Some experiences feel too holy to share, partly because no words can fully capture them, but also because something sacred seems lost in the retelling. Like each time it’s told, a piece of the experience fades away or like some of it is broken off and given to the listener. I yearn for it to be held and treated with the same respect and awe I do, but once it’s handed over, control is lost and the listener can just as easily throw it on the ground as cradle it. So sometimes I find myself holding back, because the more the experience is shared, the less of it I seem to possess.
But I wonder if sharing a holy experience is similar to the widow sharing her small bit of flour. Remember that story? A guy named Elijah, traveling for days without food or water, is led by God to a town with a desperately poor widow with a small boy. There hasn’t been rain in months and people are starving. The poor woman’s plan is to make a final meal with her last pinch of flour and, because they have nothing left, to die. Elijah meets her as she’s gathering kindling and has the guts to ask her for some food. Wisely, he also lets her in on the secret God shared with him just before their encounter. If the woman gives a bit of their final meal to him, it won't actually be their last. God will continue to replenish her small supply of flour and there will be just enough, day by day, to make bread for her and her son, and to share some with Elijah.
I wonder if that’s the key—it’s not until I get down to just a small portion of the holiness of my story that I’ll experience a similar thing. That small portion will continually be replenished and there will be enough for me and enough to give away. Maybe it works the same way with love, peace, grace, mercy…
Photo credit: Deb Turnow
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Nicole Mills is an oncology nurse, cancer survivor, nerd, and contemplative. She has a secret desire to be a nun or a double-dutch jump rope champion. Not being Catholic or able to jump 2 ropes poses significant hurdles, but she remains hopeful.