A recovery room, a blur of voices, then a ride on a gurney down hallways and onto an elevator. All the voices were kind and friendly, but none of them were familiar. Consciousness was elusive.
Out of the elevator and down another hallway, then into a room and transferred onto a bed. Someone touched my hand and for the first time I opened my eyes. Through the haze of anesthesia and myopia (I didn’t have my glasses), I immediately recognized my husband’s face and voice.
Disorientation gave way to a sense of place. Not a specific location. But I knew who I was with, and that was enough.
Even though that surgery was 20 years ago, and I don’t remember much about it, the memory of relief in that one moment is strong. Someone who loved me was with me. I knew I wasn’t alone.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
This week the Christian church celebrates Pentecost, the sending of the Spirit. It’s about fire, wind, breath. It is also about presence.
In a disorienting time, after Jesus had left, the Spirit came. And somehow, his friends knew that he was with them in a different sort of way. New, yes. But also familiar. In the wind and fire they somehow found strength and presence. They could sense the connection between themselves and God, and they could also see that the fire rested on every one of them.
So from then on, whenever they needed to hold onto the presence of God, they only had to look at one of the others and remember the tongues of fire. Because the presence of that other person brought the presence of God so near that they could hear it in a word of comfort, feel it in a handshake, see it in a kind look.
May you know the presence of God in those around you, and may you offer God’s presence to those who need it.
You are not alone.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2010