Irrational Flashes of Grace
It was nice to be able to sit by Dad’s bedside, just him and me. He is still hooked up to an oxygen tube, so it’s not very easy for him to talk. But he talked with me at length about the two unpublished novels he has written – I knew about one, a historical novel set in the 1800’s, and I had read parts of it, but I thought the other one was just a short story, not a novel. He asked me to download them from his computer next time I give Mother a ride to the hospital from their home in Jasper. The second novel appears to be a semi-autobiographical story about a young boy growing up in the 1950’s, dealing with the traumatic divorce of his parents. There are three angelic beings in the story, visible only to the main character. The three angelic beings represent benevolence, malevolence, and Light (divine wisdom). My dad wants to know if I think the angelic characters should be taken out, leaving only the human ones.
I haven’t read the novel yet, but I really like the idea of the angelic characters. I’ve written here before about feeling “irrational flashes of anger” during the past month my dad has been in the hospital (and I still experience those), but I’m also feeling “irrational flashes of grace.” I felt one yesterday, after my dad was wheeled off to have the CT scan. Riding down the elevator to get something to eat (this new hospital has a Chick-fil-A and a Starbucks), I felt the overwhelming sense that, in the words of Julian of Norwich, All Will Be Well. No matter what happens, the hand of Providence – perhaps the benevolent angel my dad wrote about – is present and active. It was an amazing sense of peace and grace.
I’d had another “irrational flash of grace” this past Sunday morning at Gentle Spirit Christian Church, as Pastor Paul was preaching on the Gospel passage about Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). Paul focused on that moment when Peter was trying to walk on the water himself and started to sink – the moment of drowning, when Jesus reached out his hand to pull Peter back up. I don’t remember everything Pastor Paul said about that moment when Peter’s faith clashed with his doubt, but I do remember feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit as Paul was preaching, bringing a tear to my eye and to eyes of others who were listening. I remember learning – in the heart, not just the head – that in those moments when everything seems to go wrong, Jesus is there with an outstretched hand, pulling me up, calling me to go “outside myself” in faith.
I am deeply grateful to Pastor Paul (and the Spirit who inspired his sermon) for that reminder. I am grateful that the differences that have kept my dad and me from communicating freely in the past have been overcome and he feels free enough to share his writing with me. And I am grateful, as always, for you – the many friends and cyberfriends who continue to hold my dad and my family in their prayers.