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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

 

Up ahead is a neighbor’s mimosa tree; its fern-like bipinnate branches heavy with pink “hair-brush” blossoms, a few of which have dried up and litter the grass on the front lawn. I slow down, suddenly aware of a moist sweetness fanned by indolent breezes. I must have more. For long moments I inhale, keenly aware of my sense of smell, then move on down the sidewalk. During previous walks I had noticed the tree’s budding, an early summer phenomenon.

I am not alone in my wonder. Others struck by the beauty and fragrance of the mimosa tree have enshrined their experiences in myths and legends from Greece, Africa, and Indonesia. The protagonists, overwhelmed by trauma, sought the tree’s healing powers and were restored to harmony, not without bearing their scars.

This same tree has also been pivotal in my life challenges: some painful; some joyful. Its fragrance still envelops seekers within scents of the first morning of creation where all is well.

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