I find myself in the middle of an incredibly difficult day yesterday. My cheeks are hot, my head is hot, my brain is hot, my daughter is screaming, my wife is sick, and to make matters worse hot oil has just exploded off a frying pan onto my arm and there are small little blisters already forming here and there like pissed off chicken pox. Things couldn’t feel worse. A red cardinal is still knocking at my window, and I’m thinking, “Come on already, die! Whoever is going to die, just get on with it. Or if you’re a spirit, just tell me who you are and why you’re here. I don’t have time for your incessant tap, tap, tapping at my window all day long. You’ve been doing this for a week!”
Then suddenly I catch myself. My gaze is drawn upward. It’s the middle of the day, and the only thing literally above me is the ceiling fan, but I can see the black robes of night and a single red star: Ares. The god of war is holding a hot, iron spear. Then I see the spear thrust into a bed of hot coals. Then it emerges and its glowing. Then I see Mars moving backward through the sky, retrograde.
I sigh in relief. Because even though everything in the world is on fire, I can see God, through one of his divine emissaries, the warrior, standing right there in my kitchen, rising out of my arm like red hot hallelujahs. I can see God, the cardinal spike of spring, tapping at my window like a fierce red soldier. I can see God speaking through my daughter’s tears, like a fiery river of tongues. I can see God, coughing out amber alert viruses and sicknesses of all kinds onto earth, but also standing in as the fever of purification.
I realize I’m still staring at the ceiling fan. I laugh out loud, and for a cardinal fast moment I could swear I hear Mars whisper to me, “Think not that I came to bring peace into the land, I came not to introduce peace, but a sword.”
Yes, I think to myself. That too. And as I swab my arm with some aloe I say “Amen. Thank you for teaching me the language of your heavenly realms. Thank you for the peace that passes understanding.”