Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When Reason Returns

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting His 
eyes to heaven ...
~ John 17:1 (in part)

"I raised my eyes toward
heaven and my reason returned to me ..."
Daniel 4:24

Nearly every day, & sometimes several times a day I walk to the front windows of my home & survey the valley below us.  Watching the seasons come-and-go from on high still leaves me in awe.  Right now the farmlands are a rich, lush green; and trees once naked are again festooned in leaves.  

While walking the dog a few days ago I took the above photo from the vantage point of the blossom-laden pear orchard below the house.  It occurred to me that I've likely missed a bounty of beauty by not training my gaze equally upward as outward & onward.   

What a simple concept:  Look up.

Many were the days of my childhood when I lay upon a grassy cushion to watch the sky.  My imagination was vivid in those days, so it fired on all pistons when I'd survey the placement of clouds or a starry array. Even the blank of a sunny, blue expanse drew my breath away.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but
on what is unseen, since what is seen 
is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

How lovely it is to look up ~ to the vast, unending abode of God and angels; of the beloved departed; of dreams & visions; of hope & glory; of omnipotence and omniscience.  No wonder earth pales by comparison.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are no rules of architecture for
a castle in the clouds. 
~ G.K. Chesterton

It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains
of the sky.  Behind me and before me is God
and I have no fears.
~ Helen Keller

I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward
heaven and my reason returned to me, 
and I blessed the Most High and praised 
and honored Him who lives forever.  
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
and His kingdom endures 
from generation to generation.
~ Daniel 4:34

... let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us, fixing our eyes on 
Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Life's Intersections

I've never really given much thought to the beauty of the traffic signal's simplicity; the primary colors used as indices to stop, go or be careful.  I couldn't begin to calculate the number of intersections I've navigated with nary and nod to a signal's existence.  My autonomic system responds on queue (unless, that is, a rare outbreak of disobedience overtakes me).  Come to think of it, I'm often not even aware of the mumbling under my breath when said signal, or other drivers disobeying it aggravates me.     

With such a clever tutor at my disposal, I confess to my love of life's green ~ the yes.  With it I'm allowed to move forward unimpeded; since I'm given to decisiveness, the momentum suits me just fine. Green's also my favorite color!

Except for bananas and daffodils, I'm not particularly fond of yellow.  In the context of the traffic signal, yellow is the color of caution or hazard ~ the whoa. That always feels somewhat ambivalent to me. "What to do? Do I have time to slow to a stop or must I slam on my breaks?"  "Shall I dash through the light and hope it doesn't turn red before I clear the intersection?"  "Speed up or slow down?"  It's the short-sighted part of me that thinks I can dispense with yellow.  

Then there's red.  I run hot and cold with it ~ the no. Besides being a shade that doesn't look particularly good on me, I often view it as an impediment.  It slows me down or thwarts my trajectory.  In the realm of interpersonal relationships, it's often a tough tangle of the tongue when I have to respond to something I cannot or choose not to do.  Red just seems so ... so ... red.  

So it is that I find myself musing on the simple analogy that parallels the way in which God guides and protects us.  How often in the ancient texts do we read the words go, do not, or the cautionary beware? A bevy of bereavement is bypassed when I obey.

It's fairly safe to say I think I'm onto something this year.  The simple things in life are so simple.

Be patient, then brothers and sisters, 
until the Lord's coming.  See how the 
farmer waits for the land to yield its 
valuable crop, patiently waiting for the 
autumn and spring rains.  
You, too, be patient and stand firm, 
because the Lord's coming is near.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, 
do not swear - not by heaven or by 
earth or by anything else.  
All you need to say is 
a simple "Yes" or "No."
James 5:7-8, 12

But I tell you, do not swear an 
oath at all:  either by heaven, 
for it is God's throne; or by the earth, 
for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, 
for it is the city of the Great King.  
And do not swear by your own head, 
for you cannot make even one hair 
white or black.  
All you need to say is 
simply 'Yes' or 'No'; 
anything beyond this comes 
from the evil one.
Matthew 5:34-37