The heartbreak of Covid made room for all sorts of conversations that normally would not have happened. That can be the silver lining of hard things – we can be forced to be more introspective and come face to face with the big things of life.
A while back my sister-in-law shared a clip by Amanda Kloots when she was speaking about her grieving process after losing her husband to complications of Covid. It really stuck with me. She made this analogy about losing a loved one while you remain here on earth… when a baby is in the womb, it only knows that space. Even though there is a great big world just inches away, its whole world consists of this very small space. It may hear muffled sounds, see shades of light and even feel pokes as mom gets baby out of her ribs, but really, the outside world is quite unknown to the little babe.
She goes on to say that what if, now that her husband has passed, he is in an afterlife of some kind – a world that she has never known or experienced and that she cannot know while on this side of life. But what if he was just…two inches away? What if that world he is in presses up against her own? What if she could feel something, hear whispers or sense his presence supporting her and letting her know she is loved and not alone? In short, why not be okay with not knowing what we don’t know, and why not be open to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there is more to existence than what is immediately in front of our face?
It stunned me, how profoundly this metaphor affected me. It put words to something I have always wanted to believe in my heart, but haven’t really made it past my head. I believe in the spiritual world. I believe that there is crossover. Often, I think we are so busy, loud and preoccupied, we completely miss any subtle cues or nudges. This is what prayer gives us the space to do. To hear the gentle stirrings of our heart which serves as the bridge between the two worlds.
Just two inches away…this makes me think of Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel – The Creation of Adam. The image in the painting has the fingers of Adam and God almost touching, just inches away…In the painting God is reaching, stretching, aching to make contact with man. His arm is strong, his movement sure. It is Adam who’s wrist limply reaches out.
How often it makes me think, have I limply looked toward God. Again, this connection between my head and heart. I know He wills only my good and yet for some reason I fear that I have to make sure my needs are met. I have to take care of me. This connection gets blocked by fear, distractions, disappointments and misunderstandings. Hard things that have happened that have skewed my interpretation of who God is. It makes me not too sure of reaching for God. What if He isn’t safe? What if he takes something from me that I love? What if I’m doing fine and I don’t really ‘need’ to be pushed and stretched right now?
I think I honestly have this silly idea that I can go to God when I need him, but then just wave him away when I think I don’t. Like He is at my beck and call, instead of the other way around. Well, what if, just like in the painting, God is always 2 inches away? What if I only need to reach out with a straighter arm to make contact with the Almighty? What if He is just waiting, hoping, DYING for me to grasp His hand, to meet His gaze and to rest in His presence… I think this may be so.