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Glimmers in the dark - by Matt Beckenham

There's a word Trish has introduced to me: glimmer. In my terms, it's a reaction that brings life to me. It's the opposite of a trigger, a reaction that takes life from me. She talks about noticing glimmers and recognizing my body's reaction to them. This week, I had a glimmer at a beach.

From where I live, it takes an hour and a half to get to the beach. Often, that time is enough to prevent me from making the journey. I'll talk myself out of it. I'll think about what else I could do with three hours of travel time. Or, the weather might not be great. Or the cost of gas. The growing list in my mind will stop me from experiencing a glimmer.

This week, I stood on the beach, closed my eyes, and allowed all of my other senses to remind me of where I am. Everything I could hear, smell, and feel was made by God. The scent of the sea in the breeze was enough for a glimmer to occur. I imagined myself walking on Gemstone Beach in New Zealand, feeling the wind and watching the powerful waves. Below my feet were all kinds of stones: amber, jade, and jasper, to list a few. Then I went to the Isle of Iona in Scotland, and allowed myself to remember the peace and still stillness that enveloped me there. Finally, I found myself on a beach in Sydney: Collaroy. It's a beach that reminds me of friendship. From Trish to Frances, Trevor, Jessie, Lana, Conrad, Susana, Sione, Kirtsy, Beck, Rob, Marguerite, Zac, and the list goes on. Each of these people has walked with me on that beach. So many glimmers. So many moments that gave me life.

In 2014, Trish and I made our first trip to New Zealand. It would be the beginning of many, and each trip is laced with glimmer after glimmer. The first time we drove into Queenstown, I lost my words and could not comprehend how beautiful that place was. The enormous snow-capped mountains, the beautiful color of the lake, to the views that took my breath away. These awe-inspiring days became a call to our spirits to return and discover the wonder all over again. Now, we take people to this glimmer-laden haven and allow them to experience with us the encounters that would change our lives.

That year opened a floodgate of adventure for us that has not closed. Up until then, the glimmers were found in time with family or the moments of a church gathering, and many times, for right or for wrong, they would happen together. A service that would host an extraordinary encounter with the Holy Spirit. Many times, we walked away with stories of presence, miracles, peace, and wonder. This was my workplace and also the place I looked for the wonder that my spirit ached for. As I look back now, I realize that I limited the glimmer moments by that workplace.

We are designed to live in creation. After that first trip to New Zealand, I found my spirit finding ways to get out beyond the four walls of a church and other's expectations and create new memories. I didn't have the word "glimmer" back then, but now, as I look back through photos, I can feel the life that came from each time we explored. Thousands upon thousands of photos. Thousands upon thousands of glimmer moments, and I do not want to forget any of them.

When I read the Bible, I can see these may well be called "memory stones." Places the ancients would erect an altar to remind themselves of an encounter they had with God. It was a glimmer for them and a reminder that God meets his people in creation for everyone else.

So often, my life's story has not been connected by glimmers; rather, it is by the triggers. The mistakes of the past. The ways of thinking that would have me thinking less of myself rather than more. Those memories became etched into my story, and I could see them there as easily as if I were looking at a photo on my phone. Trish has helped me discover a new way of thinking. A way that has me searching more for glimmers than reacting to triggers. It's not that I ignore the trigger. It's that I can ground myself far quicker because of the life-giving memories I hold and store in my story.

More glimmers to come. New memories to create and more life to be discovered.


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