Walking past the pub, dry cleaner and our favorite curry restaurant, I hold the straps of a canvas bag filled with a bouquet of flowers; a thank you handed to me after a speaking engagement. Heels press into pink petal confetti strewn about the street like a dancers skirt laid out on the carpet and gently shaken.
Small tornados of flower petals rise in an exhale of gust and drift down, collecting in the architectural open spaces of concrete fences and iron gates, creating masterpieces of graduated color and texture.
I am witnessing what Frederick Buchner describes as, “The occasional, obscure glimmering through of grace. The muffled presence of the holy. The images, always broken, partial, ambiguous, of Christ.”
As I turn into Olympia Station, past the tree dressed in white, I cast a second glance over my shoulder as if the blossoms are saying something to me. I long for my camera but instead, frame the glory in my memory. Of a tree among saplings flourishing through a small square in the sidewalk.
Branches stretch out like the arms of Jesus, towering above roof lines.
Through the muffled presence of the holy comes this gem of truth: Being deeply rooted in faith leads to a beautiful life that stands out as different from the others.
That tree becomes a marker of remembrance waving to me each time I pass it.
When I enter the grocery store, fumbling with the trolley while excavating a list from deep pockets, a security officer speaks softly while making eye contact when I pass him. “I like the way that smile looks on your face.”
I know this is uncommonly British — to say what you think out loud to a stranger without motive — so I pay attention to everything after that.
When the cart pulls like a magnet to a display of fresh cut flowers I begin questioning myself. Why waste time here when a beautiful bouquet is already in my possession?
A woman pushes her cart next to mine, making remarks about prices and the meager selection. Chooses a bunch of bright faced Gerber daisies declaring they are fun instead of practical.
Choose joy in the midst of mundane responsibility.
An old woman hobbles slowly down the cheese aisle through a throng of Saturday shoppers holding lists and chiding children captivated by screens on cell phones. Her small frame steadied by the handle on a grocery cart drifts through crowded chaos like a life raft among a sea of ships carrying a message.
Life is brief and fragile, don’t lose focus.
As I push past an endcap of tissue, a man’s sharp voice interrupts a train of thought. He is bending down, wagging his index finger two centimeters from the face of a small boy who has yet to experience a full decade of life.
Children don’t know how to think like adults. Remember this when you are frustrated, angry and stressed. We don’t often see what rips open the scars harmful words have left but your prayers make a difference in healing them.
When startled from the stillness of sleep by the shrill sound of a truck clanging down your quiet street, it provides an awakening; a startling reminder of what you cannot see but know in your heart. The muffled presence of the holy hovers like a gentleman waiting for your acknowledgement.
He is not just an answer. He is flesh.
That one word prayer you utter is like a child’s faint voice breaking through a choir of mature voices – broken, needy and welcome.
There is a place, a season, a marker when Jesus becomes more than an answer, superstition, something you fit into your week. When truth and experience become inseparably linked.
It is not that He wasn’t always there like He is here. But instead of standing in the room at a safe distance He is in your personal space. Warm breath on your forehead, aroma of spring in a vase, fingers laced through yours when you cross the street.
How would you define “the occasional, obscure glimmering through of grace” in daily life? Tell me what that looks like for you in the comments.