As is my tradition when I have been away, I want to welcome myself back. This is my special tree house of sorts, a place where I ruminate about nature, spiritual matters, dogs and God and life. Thank you for joining me.
It has been 40 (oh how biblical) days since I have walked Ruby. It has been 40 days since I have walked. During this time, I have completed my manuscript for a book entitled: The Sacred Art of Dog Walking. When the times comes for Ruby and I to walk again, the sequel will probably be: The Scared Art of Dog Walking!
If you are not in the know, I have been sidelined by a dog walking injury with Ruby, confined to a wheelchair and learning the meaning of patience and other valuable life lessons. Even though Ruby is a slug, and walking her is like walking a manatee, in a mere nano-second, she can be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap short brick walls in a single leap, thereby smashing the rabbi, knees first, into the wall. There are lessons to be learned as one is crumbled and broken in an alley -- very poetic and significant (at least for me.)
As I sit mostly home bound, the words of Ann Frank echo in my mind, especially in the morning:
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where thy can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.
It is not easy for me to get outside. But I awaken early (since I have been going to bed when the sun sets) and lay there listening to the birds sing; their melodies and joy float into my heart as I start my day. I can wheel myself to the side verandah (I know it doesn't have an "h" at the end, but it looks prettier with an "h" so I am taking the liberty of adding one) and feel the breeze on my face, the drizzle of moisture on my skin. We have been having lushous rainy days this week. I can wheel my broken leg out the door to let the rain hit it, or the sun shine on it. But even these teases of nature are healing to me.
When I was in the hospital for several weeks, I was obviously indoors. I had mastered the ramp enabling me to be free to leave the floor and I would motivate myself down to.....drumroll...Starbucks (and for the Muslims who think the babe on the logo is Queen Esther, Queen of the Jews.....look again, my guess is that she is a mermaid, and they can deal with pagan goddesses instead - ask me if you need more info on this aside). I attribute my keen ability in the wheelchair to my daily manueverings to Starbucks. And once when friends came, we went outside. Can you imagine weeks on hospital air, and then as the door opens, being hit with a blast of nature! What a moment, what a glorious moment! Ann Frank was so very wise beyond her years.
I know the Divine is present in hospital rooms. For sure, as a trauma chaplain, I know this. I know the Divine is present in coal mines, and tunnels, and office buildings. But Abraham Joshua Heschel was so very right when he said that all we need to do is to step out in Nature and get "God-smacked" (my word not his) by these awe moments. In Nature, if we have a disconnect, we can re-connect with the Oneness and the energy that can fill and heal our spirits.
So I will conclude now, since I am not on my laptop, and wheel myself to the side verandah because I feel some gentle wild winds calling me. Shalom, my friends, shalom.