At a recent meeting of my women's spirituality group we were in the middle of our meditation time and our host's phone rang. We heard the invitation on her answering machine, "Please leave a message." And then silence. No message. I thought about how often I am looking for, listening for, pleading for a message, but there is only silence. Perhaps, I am not awake or aware enough to detect the message.
Sometimes, however, a message is delivered in a bright and shiny God Moment. This past weekend we celebrated our grandson Peter's 5th birthday (How is that possible?) at a favorite restaurant. Big sister Maren, age 10 (How is that possible?), however, was not happy about being there. The cast party for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was held in this restaurant after the last performance right before Christmas. She loved being in that show and part of a big loving cast of terrific kids, and now here she was, reminded that it was over. She sat with her mother's arms around her, attempting to control her sobs. And then...Mom Kate spotted someone at another table whom she thought she recognized. The mother of one of the cast members. And yes, the daughter was with her. A happy reunion occurred, and Maren returned to the table content that a connection had been made. What was the message? Well, it is open to interpretation. "I am here." "All is well." In this case, it seems to me, the exact message isn't as important as the fact that a message was delivered and received with an open heart.
Sometimes I feel inundated with messages. The number of emails received in a day can be overwhelming. "You've got mail." Many are welcome. Some can be ignored and deleted immediately. Some just rest in my heart. Some are puzzling. Some make me laugh. Some cause me to pause and reflect. Some are avenues for greater learning and understanding.
Filtering and sorting and prioritizing is often necessary, but I do wonder sometimes what I have missed. What messages, what God moments, have I discounted or not noticed?
I count hawks when I am driving. Driving home from St Paul on Sunday I counted seven. The hawk, which stands for "messenger" in Native American culture, has been one of my personal totems for many years, and I recall many times when a hawk has appeared when I have felt lost, unclear and uncertain, and vulnerable. A hawk appearance reminds me to be observant, to pay attention, and to see the bigger picture and "to move through the world we inhabit with strength, certainty, and grace." (Animal-Speak, The Spiritual and Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small by Ted Andrews).
I know the message I most want to hear right now. "There's an offer on your house." That has not happened. Yet. It is disconcerting to come home and find the light on the phone blinking and then to discover no message has been left. Does it mean "you must be present to win?" Yes, in a way, it does. Hawk reminds me to remember that there is always a bigger plan beyond what it is I think I most want right now. My task is to focus on what truly needs my attention. Be observant. Stay awake and see what is not visible. Be present.
I encourage my inner being to be open to the messages being sent my way every day and to respond to them with an open heart.
What messages are waiting to be received into your open heart?