From the sweet grass to the packing house

"We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities."? Robert Duvall as Prentice Ritter in Broken Trail.

Welcome to the journey, dear reader. On your tombstone there will be two dates, and in-between a dash. What matters most in life is how you spend your dash. This is the subject of a poem by Linda Ellis who points out that it doesn't matter how much money you make, how many possessions you amass; what matters is "how we live and love", how we treat the people in our lives.

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The choice is ours, dear reader, whether we live a life open to the awe and wonder of God's creation that surrounds us. There was a sign in Carl Jung's house that said: Invited or not, God is present.

Jesus came "from Heaven to Earth to show the way". Jesus took us "from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky"; as the inspirational song "Lord, I lift your name on high" says. What joy bursts forth, even from our broken alleluias. What is lacking in our world today is the absolute Resurrection joy of Jesus' disciples who saw the Lord after He rose from the dead. Have we seen the Lord?

There was a time when I went home from work, tired after a fruitful day. The stars shone above me; I breathed deeply of the rich fragrance of nature's fall foliage which was mingled with the smell of threshed wheat and baled straw.

Today the worker rushes home trying to beat the traffic to the next intersection, breathing shallowly of the exhaust fumes while ignoring the billboards in the smog. Is it possible to find the stars in the sky, to see the sunrise and set, and to walk again with God in nature?

There are layers of separation between us and God. Some of them are man-made. Some of us create a constant sound barrier of the latest tunes, the top 20 or the ipod mix of favourites in a world of texting and googling.

Most laud it as virtue to be "over-busy and consumed by work, particularly during our generative years when the duties of raising children, paying mortgages, and running our churches and civic organizations fall more squarely on our shoulders" (from "Working too hard" - Rev. Ron Rolheiser).

But God is often found in the silence!

Three times a day, everything on the hill of Taizé [France] stops: the work, the Bible studies, the discussions. The bells call everyone to church for prayer. Hundreds or even thousands of mainly young people from all over the world pray and sing together with the brothers of the community. Scripture is read in several languages. In the middle of each common prayer, there is a long period of silence, a unique moment for meeting with God.

The experience of God in our lives can manifest itself in simple and ordinary ways. I carry on a little love affair with God by noticing his daily manifestations in the clouds or in nature and in my fellow man.

© Copyright Carlyle Observer

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