Thursday, May 22, 2008

In the Presence of the Lord

One of my favorite fiction authors is Janice Holt Giles. I have read all, or nearly all, her books (at least all that our local library had.) Most of her novels are set in the Green River area of Kentucky, and were written in the 1940’s.

My favorite of these is one titled, “Miss Willie.” Although it has been 20 years or more since I’ve read it, it remains very dear to me.

“Miss Willie” begins with a small boy - 5, 6, or maybe 7 years old - who is enamored by the wondrous sound of the birds singing every morning. He is very close to his mother who shares this love with him. Since none of the “men-folk” ever mention the birds, he is convinced that only he and his mother can hear them.

As the story goes, his mother dies during one summer leaving his father with several children, with this lad being the youngest. He has a very difficult time with the loss of his mother, and an even harder time going to school in the fall as there is a new school teacher - Miss Willie.

Miss Willie isn’t “from around here” as we would say. She is a “do-gooder” missionary woman who has come to the hills to teach at this school.

The young fellow (I don’t remember his name) is even more disturbed when his dad begins to “court” Miss Willie - and then when they eventually marry, he is even more upset and vows to “never love her” although her love for him is clearly evident.

I don’t want to give away the story for those who might want to read it, but one line from the book is etched in my mind (and heart.) Near the end of the book, as the little boy is engrossed in listening to the birds one morning, Miss Willie comes up behind him and says, “Aren’t they beautiful?”

He turns, and with a gasp says, “Oh Miss Willie! You can hear them, too?”

I think of this often when I think of my love for God, and my awareness of His presence. The following is one of the prayers, for one of these times…

You have brought me to a place, Oh Lord, of dizzying heights; a place where my breathing quickens and my heart beats a little faster. I just can’t get my mind “wrapped around it.” It is… I don’t know how to describe it… hyper-awareness of Your Presence and Spirit. I just seem to be engulfed by Your very Being.

Oh God! Even as “life” goes on around it - the washer, the dryer, the telephone - the “spell” is not broken. I am thankful that it is not like the elusive butterfly, where the slightest movement causes it to flutter away. No, Your Presence is all encompassing, ever present, ever near. Thank You for allowing me to be aware of Your Presence - Your Spirit.

God, sometimes I think I’m crazy. Does anyone else in the world sense You as I do? I’m nearly afraid to speak of it; afraid to get “that” look. Either the “look” is a glassy-eyed stare of incomprehension, or a pitying look of condescension. It’s either “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about” or “You poor thing. You really believe that, don’t you…?”

Yes, I do believe it, God. And I pray, my Father, that You will give me words to explain it.

In Jesus’ Name - Amen.

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