Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lost and Found in Leaves of Green

"To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour....." So sang William Blake, the English poet and essayist, quite some time ago in a work called the Auguries of Innocence. And so sang I just yesterday on a little walk between meetings, on the road between St. Isaac Jogues parish and the Valley Forge Middle School. It was just about sunset.

I've been running around like a nut for the last two or three weeks, between teaching, speaking, meeting, refinancing the house, "retreating" and trying to be present when I'm in the presence of my beloved wife. (She is amazingly patient and supportive, by the way, when I'm juggling five things).

I was preparing for a talk and getting some prayer time with Jesus at the little adoration chapel at St. Isaac's yesterday after school. I realized it was best to stay out west, since I was meeting the guys at Dave's at 6:30 for dinner and our monthly touching base (MDG!).

That's when God's light broke in again, into the duststorm of my noise and haste. First the light streaming from His Son in the Eucharist in that little chapel, and then through the rays of the other sun, the sacramental sign of the True Son.

I was about to get into the car and head to Dave's, when the smell of September hit me; that rich, acorn-kinda leafy warm grass smell. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout. I looked up and saw in the distance a tall cluster of white pines, like huge sentinels waving a farewell salute to the setting sun. They were washed in golden light. They rocked and swayed in a strong evening wind. I let the car keys slip from my fingers, back into my pocket, and walked slowly towards the trees. On the way, I just inhaled, exhaled, and watched the wind have its way with the pines. What a dance.

I moved into the stand of trees and was caught by the leaves of a smaller tree, deciduous and brilliant, with the sun just behind her. Like a burning bush, green with hope, it let the sun shine through it and I could see, just inches before my face, the tiny veins and the clusters of cells and the great dance of molecules, like flames flaring up in the natural furnace of photosynthesis. Right before me the tree was being fed, recharged, rekindled, replenished by the last pouring out of heat and fire from the cup of tbe sun. And so was I.

It struck me that I need to recall the simplicity of the walk and the gaze and the wonder of the moment, especially in these busy back to school days. Ten minutes wasted, spilled out, let go of, open hands to the Son, can rekindle, refresh, and recharge me. I just have to keep the leaves of my days open to face Him, to let Him pour out fire and heat into an empty cup. Isn't this what the life of grace is all about?

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

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