looking toward that which is beyond all reason

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.
Dag Hammarskjold

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(a lone robin perched on the tip of an oak branch / Julie Cook / 2014)

What an interesting thought— suddenly, for reasons unknown, a person declares to no longer hold a belief in God— A ripple effect is now set in motion. . . the now expected consequence of a person, in the new found disbelief, is assumed to be that with the disbelief comes the lack of existence—a rendering of God null in void. As if the simple act of professing a disbelief could or would wipe out His existence.

We could therefore theoretically postulate, if I may be so bold, as to claim the non existence of Love. For reasons unknown, of obvious hurts, I shall banish Love to the corners of non-existence. . .but does that now mean that Love no longer exists for others? Simply because I claim Love to be null and void, no longer an emotional entity for which I shall lay claim— can I then banish it from the lives of others who still believe? The obvious answer is no.

But Julie, you say, that argument is not valid as it is not of the same dimension or level. You cannot compare the human emotion of Love to that of the belief of a deity, in this case, the belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Alpha and the Omega. . . But I will beg to ask, is this Deity not the definition of what we mortals claim as Love? Is this Deity not the essence of what we understand the concept of love to actually be? Ah the question of what is Love. . .

You perhaps counter by throwing love, combined with sex, into the mix, thinking you have proven my comparison invalid—which leads off on a tangent of the issue of sex for sex sake, or love for the sake of love—all of which, I dare say, leads down another tangent with that being the transcendence of Love beyond death— if you were to ask anyone who has lost someone to death, someone whom they have loved deeply—that due to this particular death, this loss, does this therefore mean that the love has died as well along with said individual?
Ah the question of the transcendence of Love over the grave. . .

Oh how complicated it all now becomes as the thoughts and arguments begin to spiral further from our original discussion, of which does eventually bring us back to our original issue—can a proclamation of disbelief render that which was once believed non-existent?

Does God die if I claim Him to be no more, or rather, is it I who actually dies? For I, in the proclamation of my disbelief, have ushered the shutting of a door—the door to hope, (as Hammarskjold notes) to illumination, to joy, to the victory of Life, via Love, over death— in this proclamation, I have said that there is no more to this life than that of life itself. Rendering all that is–finite verses infinite.
I have, in my disbelief suddenly made everything very very small.

The choice of belief or non belief.
The large choice or the small choice.
The Infinite or the finite.
To be full or to be empty.
Victory or defeat.
A proclamation of disbelief to and in something so much larger than mere mortal understanding.
As humans we work so hard to put everything neatly in a small box. We smugly believe we have it all figured out. We work so hard to explain everything–as we just assume that everything has an answer. We anguish until we take the mystery out of the mysterious, the wonder out of the wonderful.
We humans are smart like that you know.

And just when we think we have it all figured out, something amazing happens, something that makes absolutely no sense, something that is undefinable, something that counters all logic and explanation. Something that goes against the understanding of the natural flow. Something much bigger than the small I can hold neatly in my hand.
Leaving me to wonder after all, that maybe, just maybe, there is something, someone, so much greater than myself and my small world. . .

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
Jeremiah 24:7

Oooo, I’m liking this…

Endure the present, and watch for better things.
Virgil

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(tiny emerging leaves on the quince)

Do My eyes deceive me?
Is that what I think it is?
Can it be?
How can it be?
Was this not the same landscape that was ice encrusted and snow covered but a mere three days ago!!?

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Just when I was about to give up all hope of sunny skies, warming days and the emergence of color—pure natural color accompanied by the newness of life, fresh and full—there hiding amongst the grey and brown of the empty limbs and decaying leaves, a tiny ray of hope–an advent of life perched on a periphery of an explosion of growth.

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(tiny leaves unfurling along a limb of the blueberry bush)

Buds plumping up, just waiting to burst forth onto the scene of a waning winter which refuses to loosen its icy hold. With the most recent snow and ice having melted, freeing those tender shoots and buds which were held as helpless captives, tender hopefuls now stretch skyward as if on tiptoes willing themselves to reach a warming sun.

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(buds of the Tulip tree)

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(buds on the oak tree, the one I fear is sickly–yet still hopeful)

We’re not out of the woods yet (figuratively that is)–it’s merely the middle of February. We’ve had blizzards in March and deep spring snows in April, but joyfully and thankfully I can now anticipate, as well as outwardly hope, because finally here, for all of the curious to behold, is a tangible glimpse of things to come—and believe you me, I can’t wait!

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(not a turkey foot)

To travel through adversity

My strength is made perfect in weakness.
II Corinthians

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(black capped chickadee on an ice encrusted limb / Julie Cook / 2014)

That was rough…. Thing to do now is try and forget it…. I guess I don’t quite mean that. It’s not a thing you can forget. Maybe not even a thing you want to forget…. Life’s like that sometimes… Now and then for no good reason a man can figure out, life will just haul off and knock him flat, slam him agin’ the ground so hard it seems like all his insides is busted. But it’s not all like that. A lot of it’s mighty fine, and you can’t afford to waste the good part frettin’ about the bad. That makes it all bad…. Sure, I know – sayin’ it’s one thing and feelin’ it’s another. But I’ll tell you a trick that’s sometimes a big help. When you start lookin’ around for something good to take the place of the bad, as a general rule you can find it.
From the movie Old Yeller

If you’ve never seen nor heard of the movie Old Yeller, may I recommend it to you.
I’ve seen it perhaps only twice in my life, each time when I was around the age of 10. Each Sunday evening, when I was a little girl, The Wonderful World of Disney would air a weekly movie, sometimes animated sometimes not, always at 7PM. Bathes were quickly taken as fresh PJs were quickly put on, as my brother and I would quickly grab our pillows in order to plop down in front of the television in grand anticipation—-with Old Yeller being one such presentation.

As an adult, knowing the story line, my heart aches so that I simply can’t bear to watch it again– although it is indeed a positive story. The story will certainly leave the viewer with a lasting impression. A difficult impression, but lasting none the less.

The movie made its debut in 1957–and is based on a 1956 book of the same title. The story is not an easy one and involves post civil war hard times, in rural Texas, an old stray dog and a young boy’s transition from that of childhood to manhood. Love, struggle, tragedy, grief, growth, the cost of loyalty, death and hope are all intertwined, woven tightly together. By the movie’s end there is never a dry eye from those who are watching.

The movie is but a microcosm for much of life. Both our young hero and the old stray dog have much to teach us, the viewer. There is the story of the ultimate sacrifice made for the sake of loyalty and love. It is the story of an unconditional love and sacrifice—with that sacrifice bleeding into the most trying and conflicting of actions in the human heart, which gives way to a deep and almost consuming emptiness and loss.

Growing up is never easy as life is usually punctuated by difficulties and hardships, pain and sorrow. However, it is not to the hardships and the difficulties of which we must train our focus and attentions but rather we must look toward the end results. . .eventually looking past them, to the hope of a future.

If we spend all of our time and energies focusing solely on our troubles, then we never move our eyes from the current worry and woe. If we never pull our heads up in order to look for solutions or for a brighter light or for even an escape, we simply remain in the tortuous prison of the situation.

Our young hero was in such a sticky wicket, as life had already proven tough and unkind– when suddenly and tragically, the tough and unkind grew exponentially paramount. The ultimate discovery for our young hero was not that of bitter sorrow and a closed heart, but rather that life, for good or bad, is a continuum, it is something which is always moving forward. The choice of moving along with it, is simply and plainly the decision of the individual. Stay with and in the adversity, or work to move past it—that is the real issue.

As Sir Winston Churchill so succinctly reminds us: “If you are going to go through hell, keep going.” I would imagine he would have noted …”by all means, keep going and by all means get past it!!”

Black and White

“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white. ”
― G.K. Chesterton

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At first glance, one thinks there are but a few remaining leaves still clinging to the tree, suddenly hearing them before you see them—the leaves are not leaves but rather a flock black birds. . .

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The birds cling to the tender ice encrusted twigs.

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The “mass” mentality of these birds is very strong–when one bird takes flight, the entire flock follows suit.

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These birds are so aggressive with feeding that they will even work together to keep larger animals out of the mix, actually driving deer away from joining the meal.

A show of hands please, who’s ready for Spring?

“What a severe yet master artist old Winter is….No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.”
John Burroughs

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Barbed wire is not so sharp with an icy coating

Yesterday we shrugged under a heavy coating of ice—every thing inanimate and not moving fell victim to the cold touch of what the ancients would recognize as Ymir, the norse god of ice. This morning Mother Nature must have spoken kindly to Old Man Winter, as we were greeted by a covering of snow onto of the already think coating of ice, making things so much more bearable to behold.

The buds of the blueberry bushes now lie encased in a tomb of ice:

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Nandina berries offer beautiful contrast to their coat of white:

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The squirrels will have a difficult time gathering these acorns turned popsicles:

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Are the weeds more tolerable when painted in shades of snow and ice?

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**It must be noted that I took these pictures yesterday morning. By mid-morning the sun reappeared as the temperatures rose into the 40’s—this morning there is very little left as a reminder of the storm, that on Monday, the forecasters were predicting to be “Epic and Catastrophic”—amazing what a few hours of sun and warmth can do to Old Man Winter!!

A treacherous beauty has arrived

“It occurs to me now that I have never seen the ice-storm put upon canvas, and have not heard that any painter has tried to do it. I wonder why that is. Is it that paint cannot counterfeit the intense blaze of a sun-flooded jewel?”
Mark Twain

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Along the moonless landscape, under the cover of darkness, crept a primordial spirit working with sinister glee–toiling throughout the long night painting a dangerously beautiful masterpiece. The innocents who slumbered, wrapped warm in the chaste dreams of ignorant bliss, would soon awaken to a new diamond encrusted twinkling world.

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The ancients knew the spirit as Woden or Cailleach Bheur, today it is Old Man Winter who has come calling. With a single sweeping motion of an ice ladened brush, the world has been transformed. Gone from the fleshy fabric of Mother Nature’s genteel handiwork, with the joy of her tactile beauty, is the very essence of life’s warmth. For now, as far as the eye can see, lies a glistening cold, heartless prism.

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With each gust of wind, the eery jingle of the massive wind chimes of limbs, full with ice clanging against ice, groaning under the weight of a mantle of water transformed, reminding the brave, who venture out, to be wary of all things overhead. The trees now alive with the rustling of the shimming sound of heaviness. In the distance the familiar roar of an explosion—wood shattering under the crushing weight of its tomb of frozen water.

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For unto us this day, the world we know has been transformed.
Foreign yet strangely familiar.
Dangerously tempting, like the alluring siren who, beckoning to all weary travels to come gaze upon the beauty, falsely offers safety and security. Beware of those things that glitter, for not all are meant to be embraced. . .

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IT’S COMING !!!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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“Hey ya’ll, it’s coming!
So says the deer to his fellow woodland creatures.
Has he spoken the the weather folks?
Does he know something that we humans do not?

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Despite the squirrels obviously wounded nose, he too heeds the deer’s ominous warning.
Dig, dig, dig to find the stashed nuts before the ground is too covered or too frozen to do so. . .

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“Make room” said the blue jay to the blackbird
“Move over” said the sparrow to the blue jay
“Don’t hog it all” says the blackbird to the robin
“I want some too” said the robin to the crow
“Get out of my way” said the deer to all the birds.
So goes the chatter of the amassed birds. All species and varieties vying for their share of the strewn corn, put out in anticipation of “The Coming”

And no I speak not of “the second coming” but of “THE COMING” —that which the news media (specifically the meteorologists) are all claiming to be a storm of “Epic”–“Historic” and “Catastrophic” proportion.

Oh how I really grow weary of the gloom and doom scenarios.
I am reminded, each time I switch on the television, of Henny Penny running about with her wings covering her head as if bombs were soon to be descending upon her head—“the sky is falling, the sky is falling”
The focus word spewing from the mouthes of the newscasters being “PREPARE”
Not so much for making way or repenting but rather in preparing, as in going out and boosting the economy by clearing off the shelves of the grocery stores.

One friend yesterday, who was out in the midst of the preparing chaos of stockpiling groceries, likened the inside of the grocery store to something out of the movie Apocalypse Now or a scene from Red Dawn. The “get out of my way, those are my eggs, Im taking no prisoners” mentality.

My poor husband. His is the local jewelry store—there’s just nothing like the chanting and drum beats of death and destruction to take the love right out of Valentine’s day. Folks are simply too distracted and too busy seeking those most prized disaster stables–bread, milk and eggs—rather than to think of the more genteel human emotions of love, amour, amore—this is survival we’re talking about, are you crazy man, nobody has time for that sentimental romance business?!

Our phones went off this morning in the wee hours, with that most ominous of sounds—- the one that, no doubt, will be sounded when the Russians decide to send the big one our way. . .“Alert, Your area is currently under a state of Emergency. Tune to local news media for details
Talk about a wake up call!

Schools were canceled today.
The Governor is telling everyone to stay off the roads.
It’s 38 degrees and raining.
Hummmm

Well before I fall too deeply into the well of cynicism, it must be noted that I do have my required storm crisis supplies of the gallon of milk (1/2 gallon in our two person house), my loaf (loaves) of bread, my carton of eggs. .despite the fact that my grocery store had sold out of eggs yesterday at noon, extra charcoal for the grill, filled gas canisters for the generator, candles, flashlights, charged up technologies, etc—all in anticipation of. . . The Coming.

So if you hear from me tomorrow, you will know we survived.
If, however, there is no word, don’t hesitate to send in the search and rescue teams. . .
Oh, and by the way, if I am indeed lost to the storm—a happy Valentine’s day to you all, come Friday!!!

Pope Paschal I, Iconoclasm and hospitality

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(detail from the mosaic tiled ceiling in the Church of Santa Prassede, Rome, Italy of Pope Paschal 1)

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(a small detail of the mosaic tiled ceiling of St Cecilia’s Church Trastevere, Rome– of Saints Valerian and Cecilia–a church founded by Pope Paschal I)

February 11th, in the Catholic Church, is noted as the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Undoubtedly we’ve all heard of Lourdes, that small town in extreme southern France with the mystical healing waters and the grotto dedicated to the Virgin and of her apparitions to the young peasant girl Bernadette. . . even those of us non Catholics and the most jaded among us are familiar with Lourdes. . .but who, I wonder, has heard of Pope, or should I note saint, Paschal I? — even those die hard hagiographers, those who study the lives of the saints, no doubt gloss over this lesser known saint who sits among the giants of the church.

Yet it must be noted that February 11th is also the feast day Pope Paschal 1

Why in the world would a little known pope from the 9th century, who reigned as pope for approximately 8 short years, be of any consequence to us today?
Good question.
Pope Paschal I is but a blip on the historical map of an ancient church whose history spans 2 thousand years. Some of the popes have certainly been anything but virtuous—more along the lines of scoundrels and scalawags which leaves many modern day observers, especially those of us who are not members of the Catholic Church, wondering why in the world these people (Catholics) would ever venerate, let alone consider to be of any significance, many of these unscrupulous, lecherous, self indulgent men.

Now I cannot comment upon the virtuous life of or lack thereof for Pope Paschal I.
Little is known.
He was born in Rome and served as Pope form 817- 824. His pontificacy is laced with a bit of intrigue and questions of complicity to executions, all of which lead church members, at the time of his death, to not allow the burial of his body to take place in St Peters.
Certainly sounds a bit scandalous.

It is however of one particular incident, of rather some significant importance, which has lead me to dig a bit deeper into the history of this man whose feast day the Church celebrates today. It is upon closer study that one learns that Pope Paschal I was head of the Latin Church (the western branch of Christianity) during a period known as the Byzantine Iconoclasm—or simply the time of The Iconoclast.

A dark time in history when many fanatical members of the Eastern branch of Christianity, including Emperor Leo III, decided that any and all images (Icons, statues, paintings, mosaics. . .) of God, Christ, and other Holy and sacred individuals were considered sinful, idolatry, and must be destroyed— along with many of the artists, owners as well as those who venerated such images. A dark time of vast persecution of a people who had loved the sacred images and had used them as part of their very deep personal services. Photographs, as it were, of a Savior for a people who wanted, and continue to want, to put a face with that of the Mysterious. Do we not still yearn for such images today?

It is in these dark times of such fanatical ignorance, which has been laced throughout much of the history of mankind, that I believe is one of man’s greatest faults. As an art educator and humble historian, the destruction of various Cultures and their artifacts, which simply boils down to the pure essence of the identity of a people is, in my humble opinion, catastrophic.

This ancient sort of destructive “out of sight out of mind” feeding frenzy has actually played out throughout much of history with a few of the more notable and infamous being that of the Italian Dominican monk Savonarola and his Bonfire of the Vanities, to more recent times with the book burnings of the Nazi’s during the early 1940’s, to the more recent destruction of the giant ancient carvings in Afghanistan, those known as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, by the Taliban in 2001. A warped mindset that if the powerful can simply destroy the “things” and or creations of a certain people, then the people will also cease to exist. History teaches us that perseverance is more than things..

Pope Paschal I was a sympathizer to those members of the Eastern Orthodox church who not only created the sacred art images but to those who continued to want to display such in churches and in homes. He afforded those who fled the persecution in Greece and Turkey a safe haven. He actually encouraged the creation of mosaics and other sacred art by these individuals in many of the churches in Rome. This during a time of great divide between the two Churches.

This little known Pope overlooked the differences of the two bickering arms of a single faith in order to offer hospitality to those victims of persecution. It is because of the very amnesty offered by and of the preservation afford to such treasured pieces of the Christian faith by such individuals as Pope Paschal I and those long forgotten monks who smuggled many of the sacred images to remote monasteries such as St Catherine’s’ in the southern Sinai Peninsula, that those of us today may glance upon images that date to the very inception of our faith.

So on this Tuesday, February 11, may we be reminded of the lesser known names in the annuals of a history, who, such as Pope Paschal I, have helped to preserve important pieces to the puzzle of our past. To those who have demonstrated moments of brave compassion by offering safety to those suffering the persecution of faith.

Hospitality, compassion, benevolence—words to take to heart on this chilly February morning.

Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step towards dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.
Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B

Legacy, and the difference between a calling and a job

“For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.”
Thomas Merton

“Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”
― Thomas Merton

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Vocation: a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. From the latin vocare ‘to call.

Job: A task or piece of work, esp. one that is paid. Mid 16th century: of unknown origin

Legacy: Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
Middle English legacie office of a legate, bequest, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, office of a legate, from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus
First Known Use: 15th century

I usually like listening to music while I spend my required time of morning servitude chained to my feeble attempts of exercise. This morning was no exception as I huffed and puffed my 5 mile pace on the elliptical. Today’s choice was the album Woven and Spun by Nichole Nordeman. Nichole is one of my favorite contemporary female Christian artists. Her words have always spoken deeply to my own heart and my often inadequate grasp or putting words to my feelings.

As the song Legacy began to play, with me more focused on how many more minutes I had to endure of the continued exertion of the up and down motion of lifting leg upon leg, I was suddenly aware of the words to the song which came flooding to my ears. . .
. . .How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

Naturally my mind drifted to that key word legacy with my thoughts then shifting to my very long career in the classroom. 31 years of high highs and equally low lows. How will they choose to remember me? Or in my case, how do they remember me? Did I choose to do and say the type of things that left the lasting positive marks of love, pointing to those things that I would hope others would help point my own child toward?

During such a lengthy career there will always be those who will answer yes, you did what was right and required. . .just as there will be those who will say no, you did not do those things. Such is the case with such a long time doing the same thing as so it is when working closely with people—as the old adage is certainly true, one simply cannot please all of the people all of the time.

If, however, the over-all feeling from those I served—from Superintendents to Principals–to my colleagues to the parents with the most important commodity being the students. . .if the majority was pleased then that’s pretty good I suppose. But as any teacher worth their salts would worry, it is to those who would answer no that I would feel as if I had not done my job adequately or sufficiently.

But today’s thoughts are not so much for my having done my job well or not, which captures my attention, but it is rather to those current as well as future educators which draws my concerns.

To teach is not merely a job in which one gets paid. It consists not of the typical 9 to 5 day but rather, in my case it was 6:45AM to 5 or 6PM or even later—which often spanned more than Monday through Friday.

Teaching is not a job.
Teaching, rather, is a vocation.
It is a calling.
— just as the priesthood is a calling.
It is a calling to serve.
It is a deep component within, which for most seems, hard wired since birth.
Not only is it a call to educate but it is a call to nurture, to care for, to tend to, to protect, to foster, to mould, to form, to shape, to respect. . .and it is a call to sacrifice.

The Bible is laced with claims that those who teach will be held to higher and stricter standards as the responsibility is just that great.

Kids spend more time at school, with their teachers, than they do with their parents. Many children seek a safe, warm, nourishing shelter in a school—taking many of them off the dangerous, bullet ridden, drug infested streets, as well as the frightening home scenarios which play out each day in the news. There is food for those who have little to none outside of the walls of the school. It is as place to feel a connection to a positive “community”–a place to hope and dream. A place to turn dreams into realities.

Society yearns to know why there is so much violence, death and destruction within our kids, yet they also tell the teachers, the caring adults in the lives of these children, not to care too much, not to offer too much wisdom or counsel, not to share that foundation of beliefs which have been the grounded basis for many of these particular adults.. .as it will conflict with the separation of Church and Sate, it will open one up for law suits, it counters the teaching of Evolution, it runs counter to the will of Society, it sends the wrong message, etc, etc, etc.

Those who currently desire to teach must know that with a vocation comes the sacrifice of self. That of time, personal desire, riches, fame, glamour. It is not intended for those who live two apparently different lives of one being that in the classroom and then that being of the one outside of the classroom. How many a FaceBook posting has ruined a teacher? It is not wise for a teacher to hang out in public places which may paint a poor light upon the teacher come Monday morning back at school. That is just the nature of this career choice. You must be who you are in the classroom as well as out of the classroom.

Teaching, akin to marriage, is not to be entered into lightly. It is a vocation of sacrifice. The sacrifice of time, the sacrifice of personal freedoms, the sacrifice often of one’s own personal safety.

This as I am mindful of the teachers during the past decade who have sheltered their children during the crisis of intruders or the crisis of catastrophic weather events- – – leading the students to shelter and safety and to those teachers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their “kids”—as that is simply what teachers do—they give all they have to their “kids”—for good or bad.

Suddenly my mind is riveted back to the pain now racing through my legs and lungs, as I am still in the midst of the grueling 30 minute regime, I am mindful however to end these thoughts today by leaving us all with two questions. . .
The first question is to be that of choice—the choice of seeking a vocation verses seeking a job–does the call to vocation lie in your heart?
The second question will be what type of Legacy will you leave behind.
All thoughts to ponder while enduring the grueling continuum of lifting leg upon leg. . .

Legacy
I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such’n’such … it wouldn’t matter much

I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, “Well Done” good and faithful one…

To share or not to share, that is the question

“When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
― Basil the Great

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(images of a black capped chickadee and grey squirrel attempts at sharing a feeder / Julie Cook / 2014)