There are moments when the veil between “heaven” and “earth” seems to thin. I recently experienced such a “thin place”, and I’d like to share my experience with you.

It began several nights ago, in the wee hours of the morning, when sleep continues to be elusive and I found myself in a liminal space, waiting on the sidelines of that blissful field of dreams. It was while here that I beheld a vision of a young, beloved man who left us too soon, 3 years ago.

His face was serene, his eyes clear and piercing. His body was made of light, shimmering, with what appeared to be wings … yes, wings … angelic and peaceful, steady and commanding. The rhythmic movement of his majestic wings were calming for me, as was his invitation to focus on his voice. Not long after, I believe I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I felt an intense longing to go for a leisurely walk around Lake Roland. As Providence would have it, it was my day off, so I could indulge my desire. I invited a girlfriend to join me, and off we went, on a sunny fall morning, sharing the highs and lows of our lives and commiserating on the challenges of our particular midlife transitions — the “dying” and the “rising” we both feel we are navigating in our own ways.

We had just crossed the railroad tracks, when an exquisite butterfly landed on the path directly in front of us. We both noticed it immediately and stopped. It moved in a small circle on the ground, then danced from side to side. And then, it just stayed. Right. There.

We stood there on the path together, two women and a butterfly. Seconds passed. Minutes. Another walker and a biker came by. I fully expected, of course, for these newcomers to frighten our winged friend away. But no! She … He … It … flew closer to us!!! And resumed her rhythmic, calming motion with her wings … open … close … open … close … open … close … 

As calming and steady as my angel friend the night before. Calm. Steady. Present.

I do not know how long the 3 of us were together. Eventually, another walker came by, and for whatever reason, his appearance on the scene caused our butterfly to fly away from the path and into the sun-speckled trees above.

What she left embedded in my heart was a deep knowing, a reassurance, that we live in a universe infused with grace, not always visible to our human eyes yet ever Present and Real.

My prayer for you today, my friend, is that you have an experience of grace.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.