Original post: February 22, 2011.
I haven’t stepped foot in a church in a long time–years. And I haven’t done much praying either. But the night before I was getting on a plane for the first time in almost 2 decades, I asked my brother to pray for me. He said he would be happy to. Pausing for a few long seconds, he began with the ease he would have in a conversation with me. “Father in heaven..” It was a long prayer. I don’t remember it all. What I do remember is Andrew asking that Christ be revealed to me in the people I would encounter. Perhaps in a gesture, a smile, or in the simple observation of someone’s ease to help me feel at ease; to know I was not alone. To know I was safe and loved in God’s hands.
That plane ride was wonderful. It was truly a gift I gave to myself as I was so sure that I was never going to be able to fly for the rest of my life. I had too many years of building a fear of it. But events in my life made it possible to have a thought, a single thought, that I could get myself on a plane. That thought opened the door to checking out plane fares online–no commitment, just looking. Then a few days later, booking the flight with actual excitement.
So, every moment about the flight was magical. From the 4 hour drive to the airport, to walking through the airport, to meeting a sweet older couple who seemed to enjoy taking me under their wing. Even though I felt I didn’t need their help, I remembered my brother’s blessing and saw Christ in them. What I know to be real for me, which I can not help because this is how I was raised, is that Christ, or however we perceive a power higher than us, truly is everywhere. It is only up to us to be awake to feel and see.
I saw it in the bright blue sky. In the gentleman siting next to me on the plane who did not speak to me. I saw it in my Sudoku book. I saw it in my awareness that being in a plane for a few hours can be boring. BORING! Isn’t that amazing.
When we were landing, my body jutted forward and I was scared for the first time in the whole event. I looked to the flight attendant–her expression was “business as usual” and I held onto that with my eyes glued to her until we came to a slow speed. She was my biggest Christ.
I wonder how many people cling to the normalness the flight attendants exude.
Anyway, that was over a year ago. I had to take another flight recently. I called my brother for his blessing. Even though I feel like a big girl, now that I have taken a plane, I am not above another blessing.
My brother’s blessing put my mind on the right track. Reminding me to look for Christ. To know God has gone before me. Knows everything about this flight, this trip, who I will talk to, what I will learn.
I know a lot of us, me included, like to see the sacred in beautiful things. I am so grateful to acknowledge sacred in the places I once feared. I’m grateful for my brother to remind me to look for it, with the generosity and ease of his prayer that moved me to tears.
Most recently, I’ve had a close loved one pass. His name is, was Scott. I keep finding the sacred in the obvious places like the people reaching out to me. In the bright blue sky. The full moon that has soothed me for days. But also in the unlikely places, places feared, like going to the place he died. In hard phone calls I’ve needed to make. And in places where there is no fear–like the laughter and humor in the midst of sadness. In his brother’s turn of a phrase that would be just what Scott would say.
I’ll be stepping into a church again in a few days for his funeral. And I will take my brother’s blessing, and the many, many blessings given to me, finding the scared in all who love him, love me and in all that surrounds me.