I know that I have used Amy Kelly's version of "I Look to You" recently, but it is the song that was singing itself to me today.
As a bride, I never wore a veil. But I have designed and created many. As a little girl I was fascinated with all things bridal. I dreamed in shades of white and the palest blushing pink. Helping other girls plan their weddings, design their wedding dresses, making veils -- helped to vicariously fulfil many of those little girl dreams.
One afternoon, as I carefully sewed the last seed pearl on the gossamer edge of a custom fingertip veil --one that I was gifting to a dear friend for her wedding -- I decided to try it on to see if it fell evenly on both sides. I stood in front of the mirror and for the first few moments I couldn't see anything but the layers of soft illusion tulle. As I stood there, my preschool-age daughter came in the room with a hurt finger. Immediately my focus shifted from the pattern in the fabric -- just inches from my eyes -- to her sweet face. Suddenly, I was no longer aware of the fabric - just her need.
I remember in that moment having two insights. The first one was that when someone with a need was before me, I wasn't at all aware of the veil. The second was that when I actually loved what was beyond the veil -- more than wearing the veil and being a bride -- my sense of things shifted drastically. It was one of those epiphanies I have never forgotten.
A few weeks later a friend and I were driving back from a meeting in another city when rain started falling. At first I couldn't see anything but raindrops on the windshield, and I reached to turn on my windshield wipers. My friends suggested that I wait just a moment. She explained that her husband had shared with her that "looking beyond the veil" was like driving in the rain. At first you can only see the raindrops, but within a few moments your eyes adjust and you look beyond them and can see the cars on the road, the taillights in front of you, and the signs on the highway. She was right -- I could.
When I am focused on what I truly love -- and what I truly need to see -- the veil, the raindrops, the "in your face" sense of things - dissolves from focus.
Recently this was made very clear to me. After a stop-me-in-my-tracks realization about my relationship to God as "my first Love..." last Fall, one alarming situation after another seemed to present itself. I felt bombarded by personal demands and responsibilities. But I wasn't fooled this time -- at least not for the most part. This analogy of the veil was with me every day.
I saw myself as a bride, looking for her groom at the end of the aisle. As long as I was focused on what was "in my face" -- the details of each of the challenges I was facing -- I felt trapped by a quandary of decisions and obstacles. But when I was looking beyond my immediate circumstances, for the face of my first Love -- God, I was at peace. I wasn't distracted from my one true "goal," -- to know Him, to love Him, to trust Him.
Everything else was like the train behind a wedding dress -- it would come along. And it did. The more I focused on God, the less the "veil of matter" was even perceptible to me.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy has this to say in a paragraph with the marginal heading, "within the veil:"
"The nature of Christianity is peaceful and blessed, but in order to enter into the kingdom, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond matter must come through the joys and triumphs of the righteous as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. Like our Master, we must depart from material sense into the spiritual sense of being..."
As long as I was focused on myself as a bride -- all of my attention placed on how things were going to effect me and mine -- I wasn't going to see the real beauty of being wedded to my first Love. But the minute I sought His face -- continually -- the veil disappeared from my focal distance.
Elsewhere Eddy speaks of this shift in focus when she writes:
"Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms if they would gain the true sense of things. Where shall the gaze rest but in the unsearchable realm of Mind?"
Just as a bride looks beyond the veil to find the face of her beloved, so I am looking beyond the veil to rest my gaze on the "face" of my first love. Not as a means to an end. Not to rend the veil. But to feel at one with my greatest love.
And the great Love of my life is - well, Love -- pure and simple. Later in Science and Health Eddy writes:
"The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares. Then thought gently whispers: “Come hither! Arise from your false consciousness into the true sense of Love, and behold the Lamb’s wife, — Love wedded to its own spiritual idea.”
This is the wedding feast that never ends. This is the "place" where the Christ turns water into wine. This is the never-ending moment where we are robed in white and held in bliss.
offered with Love,