Flock of God

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Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.   ~   1 Peter 5: 2 – 4

 

          The past ten days or so have been an eye opener. Taken into inner sanctums – both mine and of others – they were journeys I’d rather not have gone on, canyons and caves I’d rather not have seen. Because there’s nothing nice in discovering you have far less patience and tolerance than you previously imagined. That despite the uncountable afflictions of so many years and the multitude of lessons learned from them, your capacity for suffering is still pea-sized.

          That your first response when the fire hits is a fire far worse – never mind all the things the Lord has taught you about fleeing to His Holy Wounds for cover.

           Yet, if I am to be completely honest with myself, I have to admit that the struggle this time fell into a light different from old before’s. I was so tired from the nonstop running around, from the plotting and planning, from navigating difficult people whose sole focus in life is to muddy and rut up the path even more for others. I thought I would break from being stretched so taut and thin.

          I thought there’d never be an end to the ground breaking and rising up before me.

          Yet,

every time I thought I needed a quiet moment to sob and weep out the hurt and frustrations,

every time I wanted to just lie down and forget it all for wee minutes,

every time I tried to shut the world out to gather myself back to form,

a hidden being held my shoulders and bade me rise. Each time, he told me, Come, we have to move.

          Each time, rage geyser-ed within me over the immaturity and irresponsibility of my subordinates, the strong presence put up his hand and stayed my pyroclastic flow of emotional ash and lava, saying,

Come, we have to move

         Ferocious headache. Equally ferocious tic in my eyelid like never before.

Come, we have to move

          No rest. No respite.

          Yet, each time someone stuck out a foot and I tripped, this being was always there to keep me from falling. Each time the ground opened up beneath me, a bridge of wisdom would spring up a solution out of nowhere.

          No delusions were allowed me, for my spirit knew him. It was my St. Joseph. All this while the Discerner of my dreams. Now, the Saint of my journey through Egypt. Firm, calm, wise. Come, we have to move.

          Today, the winds outside my home rise in an urgent chorus. My avian friends scatter their melodies through the spaces in the wind~notes. Only a single kingfisher braves the thrashing boughs, staying long enough to firm his message to me, Listen! The winds speak!

          For once, my spirit is quiet and attentive, guided to this Saturday of Mary by Her Gentle Spouse, Joseph. Arriving here, the words of heaven find their way to me.

Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.

          Each line is heaven’s silver arrow, piercing the resolutions formed in the waters of hurt and fear, in response to the wounds suffered this week, hidden within the folds of my heart. As I finally lay my ears against the call of the winds, John Greenleaf Whittier’s words return to me,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing…
I watch the shaken elm boughs…

Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude

 

          A reason for trustful gratitude. Only then, does my heart open to receive the closing verse,

And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 comments

    1. You’re right. Trust is at the heart of every struggle; it makes all the difference. Learning to trust is also a journey. Nothing happens overnight. But I do hope I’m getting somewhere. Thank you for the prayers. Things would be so much harder without the prayers of my friends.

      Liked by 1 person

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