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Something to think and pray about this week
“I live in a second-floor apartment in a big old Craftsman bungalow in Pasadena. My balcony overlooks a number of giant, old-growth trees. One recent autumn afternoon, I was studying the graceful design of the branches of one of them (whose name I’m sorry to say I don’t know): the small flame-red leaves fluttering intermittently to the ground, the glorious trunk resplendent against the setting sun. I thought, If this were the only tree in the whole world, people would sell all they had and travel halfway around the world to see it. Look at it! This stupendous, mysterious living thing that grows up out of the ground! “Counter, original, spare, strange,” as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins put it in “Pied Beauty.” I stood there for many minutes, pulsating with wonder.
Don’t get me wrong. That I could marvel at a tree didn’t mean that I wasn’t on another level also seething with various kinds of anxiety, resentment, distraction, and dread. Christ never promised that we’d be euphorically happy every second, or permanently free from fear. He promised that he’d be with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20). He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11, NAB)—whether or not we can “feel” the joy. But just for that moment—I did feel it. The universe was pressing back.”
- Excerpted from Holy Desperation by Heather King