This past weekend I was involved in putting on a workshop about prayer and meditation. I’ll talk about the workshop itself in a separate posting. As well as the presentations on the topic we also provided food. We work on the premise that “if there’s food, they will come”. I knew there were plenty of veggies, chips, dips and desserts being prepared as well as a couple of platters of wraps. But only one meat dish was on the sign up list, so I decided to grab a few rotisserie chickens, pull the meat off and serve it up in small portions.
This left me with four chicken carcasses. I love homemade chicken soup, so before leaving for the workshop I dumped the bones into a large pot, filled it with water, and put it on to boil. When I came home I fired it up again, let it simmer for a bit, then turned it off to cool over night. Now I’m not sure about you all out there, but when I make chicken soup I don’t want just the broth. I want every single tiny morsel of meat that was left on the bones in my soup.
So, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to scrub my hands clean then plunge them into a pot-full of cold chicken broth? I mean it’s the ultimate Sunday afternoon activity, right!! My husband thinks it’s a little crazy but he sure enjoys the soups that come out of this. However, this Sunday was a little different because as I manually sifted through the chicken bones I had a real spiritual experience. She’s flipped, you’re thinking. Totally lost it, you’re saying.
Don’t be too quick to judge and let me explain what happened. Now I’ve been through this chicken soup process many times before and never thought about God. Perhaps it was a result of the workshop the previous day that had me floating on a higher plane, on a deeper spiritual level; who knows. But as I picked up the different skeletal parts of the chicken to strip them of their tasty morsels, I became very aware of how amazingly a chicken is put together. Hundreds (at least it seemed like that many) of tiny bones all put together and connected in a specific design to create the animal that we know as a chicken.
Then I began to think about how many different animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and sea creatures inhabit our planet earth. Having watched many different animal documentaries and always being so totally surprised by the number of different animals there are, I surmise there must be millions of different species all over the globe. As I thought about that, I began to let my mind wander in this zoo that I had conjured up in my mind and saw all the different shapes and sizes of the various creatures therein, and I imagined all the different skeletal designs that each one had.
It occurred to me in that moment how marvelous and how rich was the diversity of life on this planet. It also became very clear to me in that moment that even if I didn’t have a religious experience in my life, no way could I believe that all this richness, all this diversity, just created itself out of nothing or came from some “big bang”. Some incredibly awesome, powerfully intellectual-beyond-belief Creator had to have masterminded all these different creatures.
My mind was totally boggled for quite a while as I continued to sift and separate bones from meat, from fat, from grizzle, from tendons. It’s in moments like this that I get quite “right sized”. I realize in the same moment how insignificant I am in the bigger scheme of things and yet how important I am. I must be important if this Creator, in the middle of creating this planet with all its life forms as well as the universe with its billions of stars and planets and who knows what else, had the time to think me, to love me into existence with my own unique skeletal design.
In the same instant it is both a wildly happy thought and a wildly terrifying thought because it is really quite unfathomable to the human mind. So I think, and this is just my take on this, that all those grand intellectuals who claim the non-existence of a God, a Supreme Creator, are probably too terrified by the thought of such an all-powerful being to admit He/She/It may be there. I would not like to be on their deathbeds.