Last evening, as I headed up the alley with my dog, I had one of those moments when the Higher Power puts you in your place. Thank goodness for such instances!
While my canine paused to munch on tender blades of grass, I looked up and saw a vista I had seen only in paintings: There on the horizon was a large thunderhead out of which streamed perfect rays of white gold light. It was a visual cliche but also so transcendent that I felt awash in inspiration and happiness.
I said to myself: “Life is perfect and I have found God and I love everybody and everything and I will feel like this forever.”
Not so fast, quoth my Higher Power, but I was too caught up in my Moment to hear.
Alas, my Moment was brief indeed.
A second later, rounding a bend in the alley, I spotted a neighbor whom I did not know. He was just behind his fence, kneeling in his flower garden, weeding.
It was one of those “I see you and I think you see me so now what” encounters that are commonplace among neighbors. At such times one has to choose between the friendly greeting or the sneaky brush off. We both chose the latter. He lowered his head and focused a bit too intently on his plants. I tugged on the leash and stared ahead robotically.
I do not know why he chose to ignore me. My reasons for cutting him could not have been pettier: I didn’t like the cut of his mustache, I was suspicious of his dress shirt and his large fancy house. Most of all, I was insulted that instead of calling out to me, he ducked away. What a horrid man.
Well crash boom bah. Down came my epiphany of universal love. I was, I realized, as lame as a fallen angel. I had failed the first test of my reborn spirit. How shamefully low I had stooped. How vain I had been to to think I could turn clay feet into wings on a single walk.
Only one option remained: to be grateful for the humbling and start my heavenward climb once again.
I was grateful indeed.