The tornados that swept through the center of country have left at least 88 dead, over 15,000 structures destroyed or severely damaged, and current estimates on the cost are almost $4 Billion. There was a warning, but in that moment, nowhere to run.
The silent stillness that often come before a storm can make your skin pop as the barometer changes and the storm clouds begin to invade. The silence after the destruction, whether there is actually silence or not, cuts deep and clarifies. All is meaningless, all is temporal, life is priceless and so vulnerable.
Our spiritual life often follows a similar pattern. We are numb to the behaviors that destroy us. We are broken and overcome by fear and despair. We are left in an existential stillness that strips our ego naked and forces us to face all that matters – our relationships, our faith, our momentary existence.
My god, my god, why has thou forsaken me?
My youth is gone, my despair is total.
And we ask, where do we go from here?
Might I suggest moments like this give us an opportunity to create a life focused on meaning, simplified by fire, and fulfilled by relationship and depth.
Long talks. Long walks. Good books. Good food. An expulsion of excess and a rejection of the temporal.
What an amazing day of training the NYPD at their magnificent Queens training center.
A warm crowd with officers from incredibly diverse and interesting backgrounds. All of them were motivated to help their fellow officers and families live awesome lives.
A few things I loved about the officers I met:
- Frank and honest
- Proud of their community
- Most grew up there, had family there
- A depth of character
- Thankful and grateful
Great lessons on life that apply to all of us.
A walk through the neighborhoods of Queens, NY reminded me of all I have to be thankful for living in Indiana, and all those in NY have to be thankful for surrounded by the most diverse culture in the world. A walk of dichotomies, it left me with a smile on my face and hope for us all.
One of my favorite songs is the Eagles, The Last Resort. Written and sung by Don Henley, it is a stinging rebuke of our consumer culture. One of my favorite verses,
“Some rich men came and raped the land
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes
And Jesus people bought 'em”
Greed, and those who preach against greed complicit in it.
You have the power to change your world today, or you can be complicit in the theft of humanity and things that matter.
Change your world means living intentionally. Whatever your situation, you can do that.
It might be becoming a priest.
It might be homesteading.
It might be going back to school.
It might be cutting back your lifestyle so you don’t need two incomes.
It might mean making faith #1 in your life.
But whatever you do, don’t become, or continue to be, one of those Jesus people who preach on Sunday but follow the rich men who rape the land.
Until next time, aim high, spread your wings, and keep your eyes on the things that matter.