Whispers of Peace

After the earthquake there was fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound…
God’s voice…

From 1 Kings 19:12

On our first day of touring, after visiting Caesarea, we went on to the Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel. I was anxious to see them because rainy weather had kept us from exploring the gardens during our first trip to Israel. The intricately tiled pathways were off-limits as they were too slippery for walking. This time, the weather cooperated and we explored the grounds freely. This worldwide home of the Baha’i Faith hosts thousands of pilgrims annually. Though the gardens before me were breathtaking, my thoughts turned to another temple I’d encountered decades earlier…

I attended college in the north-easternmost part of Chicago just south of Evanston. When venturing north, I caught glimpses of the Baha’i Temple there. This was one of the most peaceful places I’d ever encountered. I knew nothing of the Baha’i Faith, its rituals and prayer and I really had no desire to learn more. Still, I found that the space they’d created near the shores of Lake Michigan provided the perfect setting in which to empty myself of my concerns and to focus upon God. Though the structure’s huge dome was architecturally impressive, its furnishings were sparse. Perhaps this environment provided me a tangible to nudge to empty myself of the minutia which cluttered my psyche and my heart. That place proved to be quite conducive to prayer.

As I walked the Baha’i grounds in Israel, I marveled at their loveliness. I also marveled at the plethora of ways we humans have found to relate to God. I hoped that my own efforts to build “church” among God’s people induced a measure of the peace I’d found in that temple and deep within myself. I hoped and I prayed that this is, or soon will be, what I’ve done…

Faithful God, we need only to listen to hear your peace-filled breath. Help me to nudge others your way.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

V… Vision, Internal Vision

There is no prophet now,
and no one of us knows how long…

From Psalm 74:9

V is for Vision. This reference has nothing to do with my ability to see. The vision to which I refer is that internal sense of direction which guides each of us when all else fails. Though I’ve weathered some difficult events and losses in my own life, these things pale in the shadow of the suffering which others endure. I can’t help being amazed as those around me cope with their circumstances. Though situation after situation promises only the most dire outcome, these suffering souls proceed and endure with hope and grace.

As I consider my own life, I know that each incidence of survival was transformed into triumph by the Presence deep within me. Though I could see no end to the suffering on the surface, I knew better days lay ahead. Somehow, I could see that all would be well in God’s time. Those who’ve shared their stories with me are absolutely convinced that they completed their journeys through suffering unscathed only because they remained focused upon God all the while.

V is for Vision, our vision of our ever-loving, ever-merciful and ever-caring God who walks with us through everything. Even when that vision is blurred a bit by our tears, God remains at our sides.

Loving God, thank you for being with us, even when we fail to see that you are here.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Better Things Do Come

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of God.

Psalm 98:3cd

This second day of the New Year, I find myself amazed by faith and hope. I’ve encountered these virtues in people whom many view as having little reason for either. A friend who continues cancer treatment celebrated Christmas with joy and welcomes 2015 with the certainty that blessings lie ahead. A friend whose mother’s terminal illness will end soon places this dear parent in God’s hands. In the mean time, she remains present and accepts that this is enough. Young parents whose first pregnancies ended with pre-birth detours to heaven await another child. In spite of the pain of these losses, they open their hearts to their daughter who will make her appearance in a few weeks.

These are three of the numerous stories of faith and hope which unfold around you and me today. So many suffer the worst this life has to offer. Yet, in spite of each ones personal variety of devastation, they endure and emerge with grace. God’s salvation does extend to all the ends of the earth. It is up to us to open our eyes to see it, our arms to embrace it and our hearts to share it.

Loving God, wherever I find myself today, help me to move beyond my own trials with faith and hope in better things to come.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved