Reflection – February 2020
All of life is my teacher. On second thought, let me rephrase that: all of life CAN be my teacher—if I desire this, and make an effort to stay alert. How does life teach me? I recorded quite a few “lessons from life” in my journal last month. Here are three that describe what I experienced and learned.
My first teaching is about risk-taking and love: “Yesterday’s Gospel reading stays with me: the dedicated friends of the paralytic man who longed for him to be healed by Jesus. There was “no longer room for them, not even around the door” so these creative and determined friends climbed up on the roof, cleared an open space, lifted the heavy stretcher up there and lowered down their paralyzed friend. When I face big obstacles I can find a way to proceed. Be willing to take a risk. (The roof might have completely caved in; they could have fallen in and broken their necks.) Don’t give up right away. Do the hard work that allows a good deed to take place. How much love the four men carrying their friend must have had for him. I can do ‘impossible things’ when
I do them out of love.”
My second teaching is about befriending what I do not want in my life: “Today
I spent time with Psalm 104, which includes imagery about the Creator and wind. (“You ride on the wings of the wind. You make the winds your messengers…”) I am trying to befriend wind when I walk, especially when it’s wild and frigid. Instead of fighting and detesting wind as I usually do, I turned my face toward it, received its briskness, the force of its strength. And I listened to it breathe, murmur, and hum through the trees along the lake. The wind has many voices and melodies if I am open to hear them. Can I do the same with what I want to get rid of in my life? Can I find some good in what I consider to be an enemy?”
The third teaching came to me on an eight-hour drive south, alone in my car (my little hermitage on wheels): “Magnificent moment on yesterday’s drive near the southern border of Missouri. Listening to the song , “Canticle of the Feathered Ones,” on Sara Thomsen’s new CD, something caught my eye. I looked to the right and saw what appeared to be a patch of large snowballs. But then the “snowballs” moved, revealing a hundred or more beautiful snow geese. My heart leapt at their presence. No sooner had I passed the geese than clouds of migrating blackbirds descended from the sky and covered a brown field. I smiled, thinking of the countless small hawks on wintered branches I’d noticed earlier in the day. The exquisite synchronicity of all those feathered ones being present while I was listening to the song taught me anew how easy it is for joy to make an entrance inside of me—but only when I actively connect my inner and outer world by being alert to my surroundings.
In The Flowing Grace of Now Macrina Wiederkehr writes: “Looking and seeing are not the same. To see requires a deeply contemplative spirit and an open-heart. To see requires learning to live awake. When we realize this hallowed way of being in the world, our teacher will no longer hide. When we begin to live awake, we will see teachers everywhere.”
So, my friends, who have your “teachers” been this past month? What have you learned?
© Joyce Rupp
Joyce Rupp has given HomeTown News, TAPinto publisher Jeanne Wall permission to publish her national column.