What experience of the presence of the divine can you speak to?
Where has grace moved in your life?
What is your story?
When I was an adolescent and becoming increasingly aware that the world existed further apart from me than the 2'x2' space my feet occupied, I could wake up and look out the front window of my house and see the Rocky Mountains-Longs Peak was always there and sometimes I would see Pikes Peak. It was an amazing and beautiful site that I relished and still long for-no pun intended.
Flash forward to my teen years in North Carolina. I lived in rural North Carolina. Here, I began to define my spirituality in terms of nature. I would think, in my backyard, "This is a cathedral."
It is also here that I started going to church and then was driven out of the church (another story for another day). Eventually, decades later, I returned to church in 1999. That led me down a path where I had to start collating several ideas:
- The cosmos is a Love story.
- Religion is a Love story.
- Stories of Jesus are real to me and are part of the Love story.
- Stories of Hebrew scripture and the relentless pursuit of humanity are real to me and are part of the Love story.
- I am called to something else in my life as part of this Love story.
- What is my Love story?
I was always afraid to speak my ideas in church (coming from fundamentalist roots, questions were not encouraged.) But in creation, I could speak out and I could receive. Now I have beautiful Mt. Rainier, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Hood, Mt. Si all within my sights on a clear day.
Also in my sights on a clear day are all the assumptions that I carry with me regarding faith, church, belonging, understanding, and what it means to live life as Love in the world. What is my Love story? How will I write Love into existence? The being of all that is seen and all that is written and all that is sensed, are a testimony of love and grace active and moving.
So today's long winded answer is, I have seen grace moving in the mountains, the sea, the plains, and the faces of all I encounter as they live out their understanding of what it is to be Love in the world. And that is my story and I'm stickin' to it!
“Make up a story... For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul.” ― Toni Morrison, The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993
God is love.
1 John 4:8
(c) 2013, esssay, Terri Stewart
photos as attributed