When Night Falls

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          It has been quiet weeks. An endless stream of activities with threads of quiet woven through. Busy though I was, I roamed my inner home, very much bare and unadorned. Looked out the plain windows to skies of sunrises and sunsets that seemed to shift and evolve, telling me something I am not able to understand. Something is out there. But completely hidden from me, I thought, mildly vexed. Hidden perhaps because I was not emptied enough. From time to time, though, the mists would part slightly, for the briefest of minutes, and I would be allowed a glimpse of something,  quick flash of understanding, before the breath of angels blew the hazes into place again.

          Lately, mountains have been tugging at me. The mountains of Italy, specifically. When I am stressed, tired, Italian slopes and summits feel like dew on crushed leaves. Why mountains, why Italy – I am not sure. Is it a call to further pull away, and go into God’s heart, as Jesus did?

          And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and He passed the whole night in the prayer of God – Luke 6:12

          I tried it but withdrawing into the mountains to invoke the name of God only worked as long as I was home on leave with the hours to spare; most days, my hectic working life and family needs kept me firmly rooted to the plains. Praying as I worked? Yes, it worked sometimes; often, those prayers dangled like the wash drying in the wind.

          And yet, the bell from the mountains continued to chime its call.

          Holy Mother, teach me what I need to know, I prayed twice when I was done cracking my head over mountains and hills.

          This morning, as the rain-soaked night hours awakened to the blush of a demure sunrise, the Blue King sat on a sodden tree branch by my door and caught my spirit before it scurried into busyness. As I heard his throaty warble which had seldom fallen on my years in the months past, I knew St Francis of Assisi was calling, for this was his sign to me – the call of his blue-robed emissary – the kingfisher. With the same hidden call woven into its avian melody- Quieten Down, Listen Up.

          So, I quieted myself as much as I could. In the stillness of a dew-blessed morning reluctant to bloom pink, I waited.

          And waited.

          There was nothing. The winds chose to play elsewhere. The fat white puffs that ruled over the bright blue skies took my questions but stared back solemnly at me. No answer was forthcoming. But I was hardly troubled. A new kind of quiet had made its home within me in recent days. The pot bubbled a little less.

          When the tangerine evening winds lifted their arms to welcome the sable mists, I had the house to myself for some precious minutes. Into the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I sank my spirit.

          As the minutes streamed into hours, the angel lifted the mists for wee breaths, and Mother Teresa answered my prayer. To go into the mountains was not a journey to be planned and fitted into a schedule. The mountains was a place I was going to be taken to. Lifted by unseen hands, beyond my control, away from comfort and appeasement. Surrounded by beauty and love that would fall upon my eyes and ears and heart, dew that would nourish and strengthen my soul, but not touch my spirit in a way I can feel its consolations. From afar, I am given a glimpse of the ethereal beauty of slopes and summits where I will call home. The peace on those mountains wets and soaks into my spirit now.

          Because the memory of this must sustain me when night falls.

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