I have come to see the world as a metaphor, nearly everything which happens to us is screaming to be understood through the eye of spirit, we just need to reflect long enough to hear the message.
The awe of an unexpected experience opens us up in a moment but its significance can hover throughout our life trying to reveal it’s great wisdom.
I first met my husband’s mother, Dometila on the ranch, in a black soot filled kitchen with a low roof and dirt floor in Mexico. The community all agreed she made the finest cheese anywhere.
I did not know the significance of her fame for making cheese till one day we sat together as she made some. I had come into the kitchen after she had prepared the goat milk by boiling it on an open wood hearth and it was cooling in the metal can in the corner with a towel over the top. She situated the large can of milk by the door and straddled herself on a low stool just behind the bucket.
She dropped a tiny piece of dried goat stomach into the milk and sat there doing nothing. After 5 minutes or so she leaned forward and gently submerged both hands deep down into the very warm milk up to her elbows. She sat there with me never saying a word and only one or two small movements with her arms in the milk.
It looked to me like she was adjusting her spine or shoulders as she sat still as stone for about 15 minutes. Then with no warning or explanation she slightly leaned back. She pulled her arms up out of the milk, between her two dark wrinkly old hands came a perfect ball of white curd, shinny smooth ready to put in the bag to press out the whey, making seen the Unseen.
Amazing! Icons are like that!
They are made by millions of tiny quiet intentional brushstrokes, which become beauty and nourishment for the soul. The story is significant for me because she seemed to have made something out of nothing, she transformed liquid into solid, she made flesh out of spirit.
I was raised up like that lump of curd, lifted out of my 60 years of effort and made into a walking icon; I didn’t even notice what was happening. The thing is, we all come from the same kind of milk, the good stuff is turned into cheese and nutrition for others, and the whey from the milk is left behind.
In every interaction God is revealed.
This iconographer has learned how to be lifted up by God from all that is broken, confused and stagnant. No matter what the discomfort, joy, challenge, breakdown or conquest: this god I have come to know transforms us in an instant.
I have been held by you for a long time and now see you are raising me up out of myself. It does not feel like me anymore.
Once in a prayer group I was leading, everyone had left and I was left alone in the chapel feeling my conversation with god was not finished. Suddenly something split open, as if some entity had entered me from behind, a new body was sitting inside me.
I waited still as stone thinking, who is this? I heard a voice say “it is I”. I responded by asking “have you always been here within in me?” I waited. Then very quietly I said, almost imperceptibly, “You must live this way within each of us”. Then there was long silence and I heard “Yes…so few have noticed.” I left the chapel in tears of joy and remorse.
It is bold to say I am a walking icon. Each human is an icon made like a reflection; we see the vessel which the divine lives in. We are making seen the Unseen. I am only one among many. I want to shout to others reminding them how God’s grace is active in everyone and everything.