Songs of Nature

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An Angel at the Shore

Why would God use such messengers? Maybe because they were the only way God could get God's message across to humans … the only way we would pay attention. But then one wonders why most of us...


Day 6

Written By Eyleen Farmer

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography


O LORD, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you. Let my prayer enter into your presence...
—Psalm 88:1-2

Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson; copyright 2010Presence. That hard to pin down quality of being with— so mysterious that we can hardly tell whether it’s real or not. Was that really your husband, the day after his funeral, standing at the foot of your bed? Could you possibly have caught a whiff of your mother’s perfume? Was there truly a hand on your shoulder? Or were you just imagining things?

When I first began my work as a hospice chaplain many years ago, I had little knowledge of or experience with grieving people. I would have dismissed any and all such claims as wishful thinking or figments of an over-active imagination. Certainly scientists and psychologists (many of them anyway) would say that occurrences like hearing the voice of your loved one or seeing their face or finding an object left by them are products of the brain’s forlorn attempt to come to terms with the loss. A coping mechanism, nothing more.

But during my years of working with people in the throes of grief, I heard so many reports of a deceased loved one’s presence that I became skeptical of my skepticism. Where, I started to wonder, is the boundary between heaven and earth? When, exactly, does the spirit leave the body? Are life and death absolute categories? The lines, I now believe, are less well-defined than I once thought.

The Nicene Creed, written in the fourth century, affirms that God is the “maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.” Which is another way of saying that our world is full of things not easily verified—or contradicted—by scientific investigation. Who am I to define the limits of what God can or cannot do? Who are you? People who have told me about visitations from deceased loved ones nearly always experience them as comforting, as gifts to be treasured. Three members of my immediate family have died—both of my parents and a brother, and I have never experienced a visitation of any kind. But how I would love to hear my mother’s lovely voice, or see my dad’s laughing eyes, or feel my brother’s bashful hug!
Wherever you are in your grief journey, whatever you believe, whatever experiences you’ve had or haven’t had, be assured that you are forever in the presence of the One who made all things.

O God, Maker of all things, seen and unseen, be present to me today. Amen.