"It’s Holy Ground because The Holy One is present with us."
“If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can. & there is nothing more to it than that.” ~Brian Andreas, storypeople 2008
The day began simply as a way to get the kids out of the house. Kirk needed to work on taxes and he could get the most done without the rest of us home. “Where do you want to go today, Boys?” I asked. “The Great Salt Lake,” Cal replied and Beau agreed. I called a friend to see if she and her kiddos wanted to join us. They did! Our first stop was Ladyfinger Point – a short hike that invites you to climb up and over boulders even as it leads you down to the water. Walking on the beach felt like walking a moonscape. We made it all the way out to Egg Island where a sign turned us around. There was a hush over the little island that day, but in just a few short months, the birds will be nesting and it will be alive with burgeoning life and new beginnings.
The kids weren’t done exploring (Neither was I!), so we headed to the gift shop and then on to Buffalo Point Trail – another short hike, this time leading straight up to an overlook. It was along the way here that I captured the picture above. It literally took my breath away. A burning bush. Holy Ground.
I’ve been living with this image in my mind and heart very closely since that day. It’s offered a Lenten discipline I didn’t know I needed, which is to be aware of and name the Holy Ground I inhabit every day. Here are just some of the things I've noticed as I've held this image over the past several weeks.
The freedom, friendship, fresh air, and the fiery bush on that Island that day. This is Holy Ground.
The devastating milestone of 500,000 human lives lost to COVID in the U.S. that was reached the day after our Antelope Island adventure. This is Holy Ground.
Sitting with people in both one-on-one and group Spiritual Direction. This is Holy Ground.
Prayerfully accompanying an aunt who is walking a cancer journey. This is Holy Ground.
Holding my cat who lets me know without reservation that I am her favorite person on this whole earth. This is Holy Ground.
Watching my boys independently ride away from me on a mountain biking trail in Moab, UT. This is Holy Ground.
Knowing my child is struggling and also that there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix it. This is Holy (and Hard!) Ground.
Turning myself over to look at the shadowy parts of me in therapy. This is Holy Ground.
It’s Holy Ground because The Holy One is present with us. In every physical place. With every person when they die. In every interaction. In every situation where life is taking you down a road you never thought you would have to travel, or imagined you could. Through the creatures that inhabit life with us. The Holy One is present with us. As you let your children go. As you dare explore your own depths. The Holy One is present with us.
What Holy Ground are you traveling over in these days? What are the signs along your way, reminding you that it’s all holy? I would love to hear your answers if you would ever want to share. You can respond here or just reply to this e-mail.
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DanaLee Simon is a Pastor and Spiritual Director, living in Salt Lake City, UT. When she’s not hiking in the mountains or playing with her two little boys, she meets with people in one on one spiritual direction, leads retreats (virtually, these days), and teaches classes on self-compassion and group spiritual direction. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake, February 21, 2021