Two Meditations on the Intrusion of the Divine into My Daily Life

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The intrusion of the Divine into my daily life occurs when I am able to cease seeing myself as an entity separate and distinct from the world of creation: when I can see myself—as if with a cosmic eye—as simply part of that world, no different or more significant than a rock, a tree, a squirrel, a bird, a fish, or a flower. In those moments, a crack opens, small and thin, but large enough for God to rush in. Suddenly I find myself either empty and open to being filled, or so filled with God’s presence that I am overwhelmed.


I walk through streets at night alone, distracted by the cars, the buildings, the frustrations of the day, with fear, anxiety, and a constant preoccupation with what the future might or might not bring. Without my sensing it, the night air washes all that away, leaving behind a trail of abandoned thoughts and ideas, like dry leaves blown away by the wind. And then, empty at last, I look up and out to the night sky, black and limitless, out to the edges of eternity. In that moment, You come to me—suddenly, swiftly, completely. You come like a lover, full of passion and joy, but full of peace as well. You come with the sound of tiny cymbals ringing in my ears, the sound of laughter in the night. And I, emptied at last of all desire but to be in unity with You, welcome You with outstretched arms. Your joy permeates my entire body until, incomprehensibly, the vast universe before me and I are one. You in me, me in You: no bounds, no self, no other, no life, no death, no sorrow, no joy.


At low tide, the edge of the waves is like a piece of lace thrown upon the sand and snatched away before the pattern can be deciphered. The waves break 100 yards offshore, one after another in steady succession. The rocks are black, with black shadows hardly distinguishable from the substance of the rocks themselves. At high tide, the waves crash against them, flinging foam into the air, covering rocks and shadows alike.

The water is a white rolling foam surging over the beach and under the boardwalk. The sky is filled with stars; an orange moon hovers above the horizon. The moon is calm; the sea is raging.

I stand on the boardwalk and face the waves, ten feet high and racing toward me. The wind blows spray in my face; my clothes are drenched. I shout for joy, but my voice is lost in the sound of the surf breaking relentlessly on the shore. This is what it means to be alive: insignificant, powerless, alone with God.


(God is in the raging sea, in the breaking waves; God is in the thunder and in the rain, in the wind and in the fire blazing. God is in the passion as well as in the peace.)

John Andrew Gallery

John Andrew Gallery is a member of Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (Pa.), which meets at the historic Arch Street Meeting House. More information about John and his spiritual writing is available at

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