"Summertime and the living is easy" are words from a wonderful musical, "Porgy and Bess." There is a wonder-full haunting melody that goes with those words which does the soul good. It pretty well stops you in wonder, just as Summer is supposed to do. I am just speaking of the ideal here. Reality is something completely different as we well know. For the millions that find peace, freedom, spiritual enlightenment, refreshment, rejuvenation, there are millions more living out the tragedy that is, the human condition. We are challenged to live within an inclusive lens. There is the great temptation to think our little world, and the little vision that comes with that, is all there is. We must work on developing an attitude of gratitude for the gifts, that are always gifted, in the sacrament of the now. There is no moment that in some way we are encountering the self revelation of The Mystery, God, and a gracious God at that. As we are unique by reason of our creation, we are also unique through grace, in our relationship with The Great Spirit.
As I look at the many, many photos posted on Facebook, I become aware of how different are the ways individuals respond to the reality lived in each moment. Each photo is a person's way of communicating a depth of awe and wonder at this aspect of creation that is being experienced right now. There are photos of the ocean in its many moods. We are invited to join the presenter their wonder of mountain lakes, rivers, and sprightly streams. WE are caught up in the communal joy that is part and parcel of family gatherings, that is again the ideal. We are welcomed to enter the feelings of the mystery that accompanies the setting of the sun. Is there not something awe-full, and wonder-full, that is an essential part of a setting sun. We in Arizona are spoiled with the frequency of awe inspiring sunsets. We can take them for granted. When I used to travel, I used to look forward each evening to the gathering that would take place, without fail, and at the bluff, the water's edge. Individuals, couples, families, seem to be drawn by some unseen force to stop their individual doing, so as to share their being in this now, communal event. Sunsets have a way of transforming us from human doers to human beings. Sunsets are an everyday ordinary occurrence, yet why is it that this particular sunset triggers both awe and wonder? I cannot put into finite words the answer. Your individual, unique will bubbles up from within. One can see couples getting closer. Hands are held, or wrapped around to trigger an even deeper closeness. Families gather as one. It is awe inspiring to see a family standing as one, cuddling together into a deeper unity, so as to enjoy, and capture within their depths, the mystery they are sharing. On year in San Diego, I was driving at sunset when I saw, what was a musical group playing their music as their tribute to the setting sun. Does not nature have a wonder-full way of communicating the presence of Creator Spirit? She does so in an endless manner. As She did, She does, and She will do, forever and ever. In nature there is the union of time, and The Timeless. This is a spiritual experience that can and will lead to a deepening of our unique prayer life, reflecting our unique relationship.
Each one of us is gifted with a unique relationship with The Mystery, The Great Spirit, The Great Unknown and the Great Unknowable. No two prayer lives are the same, because no two relationships are the same. We each have been blessed with a unique path to trod, or trudge. So we are never to compare our prayer life to anybody else's. They have theirs we have ours. Nothing will be missing from our prayer life. We will be graced with all that is necessary for our special relationship. We will get what we need, not what we want. Our prayer life is no better, or no worse than anybody else's. We grow in the acceptance of what is offered to us in the here, and now. Our God cannot short change us so that someone may be more blessed. So in this moment, all that we need is being gifted to us. Moments can become so ordinary that we take them for granted. As we take each ordinary moment for granted that take every "ordinary person" in the moment for granted, by this we choose to live a life empty of Mystery, and meaning. We live without actually living. We are the walking dead that need to be awakened through the power and the mystery of grace. We need a so called "ordinary moment" to rise up and kick us in the butt so as to awaken us to all that is hidden, and yet, present in a mysterious way right here, right now. It will always be in "the right now" that this will happen. It cannot happen otherwise. This is the way The Mystery has chosen to communicate. So it has to be God's way not our way. How long does it take to learn this lesson? A whole lifetime is required to be spent in the hard school of spiritual growth. In this school it is not about learning it is about unlearning. There are no diplomas handed out. Who wants a diploma that recognizes our growth in failure? Where would that go on our walls? We have a deep need to be recognized for our successes. Our secret, or no secret failures are our own. Now if you are blessed to be in a Twelve Step program it will take an honest communication of those secret failures to enter recovery. NOT to be cured, as "the soul is never cured. It is only cared for."(Moore) This daily caring is not easy. As it is a journey into honesty, rigorous honesty is the goal.
Whenever I am on a journey "with nature" that spiritual experience for me, can be summed up in the following verses from the hymn, "How Great Thou Art."
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; how great Thou art! how great Thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: How great Thou art! How great Thou art!" It is these following words that really triggers something within. "When through the woods and forest glades I wander And hear the birds sing sweetly in the tree, When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze: then sings my soul the wonder and majesty of my Creator God."