Monday, August 04, 2008

Hugging the Universe

I was reading the latest edition of Islands Magazine the other day (which we get for FREE for some strange reason which I don't object to at all because of the beautiful pics), and I came across a curious story. It was about a young woman who resides on one of the "10 Best Islands to Live On."  

Meet Kate: She grew up in Georgia, graduated from college in 1991, and then spent four years traveling the globe, working in hospitality and tourism in the USA, Europe and Australia. "I have never really had any 'plans,' so life just seems to happen around me," says the 38-year-old. "I just grab ahold occasionally."  

The article continues: But it seems Kangaroo Island grabbed ahold of Kate during her first visit in 1994. "I could have just kept moving, but I heard what my mind and body were telling me, and it was, 'Stay!' " says Kate. The following year, she moved to the island full time.... Overall, Kate's philosophy is to go with the flow. "Life takes us on strange and wonderful pathways to get where we are going," she says. "I think you have to be open to what the universe gives you. Listen to your heart." Now at first glance, Kate's philosophy seems rather inviting; it's about being open, receptive, adapting to the vicissitudes of every day living, the ups and downs, with a certain grace. And listening to your heart, well, isn't that what Disney has been telling us to do since we were seven years old? (Although, Jiminy Cricket actually defaulted to the conscience, which was nice).  

A QUICK DIGRESSION... Did you know that Disney gave this appellation to that little grasshopper? "Lord High Keeper of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, Counselor in Moments of Temptation, and Guide along the Straight and Narrow Path." Wow! I wish Jiminy C. would pop in on some of Disney's latest works.

BACK TO KATE... "Life takes us on strange and wonderful pathways to get where we are going," she says. "I think you have to be open to what the universe gives you. Listen to your heart." Now... I am not begrudging Kate her island dream, nor am I trying to toss a soggy blanket on this whole "follow your heart" philosophy.... in fact, I'm all about it. It's just that my spidey senses are tingling at that line: "I think you have to be open to what the universe gives you." The universe? How can I be open to a cluster of stars or swamps of microbacteria? What if I'm on top of an erupting volcano and lava comes spewing towards me. Is this a gift from Mr. Universe? I may have my Cranky Pants on tonight, but I think sometimes we forget who we are, and Whose we are. We love the earth too much, and we forget Who it's pointing to. Remember Wisdom 13? "For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan... For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original Author, by analogy, is seen."

Let's give credit where credit is due. There is a Face shining behind this thin veil of a universe! I get enraptured by the beauty of the world every day, but I know He is peeking through the curtain. So, unlike the Wizard of Oz, let's pay attention to that Man behind the curtain! The wonders of this earth quite literally take my breathe away sometimes. But when the THANK YOU wells up in my heart, its trajectory arcs beyond the simple heavens towards the Presence in Heaven. Or it bends low, onto this very earth, towards the tabernacle, or to the core of my own feeble and trembling body, where He said He would abide if I opened the door of my heart to Him. My thanks doesn't spin out into the Milky Way. I'd get no signal of a response. I can't hug the universe to express my gratitude, but I can get a hug and a kiss from Abba Father and Jesus the Savior in every encounter with the Eucharist. So one of the best islands to live on for me is my local Catholic church; it's a little slice of heaven floating in this sea of time! Of course, if there was a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament on Kangaroo Island, I mean, that would be pretty awesome... 
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