Reflections by Angie Malmgren
The idea for the title of these reflections came when I was in the hospital with a life threatening illness. My last pills were administered usually about midnight. I was asleep by then and had to be awakened. It was hard for me to go back to sleep. During the last two weeks of my hospitalization, this midnight to two a.m. period became my time for prayer and reflection. I was connected to so many lines and machines that I couldn’t hold a book easily, so it became my undisturbed quiet time. Many thoughts and images emerged at that time. One of these was a memory of a journaling retreat I had participated in several years before. The theme was “Write to Heal”. I remembered one amazing experience that I had that was eye-opening. We were asked to use our non-dominant hand and draw whatever came to us. Mine was a very free flowing image using the crayons given us. After a period of time we were asked to look at what we had drawn and fill in an image that we see in it. Honestly, it looked like a spider’s web and almost impossible to distinguish an image in what looked like scribbles to me. Suddenly I “saw” what looked like a dragonfly and colored it in. It really did look like a dragonfly. One of the women sitting at the table next to me suggested I look at the cover of the journal I brought with me. Unbelievably, the cover had watercolor paintings of dragonflies and butterflies all over it. I hadn’t really noticed it before. How unobservant am I?? Then after we shared our masterpieces with the others at the retreat, another woman seemed very excited by what I shared, and asked if we could sit together at lunch as she had something she’d like to share with me. My curiosity had me going crazy by the time we broke for lunch. When we finally got together, she told me she had been reading about American Indian Lore and the totems they created. One of the images on these totems was the dragonfly. It was a symbol of life transition. It was either a time that had just been completed, or, a transition that was just beginning, usually lasting several years in duration. And that the latter part of the dragonfly’s life span was far more beautiful and colorful than the first part.
Reflecting upon that memory led me to understand that for the last several years I was experiencing restlessness even in my prayer time. I felt that I was on the cusp of a deep turn in my spiritual life and that something new was on the horizon for me, but I didn’t know what it could be.
Another memory that came to me was of a scripture that I had been wondering about for about three months. It was the words of one of the prophets: “Zeal for thy house consumes me.” The sense I had at the time was that Christ was trying to tell me, “at this stage of your life, this is not a good thing.” When I got home and looked up that journal entry. It was on October 28, 2008, three months before I went into the hospital and this is what I wrote: “You are cautioning me to slow down, to be more balanced in my work. Is that what you’re really saying or am I putting words in your mouth, Jesus? Please respond.” This is what I sensed Jesus saying to me: “My desire is that you be prepared for the changes that are occurring in this ministry. To be open to the new things I am doing at Jesus House and to let go of everything that would block the Holy Spirit working in your midst in this ministry and in your life. Be more at peace with everything. Allow me to take the lead here. Let go and let me have the reins of this work.” Little did I know that this WOULD BE A TURNING POINT IN MY LIFE. Although everyone was concerned that I wouldn’t pull through this illness, I knew deep inside that there was more for me. Not so much to do, but to be present to in a new way. More later…