“The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.” Alan Watts
Last night I was thinking about my visit to the emergency room this past Friday, mixed with the current comings and goings of my symptoms and the thought came to me, “What if you are gone within two weeks of that visit?” It wasn’t a depressing or dark thought in my mind. It was simply a “what if” question…seemingly out of nowhere. The first and immediate answer was that “I’m not ready. I need to raise Sean and I have more to do here.” There was no follow up question.
I didn’t think much of it after that and within a few hours, I went to bed.
At about 1 a.m., I found myself in a semiconscious “between sleep” state, at which point I started hearing what I perceived as ethereal stringed instruments. Like an intricate, interwoven string section creating melody and harmony that I’d never heard before….ebbing and flowing like ocean waves. This morning, I described it to a friend as “living music”. At first I thought someone might have left some music on in the living room…that was until I recognized the uniqueness of the sounds I was hearing. The music grew in intensity a bit and I began to become completely alert. At that moment, I sat up with a start and heard the beauty of that music seamlessly dissipate into the drone of the traffic noise coming from the highway a mile or two away. Again my first thought was….”I’m not ready. I need to raise Sean first.”
Now to be clear, I’m not saying I’m that dying but it did make me wonder about how close the two worlds really must be and what that transition must be like. I remember speaking with my younger cousin numerous times as he was battling cancer. As he was getting closer to his own transition, I asked him if he ever saw or heard anything unusual. Amongst other things, he would tell me about seeing colors he couldn’t describe and feeling a warmth and a “pure love” as he called it. He was never scared of these things but I believe, strengthened and encouraged. In fact, he told me that he wasn’t afraid to go, he just felt for his family (it’s worth noting that it was during his cancer battle that he became a believer and put his trust in Jesus for his salvation).
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
What I also thought back on was how the waves of music pulled back like a tide rolling out to sea….back into the sound of the traffic….and I began to wonder…. In the rush of our lives, how much beauty do we miss when it’s hidden in the simpleness of everyday living? What is really hidden behind all that we take for granted? Our kids, our spouse, our friendships, our family, the kind word of a stranger, the homeless man asking for change? What is lingering there just underneath the surface….just out of our conscious reach….yet is there and could be more real than our current perception of sight/smell/hear/taste/touch reality?
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (New Living Translation)
So what could we do with this in a practical sense? I would encourage you to be on the lookout for those glimpses of hidden beauty. Be aware that there is much more going on around us than we would realize. I feel that even with being aware of this reality, I would probably miss more than I would ever take in. That being said, I also believe God loves to surprise His kids….but we need to be willing to see it.