28 May 2012

clouds and witnesses

the day started with clear skies and sunshine.

and then the clouds came.

not an unusual occurrence here in Missoula. we get plenty of cloudy days. even when the rest of Montana in basking in sunshine. not unlike Seattle (without as much rain) or San Francisco (without as much fog).

that doesn't explain the fog in my head that i walk around in most days, but i digress.

as i watched the light grow brighter, i was inspired, awe struck at the gift of being able to exist on this beautiful little blue ball 'falling around the sun' (to quote James Taylor). and then a few wispy white clouds blew in and painted the sky with another hue, added another dimension.

and my thoughts turned to that familiar phrase from my spiritual tradition...the 'great cloud of witnesses'.

and the flood of images began pouring through my mind...the people i have been privileged to know over my life's journey who have impacted me profoundly, in ways that have truly changed my life for the better, at a level of depth most of them probably will never truly know. family members, teachers, neighbors, friends from school, coaches, fellow teammates and musicians, students and volunteers from my youth ministry days, children, youth and adults young and old from my 'Rev.' days...as well as authors, songwriters and composers, filmmakers, actors, artists whom i've never met in person but have 'met' on the page, the canvas, the screen and stage, in my ears and my imagination...and complete strangers i have walked past or who have stopped to engage me surprisingly and insightfully.

my heart filled with wonder and gratitude for where my life's journey has led me, and the people i never would have encountered had i not been called to the amazing and nomadic way of life that has been my vocation. i even shot out some brief messages to dear friends who are now far away from me geographically, but always close to me in Spirit and heart. warmth and light flooded my being.

and then the clouds came.

these clouds didn't paint the sky, but rather, seemed to obstruct the light. the brilliant blue faded and the haunting grey took its place.

a deep sigh ensued from the depths of my being.

another dreary day.

and i thought to myself, 'Of all the images to use for the people, the communities that are the ones who embody the Spirit to us, who reflect the brilliance of the Light of the world, who even add further dimensions to the beauty...why THIS one?' i mean, is a cloudy day meant to remind us of all the ways that the 'clouds' block out the Light?

two deep sighs.

double the dreariness.

but then it happened.

in the midst of what had become a dismal looking day, a tiny little patch of blue sky appeared amidst the floating sea of grey. and then another. and another. and some of the clouds transformed from dullish grey to dazzling white. and the sky took on yet another look.

blue and grey and white.

dreary and dazzling and multi-dimensional.

and then i noticed the sun beginning to peek through the clouds, the rays of light shooting out through the clouds with piercing beauty in all directions. the clouds weren't only reflecting the light...they were also refracting the light in ways that caught my attention and my breath, that caused me to stop what i was doing and to stare.

in wonder.

in awe.

to look directly at the sun.

which i wouldn't have been able to do without going blind.

until the clouds came.

clouds can obstruct the Light.
but they can also reflect the Light.
and they can even refract the Light.
and create a sight that is truly breathtakingly beautiful to behold.

as with clouds, so with witnesses (intentional and unintentional) to the Light.

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