[ Norwegian skyline, October, 2015]

So here’s the question I’m kicking around lately: Since, like many, my sense of the Divine is internal (“That small still voice,” “The Inner Teacher,” etc.)  when I actually experience—and am filled by— an inward, physical sense of God/Spirit/Light/Love, is this because I am predisposed to imagine a religious experience as something that happens within me? Or did I just imagine it? Or am I simply talking about That Which is Inexplicable using a construct about inwardness that may be useful but, c’mon!  We’re talking about The Inexplicable, right?


Okay, here’s what happened: I’d returned home from a magical (though wet) trip to Norway and found my re-entry unsettling. Literally. I had the non-stop, disconcerting sense that my body was gently rocking back and forth as if still on a ship. (It’s called “Disembarkment Syndrome” in case you’re interested) And, frankly, after being in a clean and progressive country that does not share my Home Sweet Home’s appalling record of, say, mass incarcerations or our insane policies re assault weapons, I wasn’t feeling all warm and fuzzy about being back. Heck, no!

But on Saturday, a superbly gorgeous day, despite my wobbliness and general sense of hopelessness, I nevertheless joined hundreds of others to dance and cheer and connect at Honk!, a yearly, Somerville street festival featuring brass bands from around the world who believe in and who support activist causes—and also in dressing up as outrageously as possible, too!

Ahhh. No, I’m not claiming that Honk! cured my Disembarkment Syndrome. I’m still a little wobbly. But as far as my conviction—and my hope—are concerned, I can declare that I’m once again on solid ground. Because, I sweah* that I physically felt Something slide into my soul at Honk. Especially during the opening ceremony—and hearing that precious word, justice, again and again. And hearing members of the Original Big Seven Social Aid and Pleasure Club, an amazing band from New Orleans, talk about their losses during Hurricane Katrina yet still able to celebrate and to praise. Or just hearing “Oh, you can’t scare me I’m sticking to the union” sung by Madison, Wisconsin’s Forward! Marching Band.  A “God-shaped hole” ** within me was filled as though I actually felt that missing piece slide into place in my abdomen. I sweah!

Weird, huh. Yes. And what a gift—wherever it came from.


* (It’s really hard to convey a Boston accent!)

** See my post from July 13, 2010: “I Wrote a Book About It!”

Join the Conversation


  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and dearest, precious friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!! I just love and like so this very sagacious with such acuity and brilliantly blessed and inspiring blog post article of yousr which is so very interesting and fascinating, Patricia!!!!!! Thank-you so for featuring this absolutely beautiful picture of the very breathtaking Norwegian skyline as well, sister!!!!!!!

    Sister, I can so relate to your inward indwelling of our So, So Very Dear, Sweetly Loving, and Precious God Spirit. I can feel that same joyous filling up that actually can fell like an actual physical sensation, sister-I so know what you mean, Patricia! My sense of the Divine is internal like that small still voice lightly stirring within with that utter Knowing somehow knowing and realizing that our Very Good God is very much indeed there not only for us but with us and being in our very beings! I very often For Always experience that Sweet Inward physical sense of God and feel God’s Sweet Holy Spirit both literally and figuratively breathing through me-this So Very Precious God Holy Spirit Dove with sheer joy and complete Peace overflowing throughout my entire very human being ,my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit, Patricia!!!!!!!! Often, I have trouble explaining this and even finding the words to tell of and joyfully describe this Sweet Surge of our Spirit God flowing through me-this is very much an inexplicable experience as you so wisely shared, Patricia! I so, so love and like cherishing your very blessed words about the “God-shaped hole.” Our God fills up our spaces, our God-shaped holes, with God’s Sweet and Loving Essence.

    I loved and liked so learning about Disembarkment Syndrome-this is very interesting, sisterfriend! Sister, I’d not heard of this syndrome before, my friend. I’ve never been on a cruise at least not as of yet, Patricia. What a sheer joy and delight you and the so very precious other people had at Honk, sister! This sounds like such great fun and such a grand time of festivities, Patricia! Thank-you for the referral to your earlier blog post article which provided more context to this current blog post article of yours, sister. Thank-you also, sister for the beautiful links which you have so, so very graciously and generously provided with this so very cool article. I can tell from the very lovely, gorgeous, and picturesque pictures and writings in the links how very fun-filled this community festival was for certain, Patricia!

    You’re so right on, on point, and make such a relevant point when you proclaim what a blessed gift it is for God to fill up that God-shaped hole, sister. I truly believed and rejoice with you my very dear white sisterfriend Christian and recognize along with you that you very much indeed did feel that missing piece slide into place in your abdomen, Patricia!!!!! I can so, so very much relate, my friend!!!!!! I have very often experienced that luscious actual physical sensation feeling, even an actual physical transformation and manifestation of our Good God coming to me with all of our God Spirit’s love as God showers love upon God’s love on me, my very being, my very spirit!!!!!! Wow, sister, I am just so very blessedly inspired and uplifted by you as usual as For Always, and by your very inspiring words in this absolutely amazing and fantastic blog post article!!!!!! I thank-you so, sister, For Always, Patricia!!!!!!!

    Patricia, please have a totally terrific and a very thrilling Tuesday evening, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, sister!!!!!! The Democratic Debate is starting now, sister! I am rooting so much and so hard for our wondrously wonderful Hillary Rodham Clinton, sister!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so very precious white sisterfriend Christian, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my sister, and with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so very dear friend,

    Your Christian lesbian black friend and sister For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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