Don’t Miss the Divine Intrusions

Photo by Sarah I. Anastasi

Last week I willingly missed a moment. I neglected the divine intrusion for a bowl of gruel (not literally – just a bowl of Panda Puffs cereal) before heading up to my bedroom to teach English all day. I slept in, forgetting that I would have to dig out from the snow – most importantly, excavate the end of our drive. My wife and twelve-year-old son joined me in unearthing the cars and clearing the driveway as a whole; my job was the heavy ice wall at the end of both our drive and our neighbor’s drive.

Our job began before sunrise, and once the sun started to dispel the darkness and warm the day, the sky came alive with a divine intrusion. My wife called to me: “Have you seen the sky?”

I kept shoveling.

My son echoed, “Mom asked if you saw the sky?”

I looked up briefly and returned to clearing my neighbor’s drive.

For someone who loves nature, poetry, and beauty; for someone who intentionally looks for Red-tailed hawks as I’m driving down the highways; for someone who fully expects these sacred moments to interrupt my day, I chose to be like Martha, and rather than sit at Jesus’s feet soaking in a divine visitation, I kept doing the chores.

May this poetic reflection remind you to take the time to savor the divine intrusions this Christmas, a time when we intentionally stop to celebrate the Greatest Divine Intrusion in history. Expect the sunrises and find the cathedrals hidden in plain sight all around you with your loved ones! Merry Christmas!


Vincent H. Anastasi – 2020

The plows have left an ice-wall
at the top of the drive,
as they always do,
barricading the road
from the sudden intrusion
of any vehicle parked below.
The extra half-hour snooze
may cost me breakfast –
8:00 a.m. looms with responsibility.
Begrudging all that frozen beauty,
I pull on my boots
and collect the shovel from the side porch.

I begin the excavation,
left to right –
the slushy bottom layer
sticking to my shovel
with each square-foot I clear.
I rap the shovel’s sharp edge
on the pavement
and turn again to address
the ice mounds,
like molding mashed potatoes.

Clearing enshrouded cars below,
my wife calls,
something about the sky,
I think.
Rather than yell back, I continue
throwing the heavy snow,
one shovelful at a time,
to the small hills flanking
my neighbor’s drive.
Now my twelve-year-old son
repeats his mother’s call:
“Have you seen the sky?”

I pause just long enough
between rhythmic scoops
to catch the cotton candy sky
billowing like milkweed
through the white-sleeved,
black-branched armature
stretching between my neighbors’ houses.

Wonderstruck in my graveled drive,
my wife and son stop
to bask in the serenity
of this divine intrusion,
a moment of silence
beneath the stained glass canopy
held in the raised cames of leaden branches –
two travelers stopping by woods
on a snowy morning while I –
I turn like Martha,
task-driven to a fault,
to clear the gravel-speckled snow.

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