The Olympic games are fast approaching. I will be the first to admit that I absolutely love the Olympics! I am not an athlete and never have been. But something about the world coming together for a friendly competition that everyone can get excited about just makes me smile. Something about watching the opening ceremonies and all the nations marching around proudly displaying their flags and colors as they prepare to compete just makes me happy. To put aside differences and focus on a celebration that the whole world can enjoy is such a wonderful thing. I love to watch the events and will frequently have the competitions on my TV in the background as I make dinner or tidy up just to feel the excitement!
There are a few events that I absolutely love to watch. One of my very favorites is the gymnastic events. And one of my favorite events within the gymnastic competitions is the rhythmic portion with the ribbon twirlers. As I child I remember playing with ribbon twirlers in the backyard. There was something magical and beautiful about spinning in a circle and watching a trail of colorful ribbon circle around you on a sunny day outside. It was impossible to feel sad when rainbow streaks of color were circling around you and making fascinating shapes in the air.
As I’ve grown older, I don’t dance around outside twirling ribbons anymore. But I do still like to retain that feeling. The feeling of being surrounded by beauty and happiness with something so simple. During mass on Pentecost Sunday a few weeks ago, our priest was talking about being surrounded by the Holy Spirit. As I was praying for the Spirit to guide me and fill my soul with grace, I was struck with the image of these ribbon twirlers once again. I could feel the warmth, the peacefulness, the joy of the Spirit surrounding me. What a wonderful feeling! And what a wonderful image for me. The images we usually associate with the Holy Spirit are water, wind, and fire, among others. While these images all project majestic and powerful forces, this image of being surrounded by ribbons seemed to strike a chord with me unlike any previous images I had in mind.
There are many ways we can visualize the Spirit. As I pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to to surround me and fill up my soul, I will continue to imagine a ribbon dancing around me. A loving ribbon bringing me wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe, right judgement, knowledge, courage, and reverence. Dancing, swirling ribbons of beauty, majesty, and joy. Filling my soul and surrounding me with the peace and happiness found only in Our loving Father. And once I see myself fully surrounded by the Spirit, I can send little dancing ribbons of love and compassion to those around me so that the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Father can be shared with others. Dancing, twirling, ribbons of love. A wonderful image indeed.