The white cumulous clouds turned to a purplish-greenish hue and the surrounding ambient light commenced becoming darker. Silent as fog, an odd stillness, as if on little cat feet pervaded the neighborhood. Weirdly attached to the underbelly of these clouds were bulbous projections looking like cotton balls. We turned on the radio to find out that all over the entire Denver metro area there were numerous tornado sightings in many sectors of the area. Family dived into the basement. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to see what was going on. Out the door into the back yard. The glance up. One of the big whoops of my entire life! I was looking up and into the inside of a tornado. The circular ring’s inner wall carried many large pieces of homes and yard stuff (no cows like the movies) flying around in a circle around me. I dove for safety. Two adults clutching their brand new baby. Hanging onto each other for life. So many precious items awry and pinned into this circling cloud around an unstable, transient, and invisible center twisting what had seemed to be both valued and set.
Deep in our psyches there are so many personal consequential assumptions, hopes, dreams, and expectations flying around up in the air that in our times are not rooted, grounded, planted, and anchored. We want our favorite ones to be, but they aren’t anchored. We attempt to live as though what we deeply depend upon is forever set and firm. We know better, but daily life runs along the currents of habits seemingly giving us the space and comfort to be alive in our preferred and needed way. My coffee machine will work in the morning. My heart will tick tock steadily while I sleep. My loved ones, wherever they are in this moment, are well and safe. The seas of life are calmer, less anxious, and stressed as we make certain assumptions we use as anchor points.
Wholeness and internal consistency are the results of living from a centering point of faith in something that actually is eternal, abides, and abounds within each of us. Like that tornado with so many things spinning up in the air that a minute before had been anchored, settled, and placed, we all too often pin our psychological trust in many things that in an instant can be flicked up into the air beyond our clutch that can then flit twirling overhead away from us. We can become aware of this centering point of aliveness that is holy, steady, dependable, loving, and caring. This turning point of our lives that can become familiar yet is always new and surprising because it’s a strange attractor amidst chaos. This invisible centering point absorbed as an ultimate concern uplifts us miraculously and we learn to see the same uplifting in others. Our source of love, patience, wisdom, and awe. Abiding between us ALL.
One morning hours after arising, I stood by our front window peering up on the wooded hill across the street. The sun rose and a small tree ignited with morn’s dawning first notes of light. The sparkle in the tree like a thousand diamonds dazzled my eyes. I thought of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3. “The bush was blazing , yet it was not consumed.” In a chaotic moment the certainty of this strange attractor unleashed uncertainty. Moses heard the voice of God, “…the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Many assumptions about nature and life were upset and tossed up into the air for Moses. In that moment of things being topsy-turvy Moses needed something to ground himself in. The voice in the midst of disconcerting events spoke, you are standing on holy ground. This ground of the eternal’s play is steady and sure. As we look up at all the stuff of life that’s up in the air right now take off your sandals and hear this same voice intonating that the ground on which you stand is sacred. I am. Simple. Short. Steady. Sure. Surprising. When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. (Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”)
PS- Here’s a picture of my burning bush this morning. Honest it’s still there.