Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it! How awesome is this place!
This is none other than the house of God,
and this is the gate of heaven.
[Genesis 28: 16-17]
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing
is holy ground.
[Exodus 3: 5]
Words are curious things. Take nowhere for example. Nowhere is an expression of absence, emptiness or loss. If something is nowhere then it ceases to exist, or at the very least is so far from view or reach that it seems to be. At our most lost and confused we can feel ourselves to be nowhere and it is not a good place to be.
Yet look more closely at the word - break it open - and nowhere becomes now here. This moment, this place is filled with presence; now and here is an event taking place and awaiting an audience. It is the smallest of all fractions, and it is full of all that exists.
Here and now is the meeting place of your deep longing and God’s deep giving
A fruitful meeting…
A deep breath…
A resting place…
Listen to the sounds of this place, giving all your attention to your hearing...louder sounds and quieter...from close by and from distant places...with different tones and textures.
Look at what is around you – the shapes and the colours, the light and the shadow...take your time...this is a deep breath between all that activity... and God is in this deep breath.
As you stay in this meeting place you may become aware of your physical self...the weight of your feet on the floor, the relaxation of your fingers as you let them uncurl, the slow rhythm of your breathing. Take time to be with yourself in this way, for God meets you here.
Your feeling self may also greet you: – the lightness or heaviness, tiredness or energy, gratitude or sorrow. Receive your feeling self gently – as a guest in this place. A name for how you feel in this moment may come to you. Acknowledge its presence with you but also let it go – allow it to rest.
In this meeting place your thoughts will come and go. They might want to hustle you out of this moment, telling you there’s somewhere more important you need to be. But there’s nowhere more important for this moment than here and now – where God is. Even hurry and worry deserve to rest for a while.
In this meeting place God may speak or be silent – either way is good.
Speech may flow from your heart to God, in words or in stillness.
If you meet God here – in this place, in this moment of time, you can meet God again
Whenever you want, wherever you are
Today and tomorrow, wherever you find yourself
God is here, God is now
Life may be brimming over with experiences, but somewhere deep inside, all of us carry a vast and fruitful loneliness wherever we go.
And sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths; or the turning inward in prayer for five short minutes.
[Etty Hillesum An Interrupted Life: The diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943, Persephone Books]