When I was little, I spent lots of time with my grandparents. I often spent nights at their home. My grandmother was like a mother to me. Since I slept in her bed at night, I observed her nightly routine which included mumbling something under her breath as she turned down the blankets. I couldn’t understand what she was saying, and for some reason, I thought I shouldn’t intrude on her by asking about her moving lips.
One evening, feeling bold, I asked her what she was saying. She answered, “The Lord’s Prayer.” I then asked her to say it out loud so I could hear. I was impressed by this beautiful prayer and the devotion with which my grandmother spoke it. In the morning, she gave me a bookmark with the Lord’s Prayer printed on it. I immediately began working to memorize it.
I also remember sitting on the floor in the living room playing with my dolls or coloring with pencils and crayons while grandmother sat in her chair listening to the portable radio. I liked the radio in the soft, brown, leather case. Grandmother listened to baseball games on the radio – always the Detroit Tigers. Who else, since we lived in the Detroit area!
As I played, I listened to the baseball games, too. I liked the announcer’s smooth, deep voice. Mostly, he sounded quite calm but sometimes he became excited. Grandmother sat quietly but sometimes she gave out a yell or clapped her hands. This was a complete mystery to me. Since I had no idea what a baseball game was, I had no way of understanding the sounds on the radio, the descriptions given by the announcer. I didn’t understand why grandmother was sometimes very excited and other times, very upset. I listened with a combination of curiosity and bewilderment.
One day when the television was on, I recognized the sounds of the radio baseball game. I stopped and stared. So THIS was what I’d been hearing on the radio! Now, I could see the bat striking the ball; I could see the players, the umpire and even the announcer. Baseball came alive for me. Finally, I had a truer experience of an actual game. The unknown sounds and actions became clear to me. I gained understanding.
Spiritual experiences are like that baseball game. It’s possible to read about them and listen to people describe them over and over without really understanding. We might gain a kind of intellectual knowledge – but nothing can compare to the real thing. Our own spiritual experiences will makes sense to us even if we have no way to describe them clearly.
The “real thing” cannot be forced. It comes to us when we are ready to receive it. With actual experience comes greater understanding – and eventually, wisdom.
May we be open and ready for the world of Spirit! May “Our Father who art in heaven” show us what He wants us to know, when He wants us to know it! Amen.