One evening after dinner the master and the disciple were looking at some photos. The disciple picked a beautiful photograph of a water lily, held it in his hands, and gazing upon it, asked, “Tell me master, how were you able to take such a splendid picture?”
With a smile, the master replied, “Well, I had to be very patient and very attentive. It was only after a few hours of compliments that the lily was willing to let me take her picture.”
Source | Based on a story told by Henri Nouwen in
Clowning in Rome (Image, 2000) page 87
Our difficult and very urgent task is to accept the truth that nature is not primarily a property to be possessed, but a gift to be received with admiration and gratitude. Only when we make a deep bow to the rivers, oceans, hills, and mountains that offer us a home, only then can they become transparent and reveal to us their real meaning.
Once upon a time there was a man who loved living in his tropical paradise. Having been born on the island where his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had always lived, he held in his heart a special place for the beauty of the palm trees, the white sand, the sloping mountains, the gentle climate.
This man, approaching death, told his loved ones to place some island sand into each of his hands when he died, so that he might hold on to the memory of his beloved place forever. They did, and so the man proceeded to the gates of heaven still clutching the sand. At the gate, he was warmly greeted and told that as soon as he emptied his hands of the sand, he could enter into eternal joy.
The man was crushed, for he could not let go of what he loved so much, and so he waited. He waited for a long, long time: so long that at last his hands grew weary and could not longer hold the sand. It eventually slipped through his fingers, lost forever.
At that moment, Jesus came to him, holding the man as he sobbed at the loss of his memory, and said, “Come now and enter into your rest.” With that, Jesus walked with the man through the gates of heaven, where there before them both stretched out the entirety of the man’s beloved island.
Source | as told by Tim Muldoon, The Ignatian Workout
(Loyola Press, 2004) page 5
- What are you holding on to that’s preventing you from turning your life over to Life?
- What is the “handful of sand” that you are still clinging to, blinding you to the amazing, expansive beauty of the whole beach?