For some time I have had a picture of Jesus embracing a child in a hug. In this picture, however I see the woman receiving comfort in this embrace. The muted colors reflect tenderness to me. Even moments of tenderness can carry a huge impact on your soul. I tend to close my eyes attempting to block the outside world from interfering with my feelings. The arms of Jesus are supporting the child and drawing her close into his love. Jesus also has his eyes closed so he is also focused on this moment in time. Jesus even seems to be using his head to further extend his love to this child.
I can remember holding my children close to me in much this same pose. Looking back at the child her right hand seems to be clutching to Jesus’ shoulder.
I am describing this picture with such care because it closely represents much of what I was gifted with this weekend during a guided meditation. We were initially led into a church with large heavy doors.
I was at first in a church we had visited while in Barcelona a few months ago. I could easily picture the massive doors. The exterior surface was covered with cut out raised words. You could easily trace the letter of each word with your fingers. The name of Jesus was highlighted in gold and could easily be read.
As the meditation progressed I found myself in another European church with the typical smaller altars lining both sides of the inside walls. I am kneeling there to pray for my friend, which I had actually done, when I began to feel this warmness.
My friend was embracing me; our hearts were merging and the tears were beginning to well up in my eyes. I remember thinking I wanted to wipe them aside, but I did not want to move for fear of spoiling the moment. I remained still letting this embrace be enough to fill my heart with her love.
I think God used this special time to let me know that she would be with me during the rest of the weekend. Towards the end of the meditation time we were asked to touch the place on our body where we experienced God’s glory, I think, anyway I could only touch my heart. I felt her embracing my heart much as I had felt her hugging me physically many times before.
I did not want to let the moment pass, but I knew it was not meant to last. This picture above is a wonderful snapshot of a moment frozen in eternity.
I felt her presence with me at other times during the weekend too. She was beside me during many conversations I had with the other women. She knew most of the women present. She never met a person she did not remember on subsequent occasions.
If she met you she cared about you it was that simple. So she would not have missed the opportunity this weekend to be with those she knew.
So in spite of not really wanting to be on this retreat I know now it was a blessing of peace. It was a blessing of reassurance of her presence. I know Jesus said he would be with us until the end of time.
So if my dearest friend is with him in heaven, which I have no doubt she is, then it seems reasonable to me that she would also be with me until the end of time. Without the hindrance of her physical body she can now be with many at the same time, family and friends.
The beauty of the ‘spirit’ of a person is that there are no boundaries, but only a thin separation as some call the ‘veil of death’. Shortly before my friend became ill my sister was inspired to paint her in an embrace with Jesus similar to this image.
This week as celebrate Valentine’s Day my heart is rejoicing at the friendship and love we shared for so many years. Sending my valentine wishes via thoughts and prayers sprinkled with joy for all the times we shared together.
I invite you to pause tomorrow and think about those who have been a part of your life and touched your soul in a special way. They are with you if only in your heart.