Friday, November 11, 2011

Paz, Pax, Peace

As I write this it is a little past noon on November 11, 2011. Most people call this Veterans Day but November 11th was originally called Armistice Day because it commemorated the day World War I ended. The order for everyone to lay down their arms went into effect at 11 o’clock in the morning of November 11, 1918.

So this morning at eleven I went out to my labyrinth to talk to God. I planned to get a few words in on my side and then just listen to what God had to say.

When we were in Guatemala a couple of weeks ago I had two opportunities to learn something. One was to talk a little more with Miriam Leon about our brief time at the ruins at Quirigua last year when she tried to show me how to feel the positive energy from a tree. I had no doubts that she could feel it. But I couldn’t feel anything and I wanted to ask her how I could learn. Sadly, the opportunity never appeared and I wasn’t sharp enough to create the opportunity. I will either have to wait until next year or figure it out on my own.

The second opportunity for growth came during our bible study (of Phillipians 2:1-11) when Clay instructed us to “empty ourselves” and make more room for Christ. Walking the labyrinth today I decided to just shut up and listen. This goes a long way toward emptying myself.

I picked the perfect place to paint my labyrinth in the grass. It’s a field that is isolated from our house. It shares fences with both of our neighbors and I can see the Bergers’ horses across one fence and the Foy’s goats are on a little bit beyond another fence. I could hear them bleating once in a while. But, mostly it was just quiet today. There was a good wind that came and went. I did have some trouble emptying my mind but when I caught my thoughts wandering, it was easy enough to return to listening to the wind.

The sky is a pure blue today and most of the trees are still green with a few Sweet Gums beginning to turn red and orange and yellow. I walked. And I listened.

A few nibbles came to me that I needed to just be still and know that God is in charge. That didn’t sound like much of a challenge: to be still. Seemed like anybody could do that; it’s kind of a default position—just being still. Didn’t God have anything stronger to assign me?

You and I both know that “being still” is the harder job than taking any kind of action. Nobody likes to be still. I ended my walk with nothing more than a feeling that God is OK with me just praying and being in love with the world.

When I finished my walk I decided to go check on the goats and found Alisa there feeding them. We talked a bit about their growing farm. She has about four brand new baby goats. Her current project is to de-bud their horns which needs to be done within a week of their birth. She’s found a good deal in the equipment she needs to do that and she can go buy it today. One of the babies was still-born and she delivered it herself. Now they have extra milk but can’t milk them until David builds a milking stand. Who knew it was so complicated to have a herd of goats? They’ve lost another rooster to the coyotes and have given up on the hens who have stopped laying. They have taught the kids that you don’t raise animals in order to kill and eat them. So, even though she is OK with “processing” the four hens who aren’t laying, she is stuck with them. Kids have a way of calling your hand if you try to make a move outside what you have taught them.

We talked briefly about my prayers for peace today at 11am on 11/11/11. She told me that she has decided the best contribution she can make will be in raising her four kids to be peaceful people.

There are four Foy children. I have two daughters and grand-daughters. That’s eight people that I know of who will live a good life and be nice to their neighbors. That’s a start.

I’m reading four books at once right now. And it’s developed into another “theme” read. In the fiction category I’m reading Stephen King’s newest novel and it’s about going back in time to change the course of history, making it a more peaceful world.

I also recommend the other three:

“Abide; Keeping Vigil with the Word of God” by Macrina Weiderkehr
“Listening for the Heartbeat of God; a Celtic Spirituality” by J. Philip Newell
“You Don’t Have to be Wrong For Me to Be Right; Finding Faith Without Fanaticism” by Brad Hirschfield

I’m reading all three at once because I think they are all about basically the same subject.

And I mention this to you here on November 11, 2011 because there might not be too much we can do to make the world a better place beyond changing ourselves. It may not sound like much but it is everything.

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