Friday, February 03, 2006

A Suspicious Epiphany

This morning these words went through my mind:

"I am the beautiful reflection of my loves affection
A walking illustration of his adoration
His love makes me beautiful, so beautiful, so beautiful.

"I ask my looking glass what is it, makes me so exquisite,
The Answer to my query, comes back deary
His love makes me beautiful, so beautiful, so beautiful.

"And women loved is woman glorified
I’ll make a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful bride!"

Leaving aside the gender-specifc language, this is what I feel today in Santa Barbara. God’s love is blooming me in this blooming lovely place, and it is probably always the case, but I don’t usually see it, live in it, enjoy it, and hear this particular song in my heart.

Ah, the song. It is a tune written for Funny Girl, a Broadway musical and movie starring Barbara Streisand as a young Fanny Brice. She sang this song as a Zigfield Girl, dressed as a bride, with the addition of a pillow that made her appear to be very pregnant.

So the words above had a different context in the film than what they have today on these prayer-filled hills over looking the Pacific on the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, the mass which will be celebrated later today. And yet it makes perfect sense.

I have always tried to have a more conventional spirituality; but God often shows up in my life in a slightly common, humorous, even vulgar way. Thirty years ago I had a series of dreams where a cook from a diner showed up, walking from the kitchen with a white apron over a t-shirt that was stained with food preparation, to ask what I wanted to do with my life, and that was the time when I realized that my deepest and most intimate desire was to minister. Those dreams, and I have no doubt that it was God behind that well-used apron, led me to change my life.

So Barbra Streisand and a Broadway musical give me the song of God’s love, written in the words of the creation, on this wonderful California winter day, and help me to remember, on this feast of the Virgin, that I am also Theotokos, God-bearer, a pregnant bride with a surprising song of how intimately the love of the universe can come to take place in an indivudual life.

I am having a wonderful holiday!

No comments: