Signs of the times

Our heart oft times wakes when we sleep, and God can speak to that, either by words, by proverbs, by signs and similitudes, as well as if one was awake.
John Bunyan

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(deer crossing sign located on the road near Cong, County Gallway / Mayo Border / Julie Cook / 2015)

You’ve seen the signs, plain as day.
A visual word to the wise.
Slow down
Be careful
Be mindful
Keep a watch
Be vigilant
Caution

Yet you don’t pay much attention.
Maybe you take a quick check of your peripheral vision…
Sensing nothing out of the ordinary on either side…
All the while, you stare straight ahead with both hands fixed on the wheel–
Assuming you’re good to go…as you merrily zip down the road.

As far as slowing down and exercising the advised caution, well, that ain’t happening.
You’ve been down this road a million times, and you’ve got places to go…
You flippantly play the gambling odds in your head, figuring chances are on your side…
Deer?
No deer?
Hummmmm
You go with no deer…as you’ve never seen a deer on this stretch of road.
You continue scooting mindlessly down the road.

But ironically the odds are not in your favor.

That lone buck, chasing that lone doe, darts out from the woods and crosses your path.
You’re clocking 70 mph, if not more.
You see the deer running right in front of you, just out of your right eye, right before you slam on the brakes…
You and the deer meet as one…
There’s a sickening thud and a high pitched screeching that won’t stop.
It slams into the windshield, shattering the glass, sending shards everywhere…

Blood and fur now cover your vision.
Reflexes have you stomping, pushing as hard as you can, down on the brakes as the car slides to the right, spinning.
The tires hit the shoulder of the road, which is nothing but soft earth…
Your tire mares in the soft dirt sticking and flipping the car over, sending you, the deer and almost 5000 pounds of metal, glass, rubber and plastic on a merry-go-round of madness.
Will you survive?…the last thought before you black out as you head slams into the door window…as you flip and flip and flip…

You were given a sign for a reason…
Yet you chose to ignore it…
You egotistically chose to play the odds.
You were invincible, in a hurry with places to go remember…

Obviously those odds were not in your favor….

God has given us all the signs.
He continues offering…
Yet you, me, we just keep continuing playing the odds…

Maybe it’s just that we’re opting to ignore any and all signs for some stupid selfish reason, hoping the inevitable will just go away…
or better yet…
Won’t ever happen…
Cause really, we’re just all too busy zipping down Life’s myriad of roads to pay too much attention to any benign sort of sign….

So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
John 4:48

in the details, rests the Divine

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
Augustine of Hippo

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(bees busy at work outside the window at Ashford Castle / Cong, County Galway / County Mayo / Julie Cook / 2015)

“Leave me alone with God as much as may be. As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you. Then with the turning of the tide prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to you.”
St Aidan

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(the detail of a tiny bee busy at work / Ashford Castle, Cong, County Galway, County Mayo / Julie Cook / 2015)

Lost in song

In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.
A W Tozer

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(a European robin sings joyfully at Ashford Castle / Cong, County Mayo / County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“Alone with none but Thee, my God,
I journey on my way;
What need I fear when Thou art near,
Oh King of night and day?
More safe am I within Thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.”

St Colum Cille (Columba)

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(a European robin plays peek a boo at Ashford Castle / Cong, County Mayo / Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

There are plans

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

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(A lone sentinel sits watch along the outer wall along the Rock Of Cashel / County Tipperary, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I lose sight you know…

Losing that certain knowledge…

Lost in the day to day…

It’s truly…simply lost…

In fact, I think I, as in myself, my life, my very being, has gotten lost.

I didn’t quite realize it until just recently.

The din of madness from this chattering world of ours, with its dark vacuum and slick diversions, has sucked it all slowly away.

I am like those crumbling ruins of ages past…
Once great and grand, sure and solid…
Impressing both self as well as others…
Made to last forever. . .or so it seemed…
Yet over time and little by little, the beauty and loftiness has faded…
The glory is now forgotten…
I sit alone and abandoned left feeling more numb than sad.

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(the crumbling edifice of the Rock of Cashel which dates to the early 12th century / County Tipperary, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(the crumbling edifice of the Rock of Cashel which dates to the early 12th century / County Tipperary, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(the crumbling edifice of the Rock of Cashel which dates to the early 12th century / County Tipperary, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Then one day, when it is least expected, a single ray of light shines into the blurry, chilly grey abyss…there is a word, a touch, a feeling, a reminder…

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” says our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”
A.W. Tozer

The notion that I, as in me…who out of the billions of human beings on this planet, has been considered worthy enough for the most high Omnipotent God to have long ago, well before I came into being, placed a piece of His own Divinity within my very being…only to call out to that very tiny particle years later, is a thought that is more than difficult to wrap words, let alone thoughts, around.

It is as if two missing pieces, separated forever ago, now palpably yearn, nay ache, to be joined and bound together—at last…in order to finally become one, to be made whole.

Those who are adopted often come prewired with a sense of unwantedness.

It is a psychological hiccup in the cornerstone of formation sadly instilled in utero.
It is a hindrance that is carried beneath the conscious mind throughout life, only to rear its ugly head in the myriad of relationships held throughout the course of a lifetime.

It is that hidden sense of unwantedness that acts to repel the notion that one is deeply and passionately loved, wanted, savored…particularly so by the very Creator of all of Life Himself as it is He who instilled His loving “want” at the time the unwantedness was issued.

A contradiction in utero–the sacred and the carnal colliding in the creation of life.
Want and rejection become a stalemate of one.
Brokeness is pushed forever deeper as all manner of satiation is sought throughout the journey known as life–anything to fill the unrecognizable carnality subconscious ache.

Yet the Divine Want far surpasses any secular carnal unwantedness.
Grace, Redemption, Desire, Love, Acceptance each flows freely, coursing through veins which had narrowed in their ill perceived lack of want and years of temporal satiation.

It is as if someone has taken hold of both shoulders and shaken so hard that a revelation has actually, thankfully, finally been jared loose, knocking all falsehoods off balance. The ah ha moment of the very reality of Creation crushes down on the hardened ego of self and on the sheer act of survival– as joyfully selfless Love indeed trumps all…

…and so it is, the tiny wee particle, buried deep within, hears its long awaited missing half…a Voice speaking through the mist —
“You are indeed worthy…for you have always been mine…
There are plans…”

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Chapel window from Kylemore Abbey / County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook/ 2015)