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L'Abri Journals...ACGray

May 2004
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Merry Month of May

Chalet LAbri. May, 2004

A page from my journalacg

 

A whole new day is mine to live in,

To work and play, to get and give in,

A chance to learn, a chance to grow,

And much depends on me I know.

 

I thank thee, God, for power to choose

The right from wrong, for chance to use

My day, and all the strength it brings,

In doing happy, worthwhile things.

 

So when the hours of day have flown,

I pray I may have stronger grown;

That I can say when night brings rest,

Dear God, I tried to do my best.

            from Through Troubled Waters

 

            Now the cheerful yellow of daffodils has been replaced by welcome spring greenery in the tulip poplars, maples, and oaks outside my living room window.  Redbuds and dogwood have rushed into bloom.  Winters brown forest floor has given way to a mantle of lush moss and vines.   Almost overnight the temperature jumped fifty degrees headlong into summer.  But until mid-month and from long experience, I'll be wary of spring's foolery and a surprise frosty morning.  All the same I eagerly await the day soon when I can plant annuals in my trapezoid garden fearless of freeze.

          A family of wrens has returned to occupy the mini-chalet birdhouse beneath my porch.  And mother Phoebe has built a home hidden somewhere under the front roof overhang.  Brother brought a magnificent trillium now planted by the front door.  Also yellow and pink hibiscus to accent the end of my driveway!   So welcomes in an early summer at LAbri and assurance that all is well.  Indoors the wall clock marks time for me with its punctual chimes and echoes.  Onward march!  Like a good soldier, I try to keep in step.

          I have been reading two books at once, the themes of which stretch my understanding of things eternal.  In his book Return from Tomorrow,  George Ritchie, tells the story of his death at the age of 20 in an army hospital.  Nine minutes later he returned to life.  He tells of his travel through different dimensions of time and space and his own Damascus road encounter with the Light of the world, the Son of God. God is busy building a race of men who know how to love, he writes.  I believe that the fate of the earth depends on the progress we make and that the time now is very short.  As for what well find in the next worldI believe that what well discover there depends on how well we get on with the business of loving, here and now.

Rod Helbert told me about the book Learning to Fall:  The Blessings of an Imperfect Life, by Philip Simmons.   Diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs disease, Simmons was given only a few short years to live.  I have been warmed and blessed with the richness of the books deeply felt benediction.  What are the lessons we learn from a dying man who shares his journey free of judgment of his fellow pilgrims?  Simmons wisely show us all will fall in countless ways:

Think again of falling as a figure of speech.  We fall on our faces, we fall for a joke, we fall for someone, we fall in love.  In each of these falls, what do we fall away from?  We fall from ego, we fall from our carefully constructed identities, our reputations, our precious selves.  We fall from ambition, we fall from grasping, we fall, at least temporarily, from reason.  And what do we fall into?  We fall into passion, into terror, into unreasoning joy.  We fall into humility, into compassion, into emptiness, into oneness with forces larger than ourselves, into oneness with others whom we realize are likewise falling.  We fall, at last, into the presence of the sacred, into godliness, into mystery, into our better, diviner natures.  When we learn to fall we learn to accept the vulnerability that is our human endowment, the cost of walking upright on the earth.

Both books  -- highly recommended!

Our Creator would never have made such lovely days,
and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above 
and beyond all thought,unless we were meant to be immortal.
                         
                  - Nathaniel Hawthorne