GET IN THE WHEELBARROW

There was once a circus performer who made a living by pushing a wheelbarrow across a high wire that spanned an abyss. The crowds came out in droves to watch him and to cheer him on. “Do you believe I can do it?” he would ask them. “Oh, yes! We believe you can do it,” they chorused back in acclamation.

“So, who’s going to get in the wheelbarrow?” he asked. And silence fell.

Source: Margaret Silf
The Other Side of Chaos
(Loyola Press, 2011) page 37

CONSIDER THIS

All believed in the amazing circus performer, but none of them trusted him enough to get in the wheelbarrow.

If you happen to be a Christian: In the Christian tradition, the creeds that we recite so faithfully every Sunday, set out fairly precisely what we are supposed to believe. We can recite those creeds as often as we want, but that will not necessarily amount to trust.

 

NO, MAYBE AND YES

There were three tulip bulbs named No, Yes and Maybe. They lived at the bottom of a bulb tin, content to be round and fat and dressed in silky brown garments. When autumn came, they fell to discussing the destiny of tulip bulbs. NO said, “I don’t think there is any life for tulip bulbs. We were made to live in bulb tins and I’m quite content to be right here.” And with that NO rolled over and went to sleep.

MAYBE disagreed. “I’m not satisfied with things as they are. I feel something inside me that I must achieve and I believe I can.” So he squeezed and squeezed himself, turning this way and that. But nothing happened, and finally in frustration MAYBE gave up.

Then YES spoke up. “I’ve been told,” she said very softly, “that by ourselves we can do nothing but that we can achieve our destiny, if we put ourselves in the hands of Life.” The others just sniffed and looked away.

Now one day a hand reached down into the bulb tin, groping for a bulb. NO and MAYBE scurried out of reach, and hid in a corner. But YES rolled right into the hands of Life, which took her and buried her in the cold, damp earth of winter!

“What a fool to fall for that trick,” laughed NO and MAYBE, who were warm, dry. and safe in their little bulb tin. And with that they went back to sleep. When spring came, NO and MAYBE were nowhere to be seen. NO had shrivelled up and died in his sleep; while MAYBE had worried and fidgeted himself to death. Nothing remained of them but a few dry husks and a handful of dust. And what about YES who had let herself be buried all winter in the ground and had seemed to everyone to be dead?

Well she was a sight to behold. For you see, she had burst out of the ground and blossomed into a whole new life.

Source | Dennis R. Clark, SUNDAY MORNING: Reflections on the Word
(Sheed and Ward, 1996) Cycle A, 28 ordinary time

CONSIDER THIS

  • What is your name? Yes, No or Maybe?
  • Do you find it hard to say YES and to remember that with each new dawn Life is inviting you to blossom into a new life?
  • Name the fear-habits that are holding you back from saying YES to Life.

DEW DROP

As the sun rose, a dew drop became aware of its surroundings. There it sat on a leaf, catching the sunlight and throwing it back out. Proud of its simple beauty, it was very content. Around it were other dew drops, some on the same leaf and some on other leaves round about. The dew drop was sure that it was the best, the most special dew drop of them all.

Ah, it was good to be a dew drop.

The wind rose and the plant began to shake, tipping the leaf. Terror gripped the dew drop as gravity pulled it towards the edge of the leaf, towards the unknown. Why? Why was this happening? Things were comfortable. Things were safe. Why did they have to change? Why? Why?

The dew drop reached the edge of the leaf. It was terrified, certain that it would be smashed into a thousand pieces below, sure that this was the end. The day had only just begun and the end had come so quickly. It seemed so unfair. It seemed so meaningless. It tried desperately to do whatever it could to cling to the leaf, but it was no use.

Finally, it let go, surrendering to the pull of gravity. Down, down it fell. Below there seemed to be a mirror. A reflection of itself seemed to be coming up to meet the dew drop. Closer and closer they came together until finally …

And then the fear transformed into deep joy as the tiny dew drop merged with the vastness that was the pond. Now the dew drop was no more, but it was not destroyed.

It had become one with the whole.

Source | Peter Hughes

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • What would happen if you stop clinging to your little story and allow yourself to be embraced by the larger story of which we are all a part?
  • Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. | Rabindranath Tagore

AUTHENTIC PRAYER

Late one evening a poor farmer on his way back from the market found himself without his prayer book. The wheel of his cart had come off right in the middle of the woods and it distressed him that this day should pass without him having said his prayers. So this is the prayer he made: “I have done something very foolish, Lord. I came away from home this morning without my prayer book and my memory is such that I cannot recite a single prayer without it. So this is what I am going to do: I shall recite the alphabet five times very slowly and you, to whom all prayers are known, can put the letters together to form the prayers I can’t remember.”

And the Lord said to his angels, “Of all the prayers I have heard today, this one was undoubtedly the best because it came from a heart that was simple and sincere.”

Source | Paulo Coelho

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A VARIATION OF THE SAME STORY

A Jewish farmer, because he was carelessness, had to spend a Sabbath in his field. Preoccupied with his work, he let the sun go down without going home. Being a pious believer, he was not allowed to travel until sunset the next day. So he spend the day in the field, by himself, missing the Seder meal with his family and services at the synagogue. When he finally did return home the next evening, he was met by an irate wife and an equally upset rabbi. The rabbi chided him for his carelessness and asked him: “What did you do in the field by yourself all day? Did you at least pray?”

“Rabbi,” the farmer answered, “I’m not a very smart man and I don’t know many prayers. All the prayers I knew, I said in five minutes. What I did the rest of the day was simply recite the alphabet. I left it up to God to make some words out of all those letters.”

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • How would your life change if instead of praying by the book you consciously choose to leave the book behind and instead recite the alphabet slowly like it were a sacred mantra?
  • How would your prayer change if instead instead of praying the words of other – these are the printed prayers – you humbly and simply weave together a few of your words emerging from the heart?