I went away for a few days to spend time in nature, to pray and meditate. Or just for a change in scenery after being at home for four months. I was looking to clear my head and read a book or two. I had podcast episodes cued up. Here’s the thing. I didn’t read any books. When I played podcasts, I turned them off because my mind wandered and I kept rewinding them. Instead, I thought only about you, Left Hand.
The entire time I was in the mountains, I thought about all of you; your joys and pain, your prayer requests, your faces. I laid those prayer requests bare, arrayed in a very Instagram-worthy composition, like crystals. Like an offering. In the early morning, I watched horses graze in a sparkling pasture down below while I sipped coffee.
And this is the word I felt God return to us:
Embraced. You are Embraced.
I love words, so when I came home I looked up the etymology of this one. In Latin, Embraced comes from In Bracchium (In Arm). Translated into Old French, we get Embracer, which in Middle English gives us Imbrace, meaning Encircle, Surround, Enclose. Synonyms for Embraced include: held, welcomed, accepted.
We are encircled, Left Hand. We are surrounded and enclosed in God’s love. We are held. We are welcome. We are accepted. I know some of us know this intellectually or instinctively. But sometimes it helps to nestle into that knowledge, and so I offer a short meditation, or mantra, to keep us mindful of God’s embrace during a time when we don’t get to feel encircled in each other’s arms.
Let soft light encircle your waist, your shoulders. The backs of your knees.
Feel the light surround you – pick any color. Watch it glow around you for just a moment, enclosing you in warmth, inviting you to lean your full weight, little by little.
The Glow becomes firm as you lean into it. If you can, go completely limp. The Glow will hold you steady.
Recite these words for yourself and for our community:
In our weariness and uncertainty, we are held.
In our hunger and anxiety, we are welcome.
In our joy and relief, we are surrounded.
In our anguish and grief, we are encircled.
In our pain and confusion, we are accepted.
Slack-jawed, soaked in tears, eyes closed, we are embraced.
Sometimes I find helpful reminders in the Psalms, so here are a few of those as well:
“May these words of my mouth and this
meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
God, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:1
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your
until the disaster has passed.” – Psalm 57:1