Our journey companions, I have come to see, appear when we need them or when they are able to learn from us. Experience teaches me that this is true of poets, friends, coaches, artists, momentary strangers and scripture. Countless times, I have read a verse and with each reading learned a new aspect of the lesson. Many times, the singing of a song seems like lyric and melody alone, but then I am able to find a deeper truth in it when I am ready.
This was true of many readings from summer lists during my high school days. While Henrik Ibsen could speak to my teenage self in his plays, “A Doll’s House,” “Ghosts” and “The Lady from the Sea,” I was not quite ready for the work of Kate Chopin. That would take another eight years.
My witness is that God sends people to my side. “Pay attention to this person. Your paths will cross again,” I once heard God’s Spirit whisper to my soul. Sure enough, at times of great transitions, he came, time after time.
When I encountered deep pain in my own life, I found God speaking sometime later, saying, “Share what you have learned with this one. I have sent her to you that you might journey together. You will be instruments of grace to each other.”
So, God sent me to a physician. More than a doctor, this person has become a friend and mentor. One day, after my child turned a year old, I acknowledged my lifelong struggle with body image with my physician. Always curvy, I had known a wider span of hips and thighs than many women who only experience them after motherhood and middle age arrive.
He listened deeply as we discussed what I eat and how I move. Then, he replied, “Is there a single cell in your body in which God does not dwell?”
I swallowed as I recognized the truth. He posed a question, but I knew it was masterful teaching. Ever since, I have lived that message.
The 13th century poet and mystic Rumi wrote:
“You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”
I was born with God dwelling in me. My body is a vessel, a temple for the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the early church with such an image.
God sends songs to be sung by this vessel, dances to be danced by your vessel, works to be made with another. We are here to share our stories, our paths and these lessons.