Archive for March 26th, 2020

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~ Henri Nouwen

As I continued to shelter in place at home today, the day was filled with phone calls and “Zoom meetings”, writing and cleaning around the house. One task required a visit to the side of the house to unravel a garden hose. It was then that I spotted him: a young wren struggling between the pool pump and filter.

Somehow, his leg had gotten caught in string wrapped around a broken twig. The more he struggled, the tighter the knot was becoming. I gingerly picked him up and tried to unravel the knot that had him bound. ( It struck me in the moment as quite the coincidence that the task I set out to accomplish was to unravel the knots in the garden hose.)

The knot was in fact so tight that I needed to get a pair of scissors and very carefully work it loose without injuring the leg and foot. Finally, with my wife’s help, we got it off. It looked like the string that would tether a child’s party balloon.

We placed him very gently back on the ground hoping that he could still fly. After a few tremulous flaps of his wings, he rose up quickly and vanished into the sky.

I tracked his progress briefly and, for a precious moment, my heart soared with him. A brother who was trapped was now free to rise up again. It felt really good.

One small moment with a life in our hands changed the experience of time and the meaning of the whole day for us. We had chosen joy! Oh, how all life is intricately and essentially interwoven.

Habitat destruction, on the other hand, is bringing wild animals into ever closer proximity to people in crowded places like WuHan China. Bats are problematically caged among the throngs of people shopping in so called “wet markets” whereby novel viruses can more easily enter into the human population and thrive.

I was reminded that, since Covid-19 first made its dramatic appearance, air quality is improving in a number of cities and other species ( notably birds) seem to be making something of a comeback.

This is important stuff on which to meditate as we consider our stewardship of Creation and how mindful we are or are not of the value of ALL life. Unintended consequences of our appetites are combining in complex ways and creating the conditions of our own demise as a species.

Let us, as Henri Nouwen reflects, choose joy over mere unthinking consumption. Let us pause and notice the little thing that makes a difference. That way, all those little choices can combine to weave a legacy of life; the surest route to deep fulfillment, meaning, and collective well-bring.


© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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