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Together let us be One

The other day I was walking down a long corridor in Brethren Village Retirement Center, going from one elderly massage client to another. As I passed by the door decorations of the sweet Lancaster County residents, I could feel the familiar mode creeping into my mind – thoughts and feelings like, “I just can’t relate to these people – their lives, values, and priorities. The aesthetic of these styles are just not beautiful or inspiring to me. I could never live in here. I do not feel at home in this world.” These sentiments are distancing and isolating, not communing. They remove me from the present, from the people, from God in the moment, from love.

A soft grace came over me! I did not strive for it; it just came, as if on a gentle breeze into my heart. It was as if God was whispering tenderly to me, “I am in this reality. Be with me here. I wish to commune with you, not aside from these things you see in front of you, but right through them. Let’s walk these halls together. Let’s look at these wreaths and artwork and family photos together. Together let us be one.” Wow! Everything lifted. There was light and an exhale of communion. I was not lost. I am found! Right here, in these particular surroundings. I am seen and I can see and there is unity. All of a sudden, everything became an invitation, an opening, even beautiful and filled with personhood and specialness and love. The simple world around me came to life; or rather, I came to life to it.

Because of this alighted disposition of discovery, I was awakened to see a grandchild’s crayoned illustrated poem hung on the wall.

In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
~ hymn by Natalie Sleeth

It pierced my heart with its irresistible encouragement and hope and made me smile. Thank You, God. Such a sweet gift just for me. You are truly here, Lord. You are with me. I am known and accompanied.

As I continued walking, my steps became lighter, my heart illuminated. I recalled something a friend had once said, “God does not want to rewrite our stories, but unite Himself to them.” Sigh of relief! This is good news! Yes, I could feel Him uniting Himself to this ordinary moment of my ordinary day. He wants to be with me in the corridors, seeing every passing door with me, taking in the world around me, into the heart of my heart, where He resides. May He find on the door of my heart a colorfully crayoned sign: “Welcome! Together let us be one!”

Copyright 2022, Marian West Veilleux

Marian West is a Catholic “heartist”, seeking to live the art of heart to heart in every encounter. She lives in Lancaster, PA, and is grateful to have recently opened a space called Marigold, offering the Grace of the healing arts. Marian is a modern dancer, vocal artist, licensed massage therapist and labor doula. In 2006, Marian received her B.A. in Dance from DeSales University and then received her massage training at the Swedish Institute in Manhattan in 2007. She served as a missionary with Heart’s Home in Brooklyn for 14 months, offering a presence of compassion to the abandoned, lonely, and suffering. Marian prays that the Blessed Mother be her heart, hands, movement, and melody to touch Christ’s broken body in our thirsting world.

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