Just a note to let readers know I am going to be taking a short break to kind of catch my breath and catch up on some things I have been putting on hold. It seems multi tasking has not been my strong suit lately.
Until I return later this week, here's a thought to ponder. It seems to me the spiritual quest is not about disciplining the body and it's natural functions. It's about maturing emotionally. That means transcending one's fears and all the emotions associated with fear. Only then, when we start to work through our fears are we able to experience the fruits of love. First peace, then love, then joy.
I had the above thought yesterday while hiking in Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier is a Pueblo Indian Archaeological site, but I didn't travel to Bandelier for the ruins. Not this time anyway. I went because my daughter and I took this same hike last summer. It shocked me into finally admitting I was totally out of shape.
The first half of the hike is relatively benign with a gradual down hill drop of over 700 feet to a water fall. I did this half pretty easily and was feeling quite pleased with my fat out of shape self. Just as we turned around to start back we ran into a coyote on the same trail going in the opposite direction. We were so close we could easily have reached out and pet it. I've been around enough Natives to know coyote lessons are always at your expense. Hiking back became an exercise in survival. I got the message. It was past time I either got in shape or gave up delusions of hiking.
So I spent the last seven months working the fitness program I mentioned a while back. Yesterday was the test to see how far I had actually come. I had come a long long way. The hike was really easy both coming and going. Here's the magical part. I was about a quarter of a mile from the end and had completed the up hill climb when I stopped to take a photograph of a blossoming cactus. I was suddenly confronted with a huge monarch butterfly circling my face at eye level. I could have reached out and easily caught it. The butterfly represents transformation in Native lore. I simply laughed at the sheer joy of my hard work being recognized.
Transformation on any level is possible for those who don't let fear hold them back. The trick is confronting your current reality honestly and not letting fear dictate the outcome. This is precisely where the Church finds itself at this moment. It's a moment pregnant with transformational possibilities. So from me there will be a little silence, and a great deal of hope that the Church will choose transformation. That further coyote lessons won't be necessary.