When I was a child, I pictured God with a long white beard. I believe it was an image I had seen in the New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism. I can visualize the actual page in my mind right now....he had white hair, a white beard and a white robe...always with his arms extended toward the children in the picture. Even though I have matured quite a bit since then (now I'm the one with the white hair....and I have to work diligently to keep away a white beard!), my vision of God is still the same. How does that happen? The God of my childhood is still very much the God of my adulthood.
I received the sacrament of confirmation when I was in the eighth grade. During our preparation, I spent a lot of time trying to visualize the Holy Spirit. Of course, the image of a descending dove was in the forefront of my mind, but I had another image that really symbolized how the Holy Spirit could be everywhere and touch everyone at the same time......wind. In my mind, I can see a billowy cloud with a face, cheeks puffed out blowing the wind...the Holy Spirit into the air. This image has also stuck with me through the years.
A few weeks ago, on our overnight trip to Gold Head State Park, I heard the voice of God in the wind! I really don't know if it was an audible voice or not. I know it was LOUD and I know I heard it in my heart and my mind. Very early in the morning, Dan had taken the kids on a walk. I was sitting alone on the screened porch, drinking my coffee. It was quiet....oh so quiet! The quiet that I long for! The only sound I heard were the birds chirping, a distant frog croaking.....and the wind. Did you know that you can actually see wind? You can. If you sit very still, and watch the trees...you can see it coming! You can follow it from yards and yards away. It comes closer...sometimes fast, sometimes slow. But it comes. The trees and leaves sing it's arrival. As I saw it coming, I closed my eyes. I heard the wind say...."I Am Here. I Am here in the midst of this place, in the midst of your life. I Am here in the midst of your laughter and your tears, your sorrow and your joy. I am here in the midst of your cancer, in the midst of your mothering. I Am in the midst of every breath you take. I AM Here and I love you!"
It was a very profound moment for me. It was a gift. A special moment between the God who called me into being and my depleted soul. God breathed life into me again, And now, during the difficult times, I breathe deeply the loving, life giving wind of the Holy Spirit!
The next time you have the chance....watch the wind. Hear the wind. Allow the Holy Spirit to wrap His loving arms around you and breathe life into you. In this quiet, your soul will be refreshed.