This morning, I watch light fall on the naked limbs of the maple outside my window. An invisible hand rustles the branches and stirs the grasses beneath. The world is full of mystery and I still fight against the need to understand, to name, to know.
Last night I dreamed that a mountain lion was loose in our house and for it’s own well-being, we tried to return it out-of-doors, free of confinement. But for some reason, I wanted to give it a bath before returning it to its natural habitat. Makes sense, right? One must be made presentable for a homecoming, no? To keep from being torn apart by the cat’s sharp claws, I put it in the washing machine. It emerged like an overgrown kitten, all fluffed out and soft. When we opened the door to let it outside, the animal was confused. It stayed close for long moments, unsure.
As I reflect on that strange vision, it occurs to me that I have been trying to tame something wild. I’ve been trying to yoke with words a thing that is not mine. To simply name this thing would be enough, but it is not mine to name. I want to know the answers, be assured of a safe and clean outcome.
But Jesus tells Nicodemus, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
All of my life I have been content to let the wind blow me where it will, to trust in God and the Spirit to guide with invisible hands. Am I brave enough to believe the Wind that cups the ones I love will carry them to happy places too? When I cannot see where we are going, will I trust? Even when the gale blusters and turns us topsy-turvy, steering away from the course I had planned? When it roars like a lion and threatens to leave its sharp marks all over us?
It was so much easier when I alone sailed these currents. I have let fear distract me, have let the despair of others sweep in and chill my bones. But I am reminded that the Hebrew word for know often used in the Old Testament is the word yada‘. It’s the word used in Genesis 4 to describe how Adam knew Eve when Cain was conceived. But it is also the word used in Psalm 139, “Oh, Lord, you have searched me, and have known me … Search me, oh, God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts.”
Yada‘ refers to a deeper kind of knowing that goes far beyond the factual, far beyond the physical. It’s an experiential knowing, knowing in the heart.
Even though I don’t know the answers to all the journeys my beloveds will go through in this life, I know in my heart that God holds them. So I am gently letting go of the yoke, opening the door to the wild creature and letting it step into the destiny that awaits.