It’s been an intense and “difficult blessing” lately, here in my eyrie:
I’ve been “up there” for a couple of weeks and I’m so reluctant to leave.
The eagles build their eyries high up in tall trees or on the side of a mountain so they can be still and safe and alone while they participate in the (pro)creative work of their Creator. They are isolated and productive.
The eagle descends so swiftly and smoothly, down from his hidden home– but for me, these last weeks have been a slow and reluctant climb downward, with frequent looks backwards . . . .
All this, a metaphor, of course. I had an intense and deeply personal Holy Week and Triduum, followed by a surprisingly glorious Easter and following days. (It’s still the Easter season, I suppose just for experiences like this . . . we need a couple of weeks to take it all in.)
I tell my classes “The better Lent that you have, the better your Easter will be.” Well, that backfired on me this year. I mean, the words just turned around and fired right back into me. But this is not unique to me.
We are all so much more than our everyday lives!
We are all capable of experiencing, knowing, being so much more than we’re used to!
We who are born alive can know and interact with many things, (We can read, for instance.) And we know that from the moment of birth we do, in effect, begin to die. Might take six or seven or eight decades, but we’re on the pathway to our deaths.
One day, an intelligent, well-educated man on the leadership council in his society learned that there is another birth – an actual, real, second birth into full and abundant life. His name was Nicodemus, and being a private person and maybe a little embarrassed, he came to Jesus one night, in the cover of darkness, to ask some questions about this true life.
He was surprised to learn that to enter Life one must be born again and from above, it is God’s work in a man – and without it, the man simply proceeds with a dead spirit on to his own death — living his everyday life, enjoying the ups and suffering the downs, but proceeding on to his death. Into deep darkness. A just and deadly separation between God and sinner.
But Jesus went on to explain that a man receives this new birth by the work of the Holy Spirit, through the means of water, hereby indicating baptism – which soon the young Church will understand to be a re-birth of the already naturally born person into new and actual, abundant life – truly and everlastingly alive. The “dead” spirit of the person is vivified!
The person is no longer on his pathway to death and everlasting separation from God. A person, then, is capable of so much more — more Life! — than before.
And it all doesn’t work unless there is a Good Friday and a day of Resurrection.
That is why these recent holidays are called the defining event of Christianity.
I needed to go up into that truth, way up, into a personal eyrie to experience more of that truth, because it’s necessary for us humans to remove ourselves from this world and its turmoils and noise and complex confusions; to find a place of solitude where you can hear the voice of God.
You might not choose that beautiful monastery in Turkey in the first photo above, high up in the mountains, but your imagination is capable of creating another place of quiet beauty where it’s safe for you to . . . think . . . to grab onto that second birth.
Down from my eyrie, observing, once again, things going on around me.