inviting yet locked

“By confronting us with irreducible mysteries that stretch our daily vision
to include infinity, nature opens an inviting and guiding path
toward a spiritual life.”

Thomas More

As polarized as we have been,
we Americans are locked in a cultural war for the soul of our country.

Pat Buchanan


(an inviting, yet closed and obviously shuttered, secluded entrance way /
Rosemary Beach, Fl / Julie Cook / 2017)

(since we were speaking of journeys yesterday, I thought this other archived
post from 2017 would be another nice addition—please enjoy
)

There is a lovely Orthodox Christian blog that I follow…
Where I often find the most beautiful wisdom presented in the simplest of fashions.
This morning was no exception.

https://thoughtsintrusive.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/what-does-charismatic-despair-mean/

When I first read this morning’s posting’s title, with words such as Charismatic and despair…words that at first glance appear to be polar opposites of one another,
I wasn’t prepared to find both a sweet reminder as well as an embracing
comfort all rolled into one.

I am reminded that as we each journey through this thing we call life,
we will each inevitably encounter times of great frustration, difficulty…
even overwhelming sorrow.

We will come to those places along on our walk where we find our pathway blocked
with various doorways—
those apparent entrances beckoning us to continue forward,
yet each shuttered and locked tight.
There will be no obvious alternate path allowing for us
to continue onward, proceeding freely and unhindered.
Only locked doors.

It is at such a juncture on this path, where we are met by
both doubt and despair.

Choice suddenly appears limited or even nonexistent.
Knowing we can’t progress forward and that we certainly
can’t turn around,
going back from whence we came…for too much time has passed for turn arounds,
we are stymied. A rushing fear washes over us as we realize that we have
no other options, no choices.

And this is where we must look not obviously outward from ourselves
seeking our answers,
but rather we must look inward…traveling deeply within ourselves.

For it is in this very moment of inward verses outward, of how we will decide
to interact with the obstacles and locked doors,
which will eventually decide how we continue forward on our journey.

And so it is here, tucked gently away in this morning’s reading of simple words,
words offered by a simple monk, where we are gently yet profoundly reminded that
in our apparent despair, we are driven not by the seemingly overwhelmingness
of that very despair and its accompanying frustration,
but rather we are driven by the divine interventions of the Spirit..
.
He who urges us, without our even being aware, to seek the only One who has
the key to unlocking those shattered doors, allowing for us to continue forward
on this odd little journey of ours.

It begins with a frustration or a pain or a sorrow and it ends with
an imploring prayer…


(the wisdom of Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex from the book
Remember Thy First Love)

Overwhlelmed

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you.
All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.
Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

St. Teresa of Avila


(the Sheriff giving in to his being overwhelmed by the day / Julie Cook / 2020)

Trying times overwhelm us.
There are no ifs, ands, or buts to it…

So during such times, we must be ever mindful that it is precisely how we respond
to such overwhelming trying times that will, in the end, define us—

Will we be the better for it or the worse for it?

Will the difference be life or will it be death?

And will it be either life eternal or death damnation?

Because you see, if we cry out for God’s intervention, will we be prepared for what
such an intervention will entail?

Some of us will and some of us will not.

C.S. Lewis reminds what such a cry entails…

“God will invade.
But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our
world quite realise what it will be like when He does.
When that happens, it is the end of the world.
When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.
God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then,
when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else –
something it never entered your head to conceive –
comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others
that none of us will have any choice left?
For this time it will God without disguise;
something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror
into every creature.
It will be too late then to choose your side.
There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up.
That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side
we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not.
Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.
God is holding back to give us that chance.
It will not last for ever.
We must take it or leave it.”

C.S. Lewis

Monday’s mania and the tale of a wayward vulture

Since knowledge is but sorrow’s spy,
It is not safe to know.

William Davenant

_88004708_88004706
(A poor lost griffon vulture, image courtesy the BBC)

What’s a griffon vulture and the high stakes game of espionage and intelligence gathering have to do with one another?
Absolutely nothing.
Yet try telling that to the Lebanese government.

Meet a comedy of errors that had a near disastrous consequence for one hapless griffon vulture.

It seems that this carrion loving bird, who was simply out and about for an innocent lazy ride along the thermals over the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, made the egregious mistake of nonchalantly wandering into Lebanese air space.
He was subsequently captured and “incarcerated” by local Lebanese villagers who mistook him for an Israeli spy.

“A vulture an Israeli spy???!!!” I hear you incredulously howling….

Seems our unsuspecting raptor, who had a tracking device on his tail, was observed flying into Lebanese airspace and was thus assumed to be up to no good…as if eating dead things is a good thing….

But the truth of the matter is that vultures, who have long been absent from this region, were recently reintroduced back into this particular area of the Middle East. Each vulture has a tracking device and a leg tag marking them as a part of Tel Aviv University’s biological research department. Students track these birds in order to monitor their flight patterns, nesting habits, the potential for repopulating the region as well as for their overall wellbeing.

The Lebanese villagers suspecting a “Zionist” plot hatching out right over their heads pegged this lone vulture as a spy most likely complete with a spy cam.
It took the intervention of the UN to broker a deal for the poor vulture’s release and safe return back to the University.

And it should be noted that this is not the first incident of a suspect vulture’s mistaken identity and subsequent “arrest”…..
It seems that even poor vultures are not exempt from the rampant paranoia of high stakes espionage.

So the next time you see a bunch of buzzards circling overhead, eyeing that latest possum roadkill, you might want to think twice about whether or not that’s really a possum and whether or not that’s really a buzzard….

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35446528

Here’s to putting a smile on your face this Monday morning….