So I am sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for a late flight, due to bad weather and a plane pulls up…everyone gradually looks around, they get up and walk to the observation window…low and behold a military escort marches out into the rainy, ice cold apron and then off the plane comes a casket and a family…all of us in the window stand reverently and then a young man in uniform salutes…some people put their hand over their heart as it dawns on each of us what we are witnessing..some begin to shed tears…this person who has served their country is coming home…there are no news cameras, no horns blowing…we don’t know their name or their family but all of us mourn…all of us are relieved it isn’t our son or daughter, brother, sister, mom, or dad…all of us wish the story would be different…a somber blanket lay over this small band of witnesses to something so private yet so universal…I bow my head and pray for the family…pray for my family who lives in freedom…pray for my country that she might be healed…as the casket is loaded into the hearse the crowd begins to spread out and I hear a little three year old girl say, “Daddy, can we get some candy now?”…the Dad picks her up and hugs her close…he cannot speak…I walk away and ask God to forgive me for complaining earlier about the weather…
Like Einstein, I believe imagination just might be more important than knowledge. I am actually sure of it…
“In all honesty I find myself to be a bit of a “lapser”, if you will, the old lady said to me as we sat on the park bench. She laughed a hearty belly laugh and continued, “I lapse into doubt that I will make it to tomorrow and then I lapse into desperate hope that I will! See that vivid color blue of the sky today? I thought it was a question but she went right on talking…”that is the color of the sky when there are no doubts and everything is crystal clear to me. That is what I call God’s blue. I know without a doubt how to live a life of purpose and kindness. Oh how I love God’s blue!”
My heart was warmed by the assurance that I had just happened to sit down on a park bench next to the right person. “I have lapses too I said, lapses in “How” to live well, I commented. The old woman did not laugh at me but sat there pensive. I figured at that point she would cast me away as crazy and take quick leave of our bench. She did not leave however and it wasn’t until years later I realized she could not leave because she knew me. She was at the end of her pilgrimage and she knew she was sent to that bench just for me. I now want to sit on the bench in the park for other pilgrims if I get the chance.
She began to speak of many things, deep things, funny things, horrible things and I listened hard. She shared how when Day’s sky was a gray-blue those were the days when she knew God was covering her with his Almighty protective wing. She said when there were many obstacles like clouds and winds in the sky that she realized the passing of time and the briskly moving clouds were a reminder every minute is a treasure. Then she said the colors of a Sunset sky were evidence of God’s love of relationships where all colors are mingled together to show His brilliance and to remind us that each of us is a different and known color to Him. These analogies went on for hours and I cannot do her wisdom justice with mere words. She painted with words like a Master.
The night sky she said is not to be feared because it is ordained to us for the purpose of rest, health, growth, and tears. The moon she said is a reminder that even though the “lesser” light rules the night it is no less light. The “dark” is the constant reminder that God does not slumber when we do. She said the moonless, dark sky is the hardest one because you have to believe in the light even when you cannot see it.
As the sun began to set all the colors of creation appeared and the old lady and I sat in silence in God’s Cathedral and worshipped Him, the Creator and all of his magnificent skies. As we parted the old lady took my hand and she put it to her soft crepe paper cheek. She said, “the next time you “Lapse” into a “how to do life well” simply look up and God’s blue will guide you and give you all the answer you need.