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It finally happened! Yesterday, two speckled white eggs filled the nest outside my study window; in their place today, bob three naked chicks patched with gray down, their yellow beaks splitting with hunger, awaiting insects caught by their cardinal father; their mother keeps guard on a lower branch of the viburnum shrub, the afternoon sun shadowing its green leaves. For the next two weeks, frequent feedings will feather out the chicks and enable them to eat parts of berries or seeds softened by their parents.

Similar drama is enacted all over the world, the replication of the Genesis story: On day five, God created every winged bird…blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. It is precisely this unbroken chain of life that heartens the weary. Often when I used to walk in the nearby woods, a bird trill would seize my imagination and transport me to the wordless realm of the Sacred. A later blog told the story.

Never before this cardinal family appeared in my viburnum shrub, had I observed their instinctual caring, how it fosters fresh life with darting colors. It’s like Creator God orchestrated this event for up-close learning in my present circumstances—A more than timely lesson for me to assimilate.

And if Creator God set all this in motion what have we to fear?

 

 

“That’ll get ya a lotta bread,” yelled an accomplice to his buddy, just having torched a convenience store in St. Louis, a bystander having reported this comment to a cameraman. Such evidences paid instigators hired to trash cities beset with racial discord, in this instance the aftermath following the death of George Floyd.

For me, this reflection referenced the Gospel of Luke and Jesus’s declaration, I have come to cast fire on the earth and what would I but that it be enkindled. Jesus was also a flame-thrower, but in a different sense than the thug previously mentioned. Experiencing our flawed humanness evoked his compassion and care. There was another way to live and he was passionate that we learn it. His behaviors and subsequent teaching enkindled in his listeners a new discipline that burned away the dross of self-centered living, wedded to the appeasement of instincts.

But with today’s materialism, hedonism, and secularism clogging our spiritual receptors, more laws and monitoring, more barricades and armed guards won’t change things much. Only the heart’s humble sacrifice can lead to harmony among peoples, and that burns, at times. But the joy that ensues refreshes for all eternity.

 

 

Winter slipped into spring as I prayed and blogged and watched, the initial drama of signing on with hospice morphing into a manageable routine. The hospice nurse and chaplain continued their weekly visits, offering guidance and compassion and laughter. Their seasoned attitude toward terminal illnesses, with emotional and spiritual manifestations, reassured me that I was in special hands. Although still eligible for their care, the parameters of my world began to chafe my spirit. I needed something else.

Then, I happened upon liminal space, a pregnant image that stretched the contours of my swollen limits. Despite low energy, my psyche could breathe again. True, I had cut loose the moorings of past abilities and places I loved to frequent. True, I had no interest in large gatherings, wherever housed. True, I had found increasing solace within my simple home, its solitude and silence enhancing prayer and study. Grief spells came and went, leaving troughs of raw feelings. Dreams continued tweaking my life-path into deeper honesty.

Thus enriched, my watching and waiting took on new dimensions: there was life beyond the diseased one of my eighty-four years, in this incarnation. There would be more learning, deeper joy in Creator God’s multiple universes. I would no longer feel estranged from my true home. Supporting me in this orientation were my CPA community and close family and friends.

From my depths, something like hope began to sing. This would work out. I just had to listen for cues and take the next step, wherever it led.

As one commentator said about liminal space, “Honor the space between no longer and not yet.” It’s where the Sacred dwells, source of ultimate transformation.

 

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