September 7, 2009

Holy Ground


"Earth's crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
and only he who sees takes off his shoes,
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, ..... "

I read this Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem recently and had an "aha" moment. It wasn't her reverence for nature that amazed me; it was her reference to the burning bush and the removal of shoes. I knew the burning bush was in reference to Moses.
..take off your sandals,
for the place on which you are standing
is holy ground.
(Exodus 3:5 NIV)

In re-reading the burning bush story I felt stunned.

Years ago, my grandfather had terminal cancer. We knew that he had just a few weeks to live. My normal routine was to come home from work and greet Sara and Michael, then go to visit my grandparents. On this particular day, I just felt that I needed to go straight to my grandparent's house. I had no strong thoughts that death was near, for I had seen my grandpa that morning and we shared smiles and hugs. I just sensed that I should go there first. When I arrived, my former husband Steve met me in the kitchen. He didn't say a word, nor did he have to. His face said it all. I immediately knew that my grandpa was dying. As I headed toward the bedroom, I stopped in the hallway and removed my shoes. At the time, I had no idea why I was doing this.

For years that has puzzled me. Why did I stop and remove my shoes? In reading this poem, and God's words to Moses, I suddenly had my answer. I removed my shoes because the moment I crossed the threshold, that small bedroom became a sacred place. The place that held my precious grandfather, Bopee. The man who held me right after I was born. The man who loved his family with all his heart. The man who made me laugh with his fun sense of humor. The man who taught me faith and love through example. The man who called me Sunshine.

It wasn't a coincidence that I went straight there that day. I believe it was divine intervention. Within hours, my precious grandpa passed away. It was the last time that I was able to hug him or tell him (face to face) how very much I loved him. On April 9, 1996.... I was indeed standing on holy ground.

2 comments:

Lynn said...

This is such a touching post. Thank you for sharing this precious time. Holy ground indeed.

I am reading it immediately after constructing an ATC with a photo done in sepia of my grandfather and grandmother for the letter R. I wrote "Remembering Abe and Ella" on it.
How interesting that we were both drawn to memories of grandfathers today.

Elise said...

Lynn is right, this post is incredibly touching. Thankyou