"...I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened
by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now
Be with me now
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven..."
Like Kathy Matthea's "Mary Did You Know," Sara Groves' "Breath of Heaven" fills my heart whenever I think about a young girl, a gentle man, a babe of promise, and a quiet manger on a starry night.
In her small volume, The Handmaid and the Carpenter, Elizabeth Berg writes of Mary's time in the manger:
"A hard pain came upon her. She rose up, clenched her teeth, and pulled on the rope. When the pain subsided, she lay back down and allowed herself one more moment of pity for her poor circumstances: She lay on the floor of a stranger's stable. Somewhere, water dripped. The air was foul with the scent of the animals and their droppings. Wind blew in through the cracks in the walls. She closed her eyes. So be it."
"So be it"...
And we wonder where a young man learned to say, "Into thy hands I commit my spirit?"
This story has no season. This story cannot be assigned, or relegated to, a single holy day. It is a story that serves us every day, and for me, its holds it greatest promise at night...in moments raw with the cold chill of despair, and rancid with fear, doubt, uncertainty, and pain. Moments when I must go deeper. Moments when the stillness of my inner life outweighs the drama of the ego's stories. Moments when I am aware of the profound importance of spiritual in-vironmentalism and my role as an invironmental advocate.
I remember a night, one winter, when the snow blew under the doorjamb, the cold bit into my bones while I shoveled the walk, and tears froze to my bottom lashes - hard and sharp against my cheeks. My heart was heavy with questions which were piling up like the heavy snow I coud barely lift, and the thoughts that pierced my peace were as relentless as the driving ice storm that had blown through earlier in the day.
And there were no answers. Are there ever?
But then something fluttered onto my heart as soft and perfect as a snowflake:
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it unto me according to Thy Word."
And suddenly, there was nothing but the quiet of a starry night. The clouds broke, the winds stilled, the snow still fell gently from somewhere high in a sky as black and clear as a bottomless quarry.
In the wake of surrender my new question became:
How would You have me navigate this moment? How can I love more like You? How shall I behave towards others in service to You? How should I speak to him, her, them?
And the answers came as easily, and as sweetly, as a perfectly formed snowflake . Love unconditionally, be impartially kind, sincere, honest, consistently gentle, be acceptingly open, be willing to adapt, listen deeply, serve humbly, give generously...judge no one.
It was no longer a question of why, but only how...how to be, moment-by-gently-falling-moment...and there was a great calm and the storm ceased...and within the environment, the invironment, of my deepest thought, there was nothing but a manger.
...with a breath of heaven.
living in the "how" of His love...
Kate Robertson, CS