Sometimes my heart is like my dog Baxter. My light brown lab/chow mix is a monster in size and has a body full of energy. He lives to see and be seen by the members of our family. His favorite dog game is to play "RAA" No, this is not named after an Egyptian deity, but a silly game from his pup-days, where I say "RAA" and he begins running circles as fast as he can run around our back yard. He is playful, fun and has no clue where enough meets with enough.
My heart, like Baxter, wants to run and play and get way ahead of where I need to be. My heart seems to sniff rain coming in the distance, and it brightens at the prospect. My heart longs to see my master and hear him say "RAAA!" As a survivor of the loss of the love of your life, it’s tempting to spend much time in the shadows of grief. Strangely these shadows become a way of life, and playfulness is not a part of that life. But there’s a Baxter inside me that wants to run wide open. I want to feel the wind again, but my feelings need to wait. Waiting isn’t easy for Baxter, and it’s not easy for my heart either. "Heart, sit still!” I command. Yet sometimes it just doesn't. Like Baxter, it seems to want to obey, but its tail never stops. “Wait upon your Lord!" Even in my stillness I have a restlessness that longs to run. Sitting and waiting is good for me. He caresses and speaks to me in my waiting. Like Baxter, I don’t want to miss this joyous moment either. I want to run, but something in me knows better and I dare not miss his hand.
All alone in a strange place the other night, I closed my eyes to rest in total darkness. These elements can create an intimidating sadness, yet I’ve learned at these moments to talk out loud to my Lord. I thanked him for his grace for the day. I reviewed my coming and going and enjoyed the review. A warm tear ran from my eyes down into my ear. Then I felt something pressing, gently but firmly, on my right arm, near where my arm and shoulder meet. The pressure was so real I was tempted to turn on a light and see what it was. But something in me feared moving even an inch, for fear this sense of comfort might melt away. It felt exactly as if someone had placed a hand on my upper arm. I didn’t move and it didn’t go away. I’m not sure if I would’ve called myself a mystic before, but I’m quite sure you know I am one now. I knew that hand was a quiet gentle touch from my Lord. "Be still and know that I am God!" His word spoke to me. His goodness and mercy firmly and gently sat guarding my heart that night. I’m at rest in my aloneness, but my heart is ready to run at the sound of "RAA!"