The gift of Divine Grace seems to appear when one cannot go forward without it; intense need (receptivity) seems to compel its arrival. This appearance of Grace at the Perfect Moment seems to apply to all God's creatures--great and small. Sometimes the Divine chooses us to act as conveyor of Grace for another of its beloved creatures. At other times, we play the role of recipient of Grace. I recently had the opportunity to experience both roles in this transfer of Grace.
In the first case, the Divine employed me as an instrument of Grace to rescue one of Its tiniest creatures--a bumblebee! I was in my garden delighting over my tulips, leaning over them to breathe their subtle fragrance, when I suddenly heard high-pitched shrieks emanating from deep inside one flower. Startled, I peered inside, to ascertain the source of the tiny shouts of alarm. I saw a very agitated bumblebee struggling with all its might, clearly weak from trying to free itself: Its little leg had gotten caught in the tight fold of the tulip leaf; unable to get any traction, the bee kept slipping down deeper, the more it tried to free itself. It had been shouting for rescue at the top of its tiny lungs for Heaven knows how long, till I happened by. I smiled at its predicament, realizing that God had 'sent me' at that precise moment to assist in liberating this captured bumblebee.
"Dear God of Bees, I hope you'll remember me when I need a helping hand," I laughed, as I gently pressed down on the tulip leaf, bending it back enough to free the trapped bee-leg. I could almost hear an intense sigh of bee-relief as the insect sprang loose, shook itself off, climbed up higher on the leaf, and went through a complex and adorable ritual of washing its tiny face with its 'hands.' Refreshed, it cranked up its bee-engines, revved up its wings, and took off, blissfully circling my head and settling into tree leaves in another part of the garden, where I could hear it singing joyous hymns of bee-praise. I marveled at how God uses us to assist each other, and I briefly wondered: Could our all-too-frequent agitation and crises be precisely for that purpose--to prompt a response of compassion in each other? My precious little encounter with "the praying bee" and my role as a Conduit for Grace has remained with me; now I always smile whenever I see a bee, recalling how I participated in the Infinite Compassion that permeates the Whole of Creation.
I was granted an even more profound example of the Presence of Grace several months later, and this time I was Grace's recipient. An older brother had died suddenly, unexpectedly. I was deeply grieved but due to severe health problems was unable to travel thousands of miles to attend his funeral. On the day of his funeral, I was intensely yearning for some Message from Beyond that he is alive and well in the Greater Life. It has been my experience that when someone close to me dies, some sort of 'Cosmic Signal' usually arrives to assure me that my departed loved one is indeed OK, and "all's right with the world."
I decided to go to a nearby cemetery, so I could participate long-distance in the memorial service for my brother. I carried with me a little booklet of inspirational poems and sat down on a grassy knoll near a spot that attracted monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. The weather was unusually gorgeous. I felt very sad over my brother's death but appreciative of the natural beauty around me. The sky was especially remarkable, all striated with feathery cloud formations; there seemed to be a special Peace in the air.
I read some of the poems in the booklet. One was especially cheering. It said, "Sometimes you have to sing alone." "Yes, sometimes we do," I murmured to myself, and I softly sang a few favorite hymns. Then I got up, deciding I'd try to walk a bit despite severe pain, before returning home. I had taken my journal with me and had noted in it, "I'm waiting for a Signal, a Message..."
I wandered a short way, then sat by a waterfall. A white car went past, slowed, and its driver looked up at me, then left. I walked over to a honeysuckle bush and smelled its heavy, sweet fragrance. Then I headed back to my car, again passing the waterfall. I noticed the white car had returned. It stopped, and a man and woman got out. They opened the car trunk, and the man put something on his head that looked like a beret with tassels. I suddenly stopped in my tracks, turned around, and walked back toward the waterfall, because suddenly I knew that this was the Message I had been waiting for! I knew I was supposed to sit down on the tree stump, be quiet, and listen, because I was about to get a private concert of bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace"! (I knew this as certainly as I knew that I was supposed to liberate that agitated little bumblebee.) I sat still and waited, inwardly praying, "Let him play 'Amazing Grace'! I really need to hear it."
The man and woman had walked up to the waterfall, and he started to tune the ancient instrument. I waited, enjoying the beautiful sound of bagpipes, a musical instrument I loved. Soon he launched into "Amazing Grace," and my entire being thrilled to the pipes' healing strains. I sat swaying to the music, my physical pain easing along with my grief. After he finished, I turned to him, waved, rose, and went to my car. I scribbled a joyful note in my journal: "My Message arrived; and the Message was GRACE!" I looked up again toward the couple, and they were standing side by side, waving at me. I waved once again and drove off, so grateful for their magical appearance to soften my grief.
That was last Fall. Grace had visited me, as It had the precious little bee, exactly when most needed. And, as if all that were not enough, I recently went back to the cemetery, climbing up to the waterfall area, to the spot where the bagpiper had stood. There I found yet another clue that our Destiny and Gifts of Grace are indeed managed by a Heavenly Hand, in ways that transcend our earthly limitations of time, space, or physical frailties. For there on a brass headstone near my feet were engraved my own first name and that of my brother! These grace-filled experiences taught me a simple but powerful Truth: When we shriek in agitation because we've 'gotten stuck while tiptoeing through the tulips,' Divine Help is always nearby, ready to uplift us and get us back on track: Amazing Grace, indeed!
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