O LORD my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the bearms of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chairot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
When I flew into Indianapolis for my Memory Bridge training last week, I was first greeted by heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightening. As I sat waiting for the shuttle that would take me into Bloomington, I was less than enthralled by such majesty. However, I was shortly joined by an engaging young woman who was blind, and had been since birth. She was being dropped off by a man who was concerned about leaving her there. As I helped her settle into her chair, his anxiety lessened and he announced that she would be in good hands with me. I wondered about this conclusion, but she was just so darn cheery that the hour passed quickly. We rode together on the shuttle (another hour's journey) and we talked of many things: her work at the university, her family, her two cats, her belief that life is very much worth living. I had no doubt that I was in her good hands, not the other way around.
Fortunately, there were several more of these summer storms, and my sense of awe returned as the sky filled with enormous clouds and the air filled with booming thunder and heavy rain. A friend commented that now that I have experienced these storms, the bay area weather will seem rather bland. I fear he may be right, but I have this day off, so Tyler and I are going to take the dogs to the beach. My week in Bloomington left me with much to think about, but for now, I will simply celebrate the gift of being in awe: of thunder and lightening, of meeting people gifted and engaged in their work, of stories of what it was like to grow up on an Indiana farm (definitely not always idyllic), and how people learn to maneuver their way through the haze of Alzheimer's, even when those caring for them often misinterpret, disregard, and dismiss their valiant attempts to live and communicate.
Jean, a beautiful elder who was one of 16 children who grew up on a large farm, told me that she was ready to go home. I asked her to tell me about home. "It's the farm. The pond where we used to swim and fish. My brothers and sisters. My mother and her canned green beans and bright red tomatoes."
I am in awe of heaven and its beauty makes me weep.