On Folly Beach, a wave knocked me over, and I went from being a person gleefully wading into the ocean to a panicked girl screaming about her phone. That iPhone never came back to life, and I lost some fantastic pictures of my parents seeing the ocean for the first time in decades and cool pictures of Charleston, SC. But I also lost a voicemail I had saved so I could replay my mawmaw’s voice when I missed her.
In that devastation, my dad put his arm around my neck and assured me that when I needed to hear her voice, I could ask the Holy Spirit to bring its sound to me. He was right. I ask the Spirit to bring her voice up from my memories sometimes, and it’s there. Not always as clear as a voicemail may have been, but somehow more resonate because it comes from deep holy places in my soul, like how maybe I’m still in all those moments in God’s time. I remember as a little girl, spending the night with her, curled up against her, and her telling me the story of Goldilocks and then screaming mid-sentence because a little miller moth hit her in the mouth. Now, if you knew Ila, you can probably hear her without even having been there for that occasion.
And sometimes, even when I’m not asking, He brings it on the wind, usually while I’m in a garden or a flower bed. I won’t kid myself, either. She’s there whispering when I’m being too shy. She’s there in my own voice when I get angry.
I wrote a few posts ago about how I feel God when I’m with other people, particularly strangers. Seems to me the Holy Spirit likes to come rushing in when I’m holding the hand of someone I barely know. Yet, there it blows, bring up to me the memory I hold deep in my soul that we’re all family. Nowadays, those moments don’t come. I buy fully into the power of social distancing and masks, even though I mourn a bit the way you can feel the hesitation and suspicion in our interactions. At a store recently, a woman dropped some of her items and my body made a rush to help her, but then my brain blared an alarm, and so I muffled from behind my mask, “Can I help you?” and she muffled from hers, “No, but thank you!” The rumble of the Spirit was there a little bit. But muffled.
It’s lonely to be away from people, these other parts of the Body. Even as an introverted homebody, I long for embrace and communion and Communion and eye contact. I think of all the times in Communion, I’ve heard the words “in remembrance of me,” and how it never dawned on me that there would be days that even Communion itself would be a memory.
Yet, I think about my dad and the Holy Spirit and how the first saints in the light of ascension must have depended upon that spirit memory to take those baby steps forward.
Spirit, help me remember. Help me taste the bread and wine. Help me feel my brothers’ and sisters’ warm hugs and see their smiling eyes. Remember, remember, remember. Spirit, help me remember. Where they have helped me remember You, please help me remember them.
- Nadia Bolz-Weber wrote some wonderful prayers to help us remember during this time.
- Have a little worship experience in Sara Watkins’ song “You and Me.” When I want to feel free, I remember you and I remember me.