Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"just turn around…"

"there's no need to feel defeated,
don't let it get you down;
sometimes the only way to get back
home, is to turn around..."

I was searching for the link to another - more familiar - song to keynote this post, and serendipitously came across Anthem Light's, "Turn Around." It spoke to me, I hope it does to you.

The other day I woke up feeling a nagging sense of futility about a situation. I'd reasoned, examined, and weighed the human details. I'd prayed for direction in choosing one course, over another. I'd listened for guidance -- but I wanted the guidance to be clear: Do this, or do that. Period.

I moved to my favorite spot at the kitchen counter.  I was trying to still the anxiety building inside, when a small mountain bluebird -- one of the first of the season -- began flying into the windows.  Windows that face our lake, and the mountains to the west. He was feet forward, as if to grasp a branch. His was not a violent crashing, but more like a frustrated attempt to reach a goal. Time and time again, I went outside to dissuade his futility. And each time he returned.

Then the thought came to me, "watch, and learn." So first, I watched him from my side of the glass at the kitchen counter. Then, I walked outside and watched him quietly from his point of view. And I got it. He was looking at the reflection of trees, sky, lake, and mountains in the glass. In fact, at the very spot on the window he kept flying into, was the reflection of a beautiful piñon pine that sits just beyond our deck.  From the branches hang a variety of bird feeders.

I wanted to clasp him gently in my hands, and show him that all he needed to do was turn around.  Then, instead of banging himself against a two-dimensional -- although beautiful -- reflection of the original, he would be flying freely towards the real deal. He'd be able to curl his toes around the branch he was seeking, feel the shade of the pine boughs, drink from the water in the stone birdbath, and reach the feeders -- full of sunflower, nyjer, and millet seed -- prepared just for he and his friends.

I returned to the kitchen counter and asked God again: What do I need to learn from this? And it was so obvious. I'd been trying to find direction by looking at the human situation.  Examining the details, cast of characters, and trajectory the unfolding story based on what I was able to gather from the information at hand. I needed to turn around and consider what Mary Baker Eddy suggests in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

"Breaking away from the mutations
of time and sense, you will neither
lose the solid objects and ends of life
nor your own identity.

Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal,
you will rise to the spiritual consciousness
of being, even as the bird which has
burst from the egg and preens its wings
for a skyward flight."

And elsewhere she says:

"we must first turn our gaze in the right direction,
and then walk that way. We must form perfect models
in thought and look at them continually,
or we shall never carve them out
in grand and noble lives."

I had been looking at the human reflection, when I could have been looking to the original -- to God -- for the information I needed.  The truth about God was all that would really give me confidence in, or about, any situation.

I began to ask myself a series of questions that morning. Do I really trust that God is Love?  Am I planting my hopes on His care for me, and mine, and all?  Or am I measuring His love, by what I was experiencing each time I flew into the window? Was I building my nest in His invariable nature as infinite, eternal Love?  Or was I frustrated by the changeable nature of human sense, with its subjectivity -- personal opinions, cultural mores, shifting policies? 

These questions helped me turn -- and turn again.  Until I stopped being distracted by the pretty reflection, and actually felt the real deal.  Flying towards the actual, instead of flying into the pretty -- although insubstantial -- reflection.  It was just the reminder I needed.

Since then, I have been actively "turning around," as I move through my days. It's made such a difference. And the little bluebird? Well, He finally did just turn around. Now he, and his partner, are building a nest in the actual bluebird house we put up to welcome them each spring. They feed from the feeders, drink from the birdbath, and rest - from their nest-building labors - in the cool branches of our piñon pine.

I love that we can always stop flying into the window, be still for a moment, remember where our gaze should rest, then turn towards God, and find the spiritual good that is always waiting -- just to bless.

with Love,


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