The Presence

I was praying today, and that feeling came again. – That feeling of vastness and great space. I sometimes wonder if it is somehow a feeling of that presence – of being in the presence of something infinite. I cannot stay in that space very long without finding myself out of it. Somehow I feel nervous, small, or disconcerted; I feel out of my element. Like a baby newly born finds the new room she inhabits after birth too much for her own arms — the very spaciousness scares her. Invariably my mind wants to “do” something with the space. Either I drift away (this happens most often), and I wake up seconds or moments later in the middle of another thought. Almost as if I am not big enough to handle being there – like that, and my mind instinctively overrides and takes me somewhere else. Or I pollute the quiet by bringing in other thoughts of my own. As if somehow my mind does not know how to deal with the unnerving quiet and infinite largeness of that gigantic silence, and I don’t know how to be still in my mind and simply be there. How interesting that the instructions to the psalmist were, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I see that I don’t know how to do that; I immediately want to “dress” up the situation. I imagine what I would do, were I actually in the presence of God. Sometimes I think I would want to run to him and hug him. Or maybe in another mood, just fall down before him, or simply kiss his feet. Or I want to fill the feeling of emptiness with words – things I think I should pray for, and I begin to cast about for all my petitions. But it is hard to be quiet, and still, and be in that presence, and just be. And more – to be willing to let Him do something to me. To be in that presence, and let it be bigger than me, and to be alright with that feeling of not being in control, of not knowing what’s next. How is it that we begin to feel that we – small and foolish creatures that we are – should ‘do things with God? Or we begin to think that we can command Him to fulfill our wishes – as if he were a genie– and use Him, the God of the Universe, for our own small purposes? One of my favorite pictures of prayer comes from George MacDonald, where he illustrates the act of praying for others in a child, raising his puppies to the Father, that He may kiss them. A kiss from the Father would be treasure for a lifetime.

For now, it is baby steps. If I can be conscious enough to notice, I try to calm myself and say, “Be still, my soul.” I try to resist the thoughts that seem to come flooding in, unasked, or that literally whisk me away from being present, in that presence. All I can do when that happens is apologize, and try again. I don’t always get back in. Sometimes it is like the feeling you get when a ray of sun shines on you unexpectedly, and you bask in its warmth for an instant before you have time to analyze what is happening. Then, just as suddenly, it is gone; it comes and goes of its own volition. You don’t want to try to control it, or manipulate it. Of course, you couldn’t if you tried – you can’t tie the Universe to a kite string. You just want to be there with Him when it happens, and try to stay in that golden air for as long as you can possibly manage – and be kissed by that golden ray. To be just that – like a small and flimsy kite – flying in the powerful winds of eternity, not worrying whether the Almighty will be good to you. Have we not been told that all shall be well? Then the vision fades, and the moment is gone, and you are suddenly back in the real world again. For me, there is sometimes a speck of a glimmer that remains. Some fragment of a thought or a whisper of an idea. Even simply a blessing on the thoughts that follow. I always treasure those specks of light and tuck them away as small treasures brought away almost as if by accident – as if a tiny bit of stardust fell into a fold of my garment during the vision, and missed the closing gap as the shower of golden light receded. Maybe it meant to stay. Even t the tiniest speck of that golden light seems precious to me.

It is easy to question an experience like that later in the cold light of day – after the vision has gone. But the little rays of light I take away always seem a reminder and a ‘remainder’ of that moment when it felt like the heavens opened up, and a light came down and smiled on a girl who was looking for light. I can’t help the feeling of that knowledge deep in my soul. I don’t know exactly how I know it, but I have seen it happen too many times to think I am actually mad. But it is scriptural too, isn’t it? Have we not been told, “Ask, and ye shall receive?” And “Ye shall search for me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart?” I can’t help but feel – and that feeling is much more like knowing – that if you look for it, or ask for it, the light will always come. Others have said so too. It will not come “and do what you want it to,” but if you are honestly looking for it, The Light will come. And if we can be wise enough to try to be still in that presence and to recognize that in prayer, God may come down and touch our spirit for a moment, we can try to be open to Him and His Spirit in that space. He can do wonderful things that “we know not of.” My soul often feels blessed afterward. Not always ‘specially,’ or even specifically, but somehow I feel there has been a blessing. It feels like a tiny flower being warmed by the sun: the Sunshine of the Universe has cast its ray on me, even if only for a small moment. — Perhaps that is all we can endure. But it feels like a miracle to me.

~ Beth Frances 🌸


Watergirl View All →

Just a little flower, turning her face to find the sun. I don’t always feel his rays on me, but when I do, the warmth and the feeling is simply wonderful, and I never want to be in the shadows again. Isn’t he lovely?

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