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Seems that my long life is like a treasure hunt.

Once I stepped back from significant teachers and took stock of what I found, I began discerning clues about the Sacred in places I ordinarily would not have frequented, specifically my unconscious; its darkness, impenetrable. My loneliness deepened, my discomfort mounted, and questions spliced my resolve. Even more disconcerting were my dreams, like cattle prods urging me forward. With trepidation, one foot scaled that ravine; another trudged through brambles that bloodied my calves. Many dead-ends undermined my resolve to forge ahead, and yet there was no other option. There was always the next clue to discover.

Years passed. This was no child’s game. Annual retreats afforded me respite to consolidate my gains and give thanks to God. But then the struggle began afresh—Still another clue to discover. So what is this treasure that has attracted my being, from earliest memory? Once glimpsed, its allure only compelled more engagement.

Again, I look to the Gospels. Jesus likens the Kingdom of Heaven to a hidden treasure buried in a field (Mt. 13). Someone finds it, reburies it, then thrilled by his discovery, sells all he has and buys this field. He must have it. His life depends upon it.

Like the seeker, I cherish this treasure, tucked away in my depths. Lest I become puffed up by this discovery, the apostle Paul likens my humanness to an earthenware vessel (II Cor. 4:7), ordinary, and in time, cracks apart when no longer needed.

So the treasure hunt continues—My self-emptying also continues.

 

 

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Ahead of me on the asphalt path leading toward the playground at Broughton Park, other walkers paused, looked down, moved a few feet, again paused and looked down. Some scratched their heads and smiled at their partners. On the slope next to us, winds frolicked tips of Missouri Honeysuckle beginning to leaf like a newborn’s hair. Empty swings pumped as if by phantom children.

Curiosity piqued my steps. I moved along, then stopped. Suddenly, the path writhed with sayings chalked in five-inch squares, some horizontal, others vertical, still others parallel with the path. Thomas Edison reminded us that “Many opportunities are missed because of being dressed in overalls and requiring work.” And Albert Einstein’s, “Logic takes you from Point A to Point B, but imagination takes you everywhere.”

Like those ambling in front of me, I took my turn, ingesting wisdom sayings from Socrates to Virginia Wolff to Helen Kelleher to Gandhi. We were in excellent company. During the rest of my walk, I wondered about the artist who had played with chalk and enlarged our worlds.

Then rains came and washed away the enlightenment of centuries. Broughton Park took on its accustomed ambiance.

A few days later, I returned to the park, empty save for a mother swinging her toddler and her preschooler sitting on the slide. In the distance, a young girl in a turquoise shirt and Capri pants crouched over the path, working on something in front of her.

Then, again at my sneakers, new wisdom emerged from Meister Eckhart: “Be ready at all times for the gifts of God, and always for new ones.”

Delight spirited my steps, moving me through more centuries of wisdom, surrounded by blue cartoon figures. When next I looked up, the girl was gone.

 

 

colored pavement chalk

 

Available on Amazon

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