Mystical Evenings at Assisi


Last night I caught a glimpse of what the Psalmist meant when he said, "I want to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Last night was mystical. Like an evening's stay in God's abode.

I was sitting at my desk at work in the evening working on a sermon for Sunday. And as pieces of the Gospel started to come together, I was fully enveloped by a sense of warmth. It started in my hands and up my arms and into my heart.

It occurred to me in an overwhelming way that no matter where I turn, God's love is and will always be there. I will never outrun it, and I'll never get kicked off the love list. No matter what.

"But I don't deserve that much love," I thought, arms tingling. And then I felt a response deep within my soul...and yet from outside myself.

"Yes, Emily, you do. You do deserve all this love."

I kept working away at the sermon in prayerful, joyful silence. I find early mornings and dark evenings both have mystical elements ripe with creative energy.

Eventually I decided to head home. It was raining outside. I pulled up my coat's hood as I walked down the steps toward my car. And then I saw them. Deer. Many deer. Close to the parking lot. Standing under the trees in the rain.

Two summers ago when I was in the hospital for platelet drama, I had my first healing touch massage. Diane, the practitioner told me at that time that she thought I had the energy of a deer. That perhaps it was my animal guide. She said she believed the deer was a good fit for me because it represents sensitivity and gentleness with strong intuition. I've felt a kinship with the deer ever since.

I looked at all the deer across the parking lot.

A few skipped away and others stayed. I put my bags in the car and then walked closer. And closer. I pushed the hood off my head and felt the rain.

"Hello, deer," I said.

They ran and then stood still. I ran and stood still. And so it went. Under the rain. With the orange light of the city a soft glow in the background.

The pouring rain felt like a baptism on my clammy skin. It felt like a rebirth. Like me and the deer were reborn in the open fields of a place named after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

There are verses in Psalm 27 when the writer begs God to hide him in a tent...and to conceal him under a rock. The last few months, I think that's what God did for me. He hid me under a rock so I could heal. Every fiber of my body, mind, and soul was wounded and unraveling.

I thought God abandoned me. But actually, I think he just put me under a rock so I'd be safe. So I could grow stronger and stronger day by day and eventually come out from under the rock.

The rain poured down. The deer stood watch. And God said, "You can come out now."

So I did.


  1. Emily, that is one over-the-top beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing. AND, excellent writing!
    It is always good to look to nature for our answers - it's often there for us.

    1. Thanks so much, Janice! It was a special moment. ❤️

  2. That picture should definitely be submitted somewhere! So beautiful! And then your writing about it?! Wow! Thanks for allowing us this glimpse.