New Eyes

By Dominique Hollis

How could I forget?

This question bubbled to the surface after seeing the many ways Holy Comforter began to work its magic on the new Contextual Pastoral Education (CPE) intern. If not for “K” this question would not have been as loud or resonated as deep. At the departure of our previous CPE intern, I began mentally preparing myself for the arrival of Holy Comforter's second CPE intern. I was vexed mainly because of my separation anxiety; I'm a stage 5 clinger with the right people. I also realized that I would have to introduce the new intern to Holy Comforter instead of experiencing Holy Comforter alongside the intern for the first time. It didn’t seem like it would be an equally authentic experience---but I was wrong. On the day of K's arrival I cried twice. Not lamenting tears but “oh my this is what/ where is God tears”, on top of “this is beautiful” tears, and “I am moved to pieces” tears. The type of tears I cried on the first day of my placement. I was seeing Holy Comforter through K’s eyes. Then I was given back my eyes.

I wanted to show her all the many places that had touched me. In these introductions I realized I had claimed either some knowledge or some part of the space. This is a positive update, since my program director, supervisor, and Vicar recommended, “Claim space knowing that you are welcomed in this place.” What began to bother me about my claim in the space was my pronounced arrogance. Showing K the art program she broke out in tears, marveling over the gifts of many. After we cried in each other’s arms reflecting on how God had blessed each of the participants with a brilliant show of free expression, I repeated several times, "I know". We left the art program and made it in time for afternoon prayer, where we were greeted by the energetic playing of Al and his jazz renditions of contemporary and old gospels. Al gloriously accompanied the two noon day divas who sang “the angels in heaven done signed my name." I looked over to see K eyes filled to the rim, pronouncing thank you and blessings for the gifts she had received on that day.

That was when the question made its way to the surface. "How could I forget?" Confirming like I knew, later I laughed at my arrogance because it was misplaced. I did not know because I no longer saw Holy Comforter with my heart although it had been claimed there from day one. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (1 Cor 8:1). I was being puffed up to the state of a fluffy marshmallow, and I dislike marshmallows unless toasted over a camp fire, but that's beside the point. How did I forget the tender spot that Holy Comforter seemed to occupy every day in my heart? I didn't forget, I couldn't have. I just hadn't looked in wonder, because I had become so familiar with it. I believe God knew this, and began to work his magic, bringing me back to a place of wonder. God, as is his way, continues to astound me and I give thanks to Him with my whole heart.