inviting in the sacred

by bam

someone asked me not so long ago why i search so often for the sacred in my every day.

it’s not so much the searching, really, it’s that i often seem to stumble on it.

it’s just there. kaboom.

i find it, often, tucking little ones to bed. or sitting side-by-side, on stools carved by my brother, in that after-school ebb and flow, when the third-grade day comes rushing out in breathless narrative, and, every paragraph or so, in goes bite of apple, or cookie, or glug of chocolate milk.

i do, yes, find the sacred nearly every time i tiptoe out the door. not the times when i’m near a gallop, racing to the station wagon, keys clunking from my fist, nearly always late for where i was supposed to be, a good 10 minutes ago.

but in the tiptoe times, when every pore of me is wide awake and at attention, when i’m in slow gear, trying not to barrel through, disturb the peace, then it’s almost certain that the sacred will alight on me, as a monarch to a black-eyed susan.

i find the holy breath in birdsong, absolutely. and in the streams of light pouring through the pines, or the crack in the fence that runs along my cottage garden.

i find knee-dropping humility when i spy the moon. or when, weeks behind schedule, a vine i thought had died breaks out in bloom, a resurrection lesson every time.

i find God whenever i’m alone. or maybe that’s the time when at last, i feel the rustling by my side, at my elbow, where my heart goes thump. maybe that’s when at last it’s quiet enough, still enough, for me to hear the holy whispers in my ear.

i do know that God spends time aplenty in my kitchen, at my dinner table. i sink my fists into the egg-rich dough of the challah in the making, and i hear the prayers take off. i dump cinnamon and raisins in a pot of bubbling porridge, and well, i am at one with the heartbeat of all the saints and angels who’ve passed this way, who’ve known what it is to be called to care for others as if you were their mother.

at every meal when we join hands, a circle of palms touching palms, fingers wrapped around fingers, i feel a veil of holiness drop down upon us. especially so when we’ve invited in a friend or stranger we’d not known so well before.
oh, Lord, i even find the sacred scrubbing out the tub. not always. but sometimes. folding clothes. turning on the iron, smoothing out the wrinkles.

isn’t that, at the heart of it, what the sacred brings?

an otherworldly way of living on a higher plane?

isn’t this all just molecules and space between if there’s no purpose to the plan? aren’t we merely moving markers round the gameboard, passing through the stations, checking off the list, if there’s no Teacher, no Comforter, no Great Illuminator?

oh, you needn’t call it by a single name. nor pray a certain prayer.

all i’m thinking here is that to tap into the sacred, to invite it in your home, your heart, your rushing to the train, your talking to the grocery checker, is to take it up a notch. to infuse the beautiful and the breathtaking into the simple act of breaking bread and sipping wine. or stirring soup. or whispering in a child’s ear, “don’t be afraid. i’m here.”

isn’t all of life just a long equation of simple addition and subtraction? don’t we make it into poetry, geometry, by seeing it through a lens that understands, at the heart of every breath, every word, every triumphant act of courage, every heart-crushing blow, that we are not here merely by the power of our own two legs.

but that there are wings all around, holding us afloat, wrapping us, taking us on a sacred flight to everlasting truth and holy wisdom.

that’s why i seem to stumble on the sacred.

i don’t think i’d stay upright otherwise.

do you invite in the sacred? how so? why, for goodness sake?