From Monday, when I began my simple 3 day novena to prepare for the feast day, my chest would tighten every time I thought about it. Was it anticipation? Perhaps. But I cannot be sure, because there was an underlying anxiety. An undercurrent of premonition.
But the 25th of today dawned incredibly beautiful. Deep azure skies, a strong sun. Flowers in wild and joyful bloom, dancing in rhythm to the mischievous winds toying with them. Even my morning’s frisson of unease evaporated in the face of such sunny happiness.
Yet, I continued to gently press my heart against Heaven. Give me Thy sign.
And then, it came. But it was nothing like I had been stiffening and tightening up for.
Instead, an unseen gentleness quietly led me on a little journey down an old lane of memory. I was brought back to verses that have never failed to quieten and still me.
Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound. ~ 1 Kings 19: 11 – 12
I know it should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. Not until today.
I had always wondered what on earth that strong and violent wind, that earthquake, that fire – referred to. I would scan headlines and reports about Mother Earth revolting, laying my heart against each one, trying to find a common rhythm that told me I had found the answer.
But each attempt was futile. I was brought to the gates and each time, left there, not allowed in. Until today. Today, the gates opened slightly. And even from the humble spot where I was, I suddenly understood what had been hitherto hidden from my spirit of understanding.
And the wind, the earthquake, the fire – all now referred to inner churnings in my life.
There had been strong and violent winds, earthquakes, fire even, in my personal and professional life for many years. I had struggled with and through each one, sometimes pulling through, often failing. Each fall went on to generate another set of wild winds, a series of earthquakes, endless fires as I fought fear, tears and frustrations.
But early this year, I began to sense something had changed in me. Outwardly, I seemed to be the same. Some days I even fooled myself. Yet, it was evident that I was no longer who I was. Although I worked very hard at my job, although the pace was terrible this year, something else held fort within me, holding me back from the edge of the cliff. I knew that something was the December dream which warned of a complete and no-turning-back burnout.
Suddenly, with that dream, I knew that I could no longer allow any external wind, earthquake or fire to destroy me and my body and my peace of mind. No matter what blew or shifted or raged, I had to take charge.
I had to flee to the hills of my God and my faith.
And so I did. Many days, it sure didn’t seem like it, but if I forgot one day, I made amends the next day. Slowly, I learned something that has always been so hard for me – saying No, saying Stop. I did it at work. I did it at home too. Sure, that didn’t make some people too happy with me, but they needed to hear it.
And now with the Covid-19 Movement Control Order in place, today extended by an additional 2 weeks, although I am working from home, I no longer have to contend with the worst of outside winds, earthquakes or fires. A clear break has come.
Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady came to softly tell me it was time to eradicate, obliterate even the few inner winds, earthquakes or fires which may come to life from time to time as I navigate the roads of fear, worry and tension of this terrible pandemic. She came today to tell me it is time I leaned against Her and the communion of saints who are family to me, in order to fight myself, to fight back against the winds, earthquakes and fires of my emotions and temperaments.
To still all that breaks, shifts and rages within me.
Because it is in that ensuing peace and stillness that I will finally hear the small, still sound of my God.
And with that victory, I will finally lean forever against the Heart of my beloved Jesus.