Lumunos helps you Reflect ~ Connect ~ Discover your gifts to find your call in life, through these stories and observations here, through our website, and through retreats. Help us help you continue to discover your calling in life. Donations are accepted through our Website.
by Tom Pappas
“What would you say
is the most beautiful part of life?” Ka asked.
There was silence. “All of it!” said Necip,
as if he were betraying a secret.
I have been ruminating on this quote from the book Snow by Orhan Pamuk since we read it the
other night. (Explanation: In preparation for an upcoming trip to Turkey,
Laurel and I agreed to read a Turkish novel. Pamuk is a Nobel Prize winner.)
Lyman Coleman has likened authentic Christian community
rounding the bases of a baseball diamond and he would likely put Ka’s question
as a solid base hit trip to first. The depth and intimacy of the built in
self-disclosure is intriguingly profound.
In Lumunos we would likely adapt the question. Necip’s
response is optimistic and idealistic but to me it begs the question, “All of
it? Really? Even disaster, greed, terrorism, disease? Tell me something – no,
tell three specific things that make life beautiful to you.”
Today, my three answers would start with the power of life
as demonstrated in the plant kingdom. God is amazing and gave us a beautiful
world to enjoy. Next, I find human compassion beautiful. I stand in awe when
people run toward the disaster (Boston, Moore) because that what we do for each
other. Finally, the power of music is a beautiful part of life. With minimal
skills, I love to sing and dance. Who cares how I sound or look? There’s magic
and beauty in what music does to our lives individually and corporately.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is
pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
by Angier Brock
Saturday, I participated in my first “bio-blitz”—an intensive period of
surveying the plants and animals inhabiting a given place. Usually bio-blitzes
occur over a period of about twenty-four hours. During that time teams comb a
targeted area looking for evidence of as many species as they can find. In this
case, I was in one of two groups searching for birds on a 118-acre tract of
land recently (and almost miraculously) saved from development and designated
as a natural area in the city of Virginia Beach, VA. Despite the unusually chilly,
blustery weather, we identified over four dozen species.
I say “we,”
though as a novice birder, I cannot claim much credit for the identification
part. Two experienced birders (one of whom can identify dozens of birds by
their call alone) did most of that. I carried the clipboard and recorded information
(though that in itself was not an easy task with the wind whipping around and the
cold drizzle dampening the pages and stiffening my fingers). Over a period of
six hours, we developed a list that included not only the names of species we
saw or heard but also a brief description of the habitat they were utilizing or
flying over. A fourth person on our team,
an accomplished photographer, brought her camera with a fabulous long-range
lens. When she got a good photo, I made a note of that, too.
the songs of Eastern Towhees and Pine Warblers in the maritime forest and heard
a group of Clapper Rails in wetland vegetation. We spotted a Blue-gray
Gnat-catcher in scrub/shrub vegetation. A Common Loon bobbed in Crab Creek, as
did a Double-crested Cormorant. A pair of Nelson’s Sparrows bustled about in
the tall grasses of a sandy area. Several kinds of herons showed themselves,
some wading, some flying: Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Great Blues, a Tri-colored
Heron, and a Green Heron. A Belted Kingfisher and two American Oyster-catchers
flew over. We heard an American Crow and saw Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles (both
Common and Boat-tailed), a Northern Cardinal, a Tufted Titmouse, and both
Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. On the mud flats, we spotted several kinds of
terns and gulls. And with the help of the camera, which let us zoom in even
more closely than we could with our binoculars, we even saw a marvelous
“necklace” on a Common Loon and the magnificent green lores (indicative of breeding
season) of a Great Egret.
I came away
from the experience once again awed by the variety, the diversity, and the
beauty in our world—and with a renewed awareness of how much I usually do not
see, not because it’s not there, but because I don’t know where, or when, or
how to look and listen. I also came away grateful for those with keen and
experienced eyes and ears who are willing to share what they know and to show
me what I otherwise would miss. Such work is holy work, and their knowledge,
developed through years of their own patient looking and listening, inspires me
to continue on my own path of doing the same.
In one way
or another, we are each called to open our eyes and ears. To see more deeply
into the world we inhabit. To listen more closely to what we hear. Responding
to that call requires not only willingness but also patience, and sometimes it
involves the risk of discomfort—whether we are out watching for the birds, listening
to the local or national news, hearing what a friend or loved one is telling
us, or taking a good hard look into our inner selves.
Who or what
is calling you to see something more closely today? May it be so.
you open your eyes and ears? Thanks be to God!