Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: July 19, 2004


This quote from Peter of Damascus stuck out to me recently as being appropriate to this life, “Man stands at the crossroads between righteousness and sin, and chooses whichever path he wishes. But after that the path which he has chosen to follow, and the guides assigned to it, whether angels and saints or demons and sinners, will lead him to the end of it, even if he has no wish to go there.”

And this too also expresses my heart tonight:

“Because by God’s grace I have been granted many great gifts and yet have never done anything good myself, I became frightened lest in my laziness and sloth I would forget His blessings — as well as my own faults and sins — and not even offer Him thanks or show my gratitude in anyway.”

In response the writer decided to write. Both these quotes express my own continued struggle and hopes, and express my present desires to write as well. An expression of the work of God, as an encouragement and a rebuke to my over vacillating soul.


Trucks backing up bother me (why do I need to know that a truck a mile away has shifted into reverse?), windchimes bother me (what is the attraction to unharmonious clanging covering up the beautiful sound of the wind itself?), chainsaws bother me, blowers bother me (useful tools but not for contemplation). Chipmunks should seem to bother me, they have a particularly harsh staccato squeak. Only it’s comforting, the same way a bird squawking is comforting, the same way crickets soothe, or wild dogs howling impresses. Natural sounds, for whatever reason, bring comfort when the unnatural bring bother. A tapping into some primal awareness? Discerning instincts identifying the subtle signals of Life announcing itself?

I don’t know. I only know that being woken up by the loud chipmunk near my window was welcoming, the chainsaws starting across the street a few minutes later was not.

Different tasks, I think, will engage my day today. I’ve had a mural I’ve been wanting to finish for a long while asking for attention. Writing is going on in my head still, the mulling, the pondering which seeks out paths even while I’m not conscious of the thoughts. Having settled on a direction, it’s best to let the mulling continue, bolstered by more study.

Who’s in a hurry? The skin is still being shed, the new shiny one underneath only just beginning to reveal itself.

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