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This afternoon, the ducks are more than one mile from their pond-home, surrounded on three sides by the ranch homes of an extended family in my neighborhood. Everyone knows these ducks, evidently tamed for decades by the loving-kindness that surrounds them. Toddlers with their moms often stop and feed them. Opposite their fenced-enclosure, a faded yellow and black sign, “Duck Crossing,” alerts pedestrians and motorists, alike, to their presence.

Perhaps wearied by their trek, the ducks squat upon mounds of fresh grass moistened by misty rains; their two speckled companions, not photographed, are nearby, still exploring a puddle. The white duck, like a Joan of Arc, appears to lead the others on their jaunts. Then as abruptly as they began, they stop as other ducks swell the pond and mating takes off in earnest. And so it has been for the last fifteen years.

But yesterday, I heard the ducks outdid themselves, venturing onto a major thoroughfare, stopping traffic in four lanes until they waddled across, drawing quizzical smiles from most motorists.

Would that all peoples could be as free-spirited, as instinct-directed, as open-minded as our neighborhood ducks; even the black one with the limp participates fully with the others. Would that we could practice heart-acceptance, despite our differences and stop throwing around terms like, cancel culture that only feed the glaring divide among us.  

Perhaps learn to lighten up when spring waddles of ducks begin. Creator God would have it so.

It happened on an overcast March morning, usual in every respect, save reports of some infectious disease, distant from us. Not our concern, we said, getting the kids readied for school and shoving off to work. Little did we suspect…

 

Like the galloping invasion of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pestilence, war, famine, and death have trounced our land and drastically altered our usual manner of functioning. At first, denial and rationalization softened the blow until weeks mushroomed into months, with rising numbers of those infected and dying from Covid-19.

As if the pandemic was not enough—Like a flashpoint, the George Floyd killing ignited demonstrations for police reform, both peaceful and violent, morphing into deeper mayhem, confusion, and polarization of our country. Meanwhile, exhaustion seeps into psyches, waters down problem solving, and thins endurance—A deadly scenario that cries for radical change, one found in the Gospels.

In my perception, the will to embrace the radical change that Jesus taught appears thin. Few care about cultivating humility, honesty, and love; it’s too costly—Easier to resolve problems with compromise.

Only such change of heart will bring about the longed-for restoration of our country that may or may not come in our lifetime. Besides, the work of the Four Horsemen is not finished—evil, far worse than the virus, still has us in its sway.

So what to do in the interim? From parched hearts, we pray for deep watering, one that cleanses and restores, despite the continuing tumult crashing around us. Protection does comes.

 

A lover of silence, I found another in the Swiss theologian Ladislaus Boros (1927 – 1981):

True experience always comes about in withdrawal “from the crowd.” The original, true and proper attitude of the mind is, as Heraclites says, that of “listening to the truth of things…”

Our journey into the territory of being should be made in silence, with wondering, wide-open eyes. The fullness of truth and reality is revealed only to those who attain to a silence which covers every aspect of their beings, or who, in other words make their basic attitude toward the whole of being one of delicate and reserved courtesy…

For anyone who wishes to hear what is true and real, every voice must for once be still. Silence, however, is not merely the absence of speech. It is not something negative; it is “something” in itself. It is a depth, a fullness, a peaceful flow of hidden life. Everything true and great grows in silence.

Without silence we fall short of reality and cannot plumb the depths of being.

~ from GOD IS WITH US by Ladislaus Boros

 

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