Driving home yesterday I found myself caught in the heat of peak hour traffic. I say heat, because although the late summer sun was dipping in the west and a cool breeze was rising, the heat of frustrated workers heading home was palpable. Disguised in sunglasses and travelling solo, I find drivers often take on a persona of entitlement, elbowing the crowd with the size of their vehicle to get where they want to go first, I found myself unwittingly in the middle of the competition.
I had just left a cello lesson and still felt the vibrations of the music moving in my heart. Alert to the unpredictable lane changers around, my mind was still able to shoot questions to God. How do I meet with you in a world like this and how do I help others see you as the God of more than this?
I had finished my cello lesson by thanking my teacher for the gift of being a student. I confided that when I play my cello it is the only time my mind is fully focused on the one aim, music, nothing else can creep into cerebral focus. With the timber against my heart, I draw the bow against the fingered strings and focus on the clefted notes that lead the way. Every thought becomes music, the little girl whose small hand held mine while I prayed that God would come, becomes music. The sound of the specialist who spoke with her father in rapid fire burst of information about the chemotherapy he had ordered to be poured into this one small life, becomes music. The depth of past grief and present dislocation held in the eyes of an Aleppo refugee woman I met who wants to practice English was all heard in the halting pull and push of the taut horse hair of my bow. My own sorrows and joys moving out of my body with the deep birthing sounds of music. Then the lesson as always, finished. I encased the cello and slide it like a dead weight into the back of my car.
The escape was over and I wanted God to meet me in the middle of the rat race of city life, where there is no room for escape, tightly hemmed in by the metal of all the determined efforts to get home on one stretch of motorway we had to share. Changed traffic lights way out of my sight, caused a sequenced domino of red brake lights bringing the chain of humanity to a temporary stop. The push and shuffle stopped while I reformed my question to God and allowed it to dangle in my mind “where are you God?” My own raw longing in the middle of life.
Then without any expectation of something out of the ordinary happening, three large butterflies had appear at my front window. They were exquisitely large, winged with vibrant blue and trimmed in black. Unhurried and playful they circled the top of my car, dipping down by the passenger window to greet me again in a dance across the bonnet, up across my side window, repeated again and again. The traffic had moved on in front of me but the cars beside remained with me, no one blasted their horn, no one moved. I glanced to see the other inhabits of the vehicles around me as the butterflies circled out of my view, clearly the butterflies were still in their view as I watched their heads tilt to follow the trinity dance.
The woman in the car behind me was delighted and laughing, I felt strangely humbled. The moment passed and we moved on to easily take our places behind the slow moving chain of traffic ahead. Something had shifted though, in a simple moment of surprise, the attitude of several humans including mine, had changed. Perhaps it was just a moment of happiness for the other drivers, but for me it meant more. Even in the frenetic pace of life a momentary pause with a heart cry to God might welcome a surprisingly gentle reminder that God is closer than I think, able to change the atmosphere in a moment and to stir faith hope and love again. The dance of a trinity.
One of God's girls. Co-Senior Pastor of Northridge Vineyard Church in Thornleigh, Sydney with husband Phil. Mum to Beth (Mother love to Beth's husband Sean) and Sam.