Goodbye to a Giant

Tomorrow a huge oak tree in my front yard is coming down. A majestic sentinel, it has stood guard between the street and my home for at least one hundred years before we moved here many years ago. Every year little spring beauties carpet the ground underneath its wide-spread branches, still unleafed after the long winter. A whole tribe of squirrels occupy it – an apartment complex for the bushy tailed. It is the tallest tree in the whole town, an outstanding picture of strength and solidity. From my vantage point by the bay window I have delighted in the broad canopy of green. Until now.

It is big. The first twelve feet up are four feet wide; the next fifteen feet are three feet across and it goes up from there. Thousands of pounds of solid oak stand there, and they are all coming down.

Three years ago it was that I saw a whole portion of the tree with leaves turned brown, hanging lifeless. What? What happened? Call the tree man! He came back to earth after scampering way to the top with pictures of what he found. A large vertical crack was clearly visible, indicating a hit by lightning, he said. Trees do not survive beyond three years after a hit, he said. “You will lose that tree,” he said. Then I remembered the angry storm which had crashed around us and an arrow of lightning cracking over our heads. Alarms were set off that night; everyone shook from the power of that bolt. We did not know it was the enormous oak that had been hit.

For many people that is not a big deal. For me, an incipient tree hugger, it was devastating. Each year since, I have watched as more and more of the tree succumbed. To lose a tree is to lose a living thing of great value. The beauty, shade, protection and habitat are part of that, but something else, hard to quantify, adds to the sense of loss. That tree has been part of years of history, has experienced ice, snow, sun and yes, lightning. It has traveled around the sun for at least two human life times, with good times and bad recorded in its core. Saying goodbye to such a wonderful living thing is like losing a very dear irreplaceable friend.

Yet replace it, I must. In my economy, when one tree comes down, at least one new one goes in. The best replacement, I am told, is no bigger than 2 inches in diameter with a huge root ball. This will give the new tree a better lease on life with faster growth later.
Two inches? Eight feet tall? That is the size of my lamp post, fr’evens sake. Sigh.

Tomorrow, the saws, the crane, the bucket trucks, the pick up trucks will all be here. And I will be standing by watching the end of a beautiful relationship. Somebody pass the tissues.


For the next fifteen minutes I shall let the muse fly, swooping low and skimming the grass like the swarm of little brown birds on the front lawn.  Nameless, faceless, un-extraordinary, those birds.  Gathering in close communion, they scavenge to find that elusive thing which will nourish, on a constant hunt for the gems of beetle and grub.  I too hunt among the ordinary to find the elusive thought, the idea which will spark a flow, releasing a torrent from an underground river of truth and creativity.

The command:  write.  My question: Who will want to read it if I do?  Perhaps that is not the right question.  Does Father want me to stumble upon a side stream from that underground river which will lead to yet undiscovered streams and pools?  What kinds of things could lurk in those pools, I wonder.  The water is deep and very still, having lain unseen and undisturbed for unmeasured time.

The exploration begins.  Lamp on forehead, pack on back, excitement within, I stoop to enter the cave mouth, stirring a flutter of bats from their rest.  It is rocky underfoot, unsteadying for my feet which are accustomed by preference to the smoothness of soft carpet.  At first the air has a peculiar, damp smell of staleness, bat droppings, water filtered through layers of rock and moss.  The gates of my eyes gradually adjust to the dimness within, the blackness before me reflected in dark pupils opened wide.

I hear a sound just a little way ahead.  Water dripping?  No, it is more than that.  There is a splash where flow meets rock and tumbles away below.  Dipping my hand into that stirring stream, I feel the shiver of cool, the silkiness of wet.   Looking closely at my hand-cup I can see that it is clear and clean.  Rock layers have purified and now hold back those contaminants the world has carelessly strewn about aboveground.

But this is a known stream.  Known water.  Substance of daily life, it is recognizable and surely life sustaining.  It is wonderful stuff, a part of our being—such that we find it   impossible to conceive of life without it. Without this well known substance we would disappear into dust like a Martian landscape.  From eyeball to cell nucleus we are awash.

It is known.

But there is something else down in the cave that calls me to explore further.  Elixir of life beyond the known?  Where is it?  What is it?  Pushing on deeper into the darkness, with only dim light of head lamp I ponder the pull.  From earliest man to 21st century the drive has been there to go beyond the next hill, climb that high mountain, push the frail craft through storm and gale over the edge of the horizon.  What is the pull?  What are we seeking?  Whom are we seeking?  In our depth of being is there not a knowing that we have lost something?  We have lost someone?

Perhaps it is ourselves we are seeking.  If there is that some One out there maybe I will find out who I am, and where I am to go.  Perhaps he has that elixir that draws us onward.  Plunging headlong down a slippery rock face, deeper into the blackness, is less frightening than living with the sense of separation from our Rock of Being.

I pick myself up at the bottom of the slide, dusting myself off as loose stones rattle down to my feet.  By now there is no outside light to orient my direction.  There is blackness, a deep darkness, which is chilling.   One comfort is the water.  I can hear dripping splashing on rock, and in other places, into the stream, which is here moving imperceptibly.

My lamp searches beyond my feet.  Over on the other side of the quiet stream I can just pick out a ledge that seems dry, and about two feet broad, enough space for my continuing exploration.  With some effort I jump across the water and pull myself up onto the ledge, resting a bit to determine my next move.   About 10 feet ahead I can barely see a place that does not reflect any light from my lamp; it appears to be an opening in the rock face to my right.  Inching forward, I put my hand in the place.

Yes! An opening, and a fairly large one at that.  At least it is large enough for me to squeeze through, I think.   I put the lamp in first to determine if there is anything beyond the opening.  A slight sparkle reflects back at me…it appears to be from a pool ringed with odd shaped stones and statue-like formations.


I have to go in to explore this place.  It is a room, hidden away from the world above.  Has anyone else ever ventured here? I wonder.  Or am I the first to push through the inky rock space to learn of something unseen?  I am being drawn by something beyond me.

Squeezing, pushing with feet and hand, I find the entrance to be smaller than I had thought.  Now I have to let out my breath and give it one more try before being released from rock grip into the freedom of the inner chamber.

I can stand!  There is room.  Yet the sense of awe I feel keeps me on my knees.  What is in this holy place?  Is it really holy, or am I being deceived?  Perhaps I am merely disoriented by the dark, the water, the rock.  My lamp reaches out and thousands of crystalline points of light greet my eyes.  Each formation is covered by brilliance, revealing a palette of colors, treasures waiting to be released by the touch of light’s beam.

For a long while my gaze is transfixed by the beauty of the many colors which shift hues as I turn my lamp from side to side.

My attention turns to the pool.  Reaching fingers forward to touch it, I discover this is not the familiar water I had left behind.  A surge of life flows through me.  Energy of a different sort touches my being with electricity and vibrancy.  Falling prostrate I lie with one hand trailing in the pool while surges of power wave through every part of my being.  Overcome, I call out with trembling, “this is too much more than I can handle” and yet the thought of removing my hand from the pool is too dreadful to contemplate.  For the first time in my existence I feel truly alive, truly real.  There is something here that speaks more of reality than all of the known world I left behind just hours ago.

I can’t stay here forever…or can I?  Leave this incredible feeling of life?  Impossible!  Move away from meaning to the meaningless ness in the outer world?    By now I feel welded to the rock on which I lie.  One with the rock, fully alive, I sense a joy beginning to permeate my every cell.

Almost lost in the ecstasy and wonder of it all, I begin to run my thumb over my fingertips, exploring the unknown material in the pool.  It is water.  No, it is not.  It is heavier and thicker than that.  There is real substance to it. Every movement of my hand brings forth another wave of life coursing through me.  What is this?  Who is this?  Questions flood to the surface, and at the same time whatever fears I had when this journey started have now vanished in the presence of this incredible place, the power in the pool.

Could it be…blood?  I realize suddenly that I am receiving a life-giving transfusion by merely touching this mysterious substance.   Time stands still here.  I’m breathing, I think, but it doesn’t matter to me, nor do I try to figure it out.  Simply being, simply receiving, I lose touch with all the cares I had “out there.”  The joy continues to increase.  How can I contain it?  Should I even try?

I now feel filled to the brim with life and am aware that I am being released from the pull of the pool.  Without a word being spoken I know that it is right for me to go now, to retrace my journey to the outside.  The deep peace that has overwhelmed me will remain.  The way back is etched in my heart and I will always be welcomed.  Slowly, oh so slowly, I withdraw my hand, wiping it across my forehead.  A burning sensation occurs where hand touches brow.  Again I ponder, how can something so cool feel so hot?  Within me, I know I am branded for life.

There is no problem finding my way back the way I came.  There seems to be a glow around me which helps to light the way, and extra strength to negotiate the climb comes naturally.  Back in outside world once again, I see it through new eyes, new understanding.  How can one explain the unexplainable? To say “I was in this place, and now I will never be the same….” sounds divisive and separatist to the person who has not been there and is reluctant to take the journey’s risk.

Wandering away from cave mouth I encounter some people on my way who seem to have something different about them.  It is then I see the brand on their foreheads.  “They’ve been to the pool” I think. They understand. They know. We were destined, and drawn, to find it.  Smiling at each other, knowingly, we move on. Although strangers to each other, we have a shared secret, the secret of the hidden pool.

Moving On, a Family Tale

photoSilent storytellers, a pair of ladles hangs on my kitchen wall. Family and friends scarcely notice them with all the other distracting things cluttering the gathering space. Clutter, my identity-wrapped treasures, the never-ending project waiting attention and bane of my existence, combine to hide precious objects in plain view.

We gather here, munching or feasting, pouring coffee easily brewed in the electric pot all while threads of conversation weave around the room from several clusters of people engaged in animated dialog. It is comfortable here. The thermostat is set just right for a group. Friends open the fridge at will to find creamer or space for a sandwich brought from home. I have freshened the supplies in the necessary room. My chief concern now is what to do with all the left over cake and pie at the end of the day.

And the ladles hang silently by in the midst of this comfort and ease with a story from another time, other places. If function determines value, they fall in the category of needless, worn out, passé, disposable inventory since they have been hanging on my wall, unused for at least 20 years.

But, you see, it is the story they have to tell that holds value to me. They connect me directly to the one who stirred her stew in an iron kettle over an open fire. Rachel they called her. Her great grandfather was one of the many Palatine Germans who had been forced to leave their homelands some 80 years before she was born. There had been famine brought on by one of the coldest seasons in memory. Even a bird froze in mid air, it was said. There was ongoing religious persecution because of the Catholic-Protestant divide.  It didn’t matter which side you belonged to; the unrest and general disturbance affected everyone who wanted to live in peace. To add to the mix, the near-by French troops had made incursion after incursion, under orders to destroy everything in the land.

It was time to get out and move on. Time to take his family through the almost unbearable conditions of an Atlantic journey to the hope of a better life in a new world. Packed together like the proverbial sardines, with non-existent sanitary facilities, only the strong survived. The littlest one, just barely one year old, was buried at sea.

The leader of the family was a blacksmith in the old country; once landed, his strength helped them push on to find space and safety. After buying supplies in Philadelphia, they headed up north and west, north and west. The first homestead was rough, one-roomed and sufficient to house and comfort the family for several years, even as more babies came. But this soil was shallow and rocky; on they moved west again until, like Baby Bear’s porridge it was just right. Near Macungie and Fogelsville, in the general area of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, they finally found rest.

Just as Abraham after leaving home for a far country built an altar for worship, so Rachel’s grandfather built a church, establishing a Lutheran congregation with another Palatinate and recent immigrant. The Jordan Lutheran Church, Orefield, PA is still a viable church, proclaiming the gospel as they celebrated 275 years of service in 2010.

Grandfather Johann did not remain a blacksmith. He tried his hand at several things, building a family business, farming, raising the best apples anywhere around and developing a distillery to make applejack which found a ready market in Philadelphia. He was always ready to move on, if not to another country, to another way to prosper. This was Rachel’s heritage: Godly, hard working, self-reliant, and ready to move on if needed. This was the air she breathed, the culture she absorbed as she grew. But she was not the only one growing in that house. There were 8 girls by now, and one lone brother. So many girls, so few suitors. This is a major problem in a society where every woman needed a husband to have a family, to be complete.

As a new bride she felt something needed to be done to help her sisters find suitable mates. Her solution? Go west!  Move on. Out there somewhere there will be husbands, sturdy men who are developing the frontier and needing wives. She then packed up a covered wagon with all the supplies they might need, and with her new husband and three of her sisters rumbled off to the unknown west. She was 28 years old.

The road situation in 1843 was rudimentary at best. Bridges? Way stops? Comfort? Not a bit. No McDonalds when hungry and tired. No Days Inn for a night’s rest. She did have her kettle and the ladles for stirring and scooping when they built a fire and hung the pot over the flames. I wonder if while cooking their meals she felt homesick for those she left behind, those she probably would never see again. They pressed on, over the seemingly endless Pennsylvania mountains. On into Ohio with its miles and miles of miles and miles. Nowhere seemed to be “just right.” Days and days. Weeks and weeks of stirring the pot over open fire.

Arriving in Indiana, there it was. The place that felt like it could become home. Somewhere near Akron they stopped, to begin life anew. They found some other settlers who had arrived just before them. “Akron was founded on July 4, 1836 by 47 settlers seeking new lands in what was then an uncharted wilderness.” She sent word back home for her brother to come join them. Her own babies came as their lives stabilized into a settled farming routine. More modern supplies were purchased and the ladles were packed away. Eventually they were handed down from mother to daughter, a visible expression of the invisible strength, determination and character of the woman who used them. She was my great great grandmother.Rachel L Berlin The silent ladles speak volumes. I am honored to be a steward of their story.

“Just You Wait!”



Those words usually strike terror into the heart of the child who hears them. “Just you wait” until Father gets home, or until we get home from the store so that punishment can be adequately applied. Waiting, waiting is a lesson to be learned, seldom if ever connoting something good. I can think of a few unpleasant, fearful waits: waiting while the mechanic fixes the problem on the airplane; waiting outside the O.R. for the surgeon to come out to speak with you; waiting for the court date; even waiting in stuck traffic on the Interstate when you have an urgent call of business.

I was stopped by these words in Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

There are three commands here – indicating things we are capable of doing because God does not command the impossible from us. The first is “Be strong.” This implies that we can make ourselves overcome our self-doubts. There is no room for the escape clause “This is too hard for me!” or “Let someone else go, do, fight the battle.” It also implies that the capability of strength is built into us as part of our packaging. Whether we believe it or not does not change our inherent potential to exhibit strength. Often the accumulation of life experiences has occluded this truth; God’s word indicates we must deal with them to uncover the strength within.

The second command in “Take heart.” This speaks of values to center our lives on – courage, joy, belief in God’s goodness, letting hope for the future rise within. All of these and more will push back depression and fear which sap our very beings of the strength needed for living, thus destroying our effectiveness in the Kingdom in the process.

Finally, we are told to “Wait” for the LORD.” This is where the real battle is for many, if not most of us. Once He has appeared or acted in a situation the battle is over, the problem resolved. It is the “wait” that reveals our hearts the most clearly. Our fears begin to leak out. Do I really trust Him? Is He really going to do something? Should I not step in here and solve the problem myself? We get into the helping-God-out mindset – and it is clear from the Isaac-Ishmael story that helping God out is not a good idea.

Waiting on the LORD is in truest sense a leaning on Him in full expectation of His fulfilled promise. It is to be a place of rest and assurance. That is ultimately a definition of faith. There is no terror in it.

World Changer?

In recent days I have seen or heard comments about Preterists, Cessationists, Futurists, Trinitarians, Universalists, Charismatics, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals and Anti-Charismatics. Then there are the ones considered fringe by all of these groups – the Nephilim and alien-human-spirits-are-among-us group. This is just within the Christian camp, never mind the rest of the world with its militant Islamists, jihadists, Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers and the like. Increasing at an alarming rate as well are the militant atheists who think all believers in the supernatural have gone mad and are not worthy of consideration in the public dialog. Among those within the fold, the word blasphemy has been often used of one group by another. Rancor, ill will and name-calling seem to be everywhere.

I also note within communities of faith, and in government, a mind set of “Us four and no more.” Each gets defensive, hunkering down within self-erected walls as they gather their ammunition to lob at the outsiders. To this degree I have to concur with the atheists – we have gone mad. Not because we believe in a supernatural God, but because we fail to believe the One we say we believe in! It is He who said the chief object of man (after loving God and believing He exists) is to love one another. I submit that we all have failed miserably at that.

So I raise my one small voice to say I want to be a world changer by encouraging those who read this to come out from behind whatever bunker your are in and begin to love and accept “those other misguided folk.” The world will be a better place for it.

Notes on Family, History, Cherished Objects and Other Arcane Matters

For some years I have lamented, whined really, that I was full of information and wisdom, and no one ever asked me for it.  All dressed up and no place to go, I thought.  Full of knowing about people and times of my past, my first hand experiences, but the general attitude seemed to be “So what?”

Now when I am faced with teaching, editing, reducing clutter to simplify my life, weighing options for my future, and playing with my new techno toys… now, I am asked to write these gems, collecting them before both they and I are gone from view. Hmm.

These tidbits will be in no special order, but only as they come to mind or discussion. I will put up my net and try to capture them before they fly out of sight once again.

Engine DeanWeaver CleanedI was asked about this picture of a train man standing on an engine. The nattily turned out one in his conductor suit. The man has part of one finger missing. Who is that?

That man is Dean D (without a period) Weaver, my maternal grandfather.  He was born in Mexico, Indiana and had joined the railroad as a young man. The train line he worked for went through parts of Ohio, and it was there that he met a fine Irish gal, Maude McEwen, sweeping her off her feet.  Maude was actually Scotch-Irish, part of a family that was known for being scrappy, politically minded, and having the ability to survive difficult circumstances.  I believe her family lived in Sycamore, Ohio, a rather nondescript town in the central part of the state.

They were married on Christmas Day, in 1905; my mother Maxine was born Dec. 23, 1906.  He used to complain that every time he hung his trousers on the bed post Maude got pregnant. That is some exaggeration since they had only three children, spaced well apart.

In any case, the finger event happened when he was working at a coupling, to unhook two railcars from each other. The engine either started to back up, or one of the cars started to roll, but the result was his finger was smashed between the two. That was not the immediate cause of his leaving the rails; he continued there for some years.

He was a bit too old for the First World War, I think.  Somewhere in his adult life he decided to move his family to Detroit where they ran a corner grocery store. I have a picture of that on some disc. I also have another bit of information that says the family moved to Battle Creek, Michigan for a while.  I am not sure which is accurate. Another time they all moved to Florida.  My mother was then a teen ager; her brother Dean was about nine.  Grandfather did some work for a man while there. The man was cash strapped and offered to pay him with some land. It was typical Florida sandy scrub in which he could see no value. Therefore he sold it to avoid having to pay taxes on it.  It is downtown Orlando today.

Another loss he sustained had to do with helicopters.  He was always a tinkerer and dreamer, an inventor of sorts. Flight was becoming newsworthy in the Twenties and Thirties; he thought about a type of reverse propeller which could lift a plane vertically.  Some one “helped” him send the design to the Patent office; either it was rejected or he never heard back.  Later the helicopter came forth using his idea which he and the family believed was stolen from him.

He was an amiable, easy-going man which is a good thing since his wife Maude lived true to her heritage and was a woman of strong opinions frequently expressed.  We called her bossy, and felt that he was somewhat “hen-pecked.”  When she got on a rant or found fault with him, he would just go to the piano or pick up his mandolin and start plunking out a tune.  I remember his playing “Over the Waves” time and again.  It was his way of escape.

One thing that would get her going was finding cold, smelly cigar butts left in inappropriate places, like the back of the toilet, for instance.  But no matter how often she fussed at him, it made no change in the behavior.  I do not remember seeing him ever actually smoke a cigar.  I only recall the short, somewhat soggy butts.

There is a story behind the D (without a period) middle initial of his name. I think it had something to do with conscription or some governmental requirement which said he had to have a middle initial on the form.  Bureaucracy being what it is, he came up with one. The no period means the initial doesn’t stand for anything.

Of course, by the time I was old enough to pay attention to the people in my life, he was about 60. I remember times when we, my mother and I, would be expecting them to come from Warsaw to South Bend for some occasion. There was always the mandatory looking out the window or down the street until they finally came into view. We were living in an apartment on Bartlett Street when I was between 10 and 12.  It was there that I tried to draw a picture of him while he napped in the chair.
Sleepy Grandpa 1941

Along the way, he got training as a draftsman.  When the Second World War broke out and America geared up for war, he got a job with Bendix Corporation which was making air planes, or parts.  It was the first decent job he had had in some years, so their fortunes improved considerably.  It also meant they had to move to South Bend where the work was.  For a season of time, they moved in with us. I was 13 and Mother had moved once again to a little house on the other side of town.  It was a difficult time of adjusting, making room, giving up and getting along, especially for me who was growing like a weed, in puberty and not too energetic or eager to change to the new circumstances.

Eventually, they found and rented a house back on the west side of town (749 Lawndale Street) that had room upstairs to make an apartment.  Mother and I moved with them, taking the apartment. It was a good solution from Mother’s point of view; she was now in a job that took her out of town for a week or two at a time and I would have some supervision and care in her absence. Once again we settled into a new routine. By this time I was 14, a sophomore in high school, taking the city bus to and from school.

It was there, that year, when things were beginning to look up for this kind man that his life came to a sudden end. Six weeks later his wife followed him into eternity and my world was rearranged abruptly. But that’s another story.


I did an interview with my mother in 1988 using a small portable tape recorder, the highest technology available at that time. She wanted to tell me the background and/or value of the things she owned which I was to inherit. In the process I learned a little bit about her family and ancestors. She began with that which was the most important to her, the pieces which are to be kept in the family and handed down to those who will care for and cherish them.

Her large walnut blanket chest with solid top and lovely finish was made by my great grandfather Weaver out of walnut from his grandfather’s land in Indiana. My great grandfather, who was the father of Dean D Weaver (above) was Francis Marion Weaver.  He made the chest and a one-drawer table for his wife Mary, whom he lovingly called Molly.  Francis wanted to get involved in the Civil War, but was too young to be a soldier so he became a drummer boy. I believe he was 14, or so the story goes. The genealogical records show him to be 14 in 1860 which would verify that. Checking my Family Tree Records, I note that his grandfather died when Francis was about 10, but the Grandmother lived until he was 28.  Since he was 26 when he married Molly, he would have had access to the farm, and its trees in order to make the furniture for his bride. Doing the math dates the chest and table to 1872.

This is a photograph of a family gathering at a picnic held at Winona Lake in Indiana the summer of 1930.  My dad is holding me, a squirming toddler;  an assortment of other family is nearby. Francis, the Civil War drummer boy who was a widower by this time, is in the back row, wearing a bow tie. It is astounding to realize that my life overlaps his. He beat drums in the 1860’s; I use WiFi to play music on my iPhone. His three children are in the group: Aunt Jessie who never married, is standing next to him; my grandfather, Dean, sporting a straw hat is next to his wife, Maude; Aunt Flo or Floy as she has been called is on the blanket to the left; Dorothy, age 7, is holding the ball on the right. Weaver Family in Akron



Total stillness now, interrupted only by the cawing of crows in the sycamore down the way. In that stillness there is space and time for reflection, for listening to inner dialog. To think, to ponder, to get in touch with the self within has become a rare thing, a luxury enjoyed by too few. I become aware that I am playing with phrases, constructing and deconstructing sentences, describing even the air around me. People come to mind–family members who are struggling, friends not seen in years, those talked with just yesterday. This brings me to reflection on my own attitudes and emotions. The change, I realize, has been deep and wide. I am not now the person I was 20 years ago, 5 years ago, last month. And I like the person I am becoming. Notice the continuing present. Life is a process. When we stop growing and changing, we start dying.

I hear other birds as well. Some newcomers to the neighborhood add their unrecognized song to the surroundings. My pondering continues, now observing creative thoughts, deeper thoughts are stirring. I am struck by the great treasure that is available to everyone, the ability to process and create, bringing forth a new aspect of reality unique to them. However, a world of unceasing noise and distraction removes the stillness, that space and time of quiet in which the individual’s thoughts can take shape, to the blessing of us all. We are therefore all losers in a noisy environment. The unrealized potential creative idea that each person could bring is lost to the din of the day. Our culture has trained us to be restless unless there is a steady stream of noise — the background store and elevator music, the ubiquitous TV. Headphones, iTunes, Pandora. We fear to be left alone with our thoughts; the very idea is foreign to us. In the process, we lose our true selves.

What is that fear of stillness, of silence? What drives us to turn on the TV or radio the minute we walk in the door? What within in us do we fear? Or is it possible that our “surround sound” is all that tells us we have being, are alive? A primal fear is that of non-being; for many, silence is equivalent to that state of non-existence.

Yet God says, “Be still and know…”  Elijah didn’t hear God in the storm, but in the still small voice. It is when we know, from that stillness, that we then know who we are and are to become. In that becoming, treasures are discovered and shared with the world. For the benefit of our world, then, we should begin by quieting down to listen. Time to use your mind to explore, invent, create. Shhh. A mind is working here. This is a quiet zone. Shhh.

A Flock of Robins




A flock of robins has gathered on my lawn. Self directed cleaning machines, they pick through the grass cleaning up bugs and stray seeds, nature’s feathered Roombas. It is time to move on. In the spring, the time of love and increase, robins are seen in pairs. But now, it is time to move. There is a long distance to travel before reaching a warm haven for the winter. Instinctively they gather together for the journey. Is it safety in numbers, or companionship they seek?

Thickening clouds and sun hanging low speak of difficult days ahead. Each robin has to make the journey on his own; no other bird will flap the wings for him. Yet the other bird’s flight in some way inspires and silently encourages the faltering one to keep on. Keep on. This is what we do. This is how we fly. Don’t quit now. Keep on.

Now gathering in a flock, comforted by the very presence of others like them, they prepare, fueling for the trip ahead.

…Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb. 10:24,25