An Angel in the Trees?
My daughter took this picture earlier this week, capturing the sunset through the old growth cedars in our front yard.
Immediately, we saw the Angel in the image. The orb floating above the Angel's head was just as I'd painted it so many times before, and just as I last saw it when I was a little girl.
The colors - I see majenta purple and turquoise blue, what do you see? - have been at the center of our artistic focus recently. I didn't know until we looked it up that some say purple and blue are associated with the Archangel Michael. I don't know if that is true....
What I DO know is that I recognized the image immediately.
Is it just an artifact of light interacting with the camera?
It could be; in fact it probably is to some degree...but that's not the point.
My faith is built upon the dizzying discomfort AND total contentment of Mystery at the level Being itself. No evidence is needed.
Furthermore, I see the work of God in every spark of insight received while reading scripture, or the quiet knowing that emerges when I step back from a new painting. For me, it's the synchronicity in a moment of need, or in this case a photograph at just the right moment for my daughter and I.
In these everyday examples, some might see accidents or normal brain function; whereas I see grace moving to help us first notice, then feel (awe, doubt, fear, connection, love....)
Like many people, I often find myself wondering... Has anyone else experienced this?
Thank goodness for mentors, Spiritual Directors, Professors, Clergy and others. They've helped to normalize such experiences as I've walked a path of theological learning that began with a walk into Mystery -Aquired Savantism post concussion.
Residing within a giant mountain forest, our life is shared with a vast community of trees. My daughter and I have long looked to the grand old growth cedars as sacred sentinels, guardians, and even angels - YES ANGELS - that protect, cleanse, offer shelter, give strength and cradle those in need of prayer.
As I looked at this image while writing this post, I was suddenly speechless when I realized that the photo was taken beside my very special tree Samuel, named after
1 Samuel verse 3, "Speak God, thy humble servant is listening."
This prayer, one night in early November 2011, changed my life.
Thus, in my eyes, it's no accident that the image of an Angel appeared between the trees, on our little farm, right next to Samuel's low hanging boughs where I often pray with friends and meditate quietly alone.
Was this a REAL Angel or NOT?
Does it matter? I don't think this image needs to be dissected and evaluated according to human scientific norms. That's not the point. Rather, this image brought immediate awe and a sense of comfort to both my daughter and I on a difficult day. Thus, we felt the grace of meaning as we paused to photograph seemingly normal nature scenes on an otherwise routine day. It was my daughter who felt compelled to capture the beautiful clouds, the rays of light and ultimately the sunset which revealed an incredible image...
I'm deeply grateful that we missed our appointment that day; that we paused to take pictures; that we noticed the image and allowed it to move us deep within our hearts; and finally, having witnessed the brilliance of Spirit within Nature, we offered gratitude to the Source of all that IS (a scientific and theological Mystery, always just beyond human comprehension -unobjectifiable- that I choose to call God).
Thank you God.