Comforting Words: Blessings in the Storm

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blessings in the Storm

Her question was simple enough. Yet, I had to pause to allow the tears [of a deep sense] of joy to fall.

This genteel Catholic nun who has taken on the task of guiding my spiritual life surprised me with her recall of the name of the Kirk Franklin compact disc “Songs for the Storm Volume I.”

“Claudette,” she softly asked, “did you experience God through the storm?”

I wanted to be poetic and say “let me count the ways.” Instead, I cried as I struggled for the words to explain the “peace that passeth all understanding,” that is welling up from the pit of my soul. Finally, I was able to share the stories, as an example, of my first internet dating experience and the ones subsequent with her.

My little nun laughed heartily as she sweetly affirmed the fact that she noticed that I no longer question or allow anyone to question my intuition or gut feelings. “Walk gently my child as you continue to explore the fullness of Sofia who is you,” she said as we hugged goodbye.

Her question stayed with me as I drove away and I decided to create a mental 'God Experience Journal'. Each time I consciously recognized the presence of the Divine, I would note it and thank Him.

It was Friday afternoon (March 23) and as I left the ‘monastery’, I made my way across town to lie on a bed and allow another woman to gently guide me – this time to meet my body – the temple of the Divine.

This was one doctor’s order (psychologist’s) that I am so glad I followed. Like so many women who survived childhood sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence, my connection with my body has been very tenuous to say the least and through these sessions, I am learning to no longer be ashamed of and therefore disassociate from my body.

It was my third session with K and as her hands finally ran over my left hand, I said to her “K, for the first time, I was totally with you!” She understood. I made a mental note in my 'God Experience Journal'.

As is now my routine, after my massage session I picked up my senior citizen for supper. Earlier that day I had called her to find out what she wanted to do – whether she wanted to go out or should I bring something over as she was not feeling too well. “What do you feel for my love?” I asked.

“I feel Italian,” she replied and so we headed for the nearest Olive Gardens (her favourite place) and while we waited for a table we "visited" – that’s the Canadian equivalent of the Jamaican saying "we draw long bench.”

My next notation in my God Experience Journal came when our waitress asked, “What are you celebrating tonight ladies?” and we both chirped without consultation, “Friendship!”

It was well after 9:00 p.m. when I dropped her home and she reminded me of my promise to be in our Church next Sunday. It was time to return and I knew it but this Sunday (March 25) I was already committed to be somewhere else.

The next note in my 'God Experience Journal', came after I got home that Friday night and responded to a voice mail message. It was a police officer calling to give me information pertaining to my safety. He asked me a question, however, that also left me wondering when the games would be over.

Admittedly panicked, I made several phone calls to activate both my spiritual and physical security systems as I thanked God for the fact that She had put these ‘resources’ in place for me.

Saturday came just on time and as my T’ai Chi Master hugged me in appreciation for my attendance to her class – I knew that this was another God experience as I was the one benefiting from her lessons yet she was thanking me.

“Where are you from?” this not-at-all petite but nevertheless confident woman asked my daughter and I as she entered the hot tub at the fitness centre we go to each Saturday. Her friend, who was already in the tub, reprimanded her for asking that question but I instinctively knew that it was another God experience moment and I smiling said to her, “We are originally from Jamaica.”

“You two are so beautiful, tall and gorgeous!” she literally exclaimed and for the hour long aqua-cise session she would not leave my side. While my daughter huffed and puffed behind us, my new acquaintance, this blonde hair, blue eye lady with her orange tan, and I jumped, jogged and laughed as we tried to keep up with the lithe instructor.

The words, “You get some rest, you are okay now, I'll take care of you,” brought me the peace I needed to fall asleep on Saturday night. Sleep had evaded me after the call from the officer on Friday and hearing those words from an unlikely source was another note for my Journal.

She was making history – the first woman to lead the Eucharistic Service in this ancient Anglo-Catholic church. This woman was also an important part of my own Canadian history that is being written.

So on International Woman’s Day, when she mentioned to the audience at my work place that this moment was to happen, I made a mental note that I would be there. Though I felt safe and secure in my friend’s bed, I knew I had to leave and go to the little church in the inner city of Edmonton.

I made another note in my 'God Experience Journal' of two facts - this Reverend was another ‘little’ yet powerful woman who had entered my life and one of the Scriptures that was read was the same one my Spiritual Director had offered as my grounding passage only a couple days before:

“Do not remember the former things,
Or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches;
For I give water in the wilderness, river in the desert,
To give drink to my chosen people,
The people who I formed for myself
So that they might declare and praise me.”
(Isaiah 43: 18 – 21)

How am I experiencing God now that the storm is over? How am I experiencing God as some turbulence is still on the seas?

I continue to count the ways.

The words of Kirk Franklin’s song, “Blessing in the Storm” is not enough to describe it, yet I offer them to you or any one who might be finding it hard to experience God in your (or their) own storm.

When I cannot hear the sparrow sing
And I cannot feel a melody
There's a secret place
That's full of grace
There's a blessing in the storm

Help me sing it
There's a blessing in the storm

When the sickness won't leave my body
And the pain just won't leave my soul
I get on my knees
And say "Jesus please!"

There's a blessing in the storm
Help me sing it

There's a blessing in the storm
When I cannot see love again
And the raindrops won't ever end
If you just hold on
Those clouds will soon be gone

There's a blessing in the storm
Help me sing it
There's a blessing in the storm



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