When Time Stood Still. Oil painting of a bird resting on beach at sunrise by Daniel Ambrose

When Time Stood Still. Oil painting by Daniel Ambrose

Dressed in white, tall and regal, she quietly stands alone in the center of the gallery. Cupping her hands together, she raises them to her heart, and releases a contented sigh . . .

They had found each other. She and her painting miraculously connected. The circle was complete.

A moment when time stood still. When love appears unannounced—wondrous, like a shooting star.

That happened on an island two weeks ago.

Today, I am on another island, on the beach at sunrise. An Easter service is in progress. The pastor’s voice proclaiming of the Holy Ghost while screaming gulls circle above him proclaiming their own primal needs.

The sun ascends and the clouds spread apart. A shape appears. Is it a bird or an angel? Four strong women in eight months. Was it just few years ago when four souls departed my life. There was a time I did not believe in angels. But that was before I needed them—before they became Angels.

I watch the soft bodies of birds float in the slice of sky reflected at my bare feet. Behind me in the dunes, the pastor calls to his flock to accept Salvation. The Mystery of salted sea wind and eternal light are calling to me.

Love is not “out there” somewhere. It is all around us, breathing in the bodies of birds, in the kindness of strangers, in water and wind, darkness and light. Love is in Beauty and Beauty is in Love.

Lord knows I am flawed and scarred and walk a crooked path. In and out I go, like tidal water weaving along the shore.

So to cover my tracks, I put on my shoes and go to Mass. A beautiful soloist in a red dress is singing and sunlight streams through the stained glass window and makes a wing on the carpet. The priest stands and speaks and a tall white candle burns high above his head. I trace it from its brass base up to the flame and see Jesus hanging on a wooden cross with his bare feet above the fire.

Once, I was certain I knew it all, had it all figured out. Now, the questions outnumber my answers. Is this it?

I imagine I am like a scratched mirror, imperfectly reflecting all the amazing beauty and love I witness. Knowing I will never never match, never fully express the wonder of life—the yearning of my soul.

I leave Mass when the congregation rises to sing just before communion. I hear other music. Slipping money into the poor box, I push open the doors and catch the scent of the ocean just across the road. This is my blood. This is my soul.

She was here from the beginning . . .

. . .darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1

I am thankful, I am grateful, I am humbled and I am awed.

I don’t know what it all means, but I’ll call it God. I’ll call it Love.

And I’ll paint it and share it with you.

Capturing those moments.

When time stood still.

And on this Easter Sunday, I’ll leave you with this song by Louis Armstrong.

With Love.

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