in the presence of something bigger and more expansive than what the mind can comprehend.
Risk a little.
The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety. (Goethe).
At the moment we all have to stay safe, stay at home and avoid all risk of spreading the virus. However, even when the pandemic is over, we will not live in a perfect risk-free life. Embracing life in its fulness will include cultivating the capacity to tolerate a little risk taking. We need to build a window of tolerance for uncomfortable experiences. When we practice being able to tolerate a bit of unfamiliarity and uncertainty, we are more resilient with whatever life throws at us. When we employ too much avoidance and safety, we become a bit paralysed in the comfort zone. Avoiding discomfort and pain can cause us to shrink and contract. Of course, pushing ourselves into excessive risk is very unwise because we lose connection with ourselves. So, maybe we can practice ‘dancing at the edge’ just a little each day. This might include staying present with what is happening now in our world, (rather than constantly checking statistics and constantly craving escape routes in the future). Perhaps this is the place where we can encounter the miracles and epiphanies of God.
Willingness to change route.
In the gospel, after their moment of revelation, the wise men were told to go ‘ back by a different way’. It is likewise with us; we are called to reflect on moments of awakening and whatever wisdom we were being taught. We will see that there is a call to turn around or ‘go back by a different way’, or perhaps a different attitude or way of seeing. In Galatians 5;1… we are told, ‘stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery’…. (slavery can be the excessive fear of what people think, the habit of selling out for some artificial security or identity).. The willingness to go a different route reminds us that the devil we know isn’t always better!
There is much explored nowadays about the benefits of gratitude for mental and spiritual health. Sometimes we forget to give thanks just for the miracle of being gifted every day with the breath of life.
Journaling about things we are grateful for, tilts us towards the positive. We begin to feel our cup is full. In a state of gratitude, even burdens can turn into blessings, challenges into opportunities. It is hard to feel miserable when you are giving thanks. Try it out!
Practice sending blessings.
We all need compassion. The judging mind increases negative feelings and affects not just those we are critical of, but also dulls our own capacity for joy. Maybe we could practice sending compassion to everyone and everything that disturbs or upsets us. Send a blessing of compassion to those who do not meet your hopes, or those who frustrate or disappoint you. Inhabit the divine nature of compassion for a whole day and see how you feel at the end of that day. Perhaps we could share how we got on! And if you are really courageous, .send compassion to the person you find it hardest to forgive.
May we all be blessed in supporting one another in remaining open to Epiphanies.