I often find myself traveling on Interstate 10W toward Los Angeles. As I reached the top of the hill that separates San Gabriel Valley from the Inland Empire this morning I was disappointed to see that the smog was so thick I couldn’t see the LA skyline through it at all. Most days I can at least see the high rises downtown, even though they may be partially obscured beneath the brown haze. Just two days ago the sky was so clear there wasn’t any brown in the sky at all. The sky was clear and bright blue. The skyline gleamed and sparkled, making me think of the Emerald City.
It seemed to me that this is a(nother) metaphor for our spiritual life. There are times when we are surrounded, subsumed by a brown funk. Our pain, depression, illness, grief - whatever it is that has us in its grip - is so deep that we can’t see God at all. It is as if God isn’t even there. We feel alone and in despair.
There are other times when, although still in the midst of our trials, we can see, as “in a glass dimly” the reality of our God in the distance. We know that God is there, we know that God is accessible, we know that all we have to do is reach out through the pain and we will find that God there holding on to us, anchoring us. We know hope.
And there are times when, regardless of what we are experiencing in life, we can see our connection with God so clearly that our hearts gleam and sparkle. Those are the times when we know for a fact that God is with us no matter what is going on in our lives. Those are the days when we can face even the most difficult circumstances with serenity and confidence. We know that no matter what happens, we will be ok.
And so I pray: Holy One, help me to always see you gleaming and sparkling just ahead, leading me into your kingdom of peace and love. Amen.