Many years ago I regularly attended a mega-church out past the airport. They had a band and the large projected images and text that helped the congregation sing along to mostly contemporary Christian music. Singing the contemporary songs often released emotions or stirred them up; certain chord changes along with meaningful phrases of love and praise would encourage inspiration and sometimes tears. Some of the people around me would hold their hands out as if feeling the soft falling of spiritual rain, their hands like small parabolic dishes receiving spiritual energy from above.
I did not hold my hands out as they did, even if I wanted to. I knew then that I would not receive what they did through no fault of God’s; I knew I had too many emotional and mental obstacles preventing me from receiving whatever God may be sending me and that made me sad.
Since then I have worked with God and spiritual healers to bust up those obstacles and I often hold my hands out, grateful for spiritual blessings.
During this move, I have done damage to my neck, back, and shoulders. I have lifted and moved things too heavy for me and I have fallen a few times. The repetitive lifting of heavily-packed cardboard milk crates has brought on the painful condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. My hands feel numb, prickly, and painful. I can not hold things like this cell phone for very long before I feel electrical zings in my fingers, palms, and thumbs. One way to relieve the pain is to stretch my hands back, opening the carpal tunnels in my wrists. When I do this, I am reminded of the parabolic receivers of spiritual rain.
Yesterday was a very emotionally intense day. What went on involves others so I can not elaborate but I often found myself recalling and reliving parts of conversations when I could have, and should have, been in quiet recovery. When I became aware of what I was doing, I would instinctually close my eyes if I could, breathe, and imagine laying my jumbled thoughts either at the feet of Jesus or on the surface of a lake and watch them float away.
I did this many times throughout the day.
Late yesterday afternoon, I left Anderson to drive to Asheville but because I started my journey from a side of Anderson opposite from my home, I was forced to take routes I was not familiar with. Although the sky was mostly clear and there were no trees or mountain ridges obscuring lines of sight, I had no GPS signal. I knew where I was and knew I needed to go north and west to get where I wanted to be. The setting sun and a little bit of instinct directed me until I reached familiar highways. In fact, once on highways 8 and 11, I settled back and enjoyed the countryside, cruising alone in my little blue wonder car.
I suppose the tension of self-navigation and watching for road signs had caused me to grip the wheel and the tension in my wrists was bringing on the carpel tunnel pain. When I extended my wrists with my palms up, that’s when I made the connection: Opening my wrists and palms not only relieved the restrictions and pain, it opened my parabolic receivers to spiritual blessings…and it felt as if I were sending as much as receiving.
A few essays back, I talked about God and Gladys (the voice of Google Maps) redirecting me through unfamiliar but significant places. Where Gladys attempts to direct me to avoid flooded roads or traffic jams, I believe Jesus directs me into places I need to be, whether it is beside still waters or into troubled neighborhoods.
Perhaps that is closer to what was going on with my fellow worshipers in the mega-church; they were not only receiving blessings like spiritual rain, they were receiving and sending GPS-like communications, getting their bearings, setting their courses, re-centering their maps, and receiving their instructions on where to turn next in order to get to where they need to be, now, and to ultimately get to where they are going.