The Great Pause


Adversity. Restraint. Community. Three words that have absorbed new depths that challenge us during The Great Pause. Although independent in meaning they combine in an unfamiliar, or at best, forgotten triune mystery leading our hearts and/or minds to envision reality as it emerges from the paralyzing grip of the Covid19 pandemic. I say hearts and/or minds because it appears to me we are being led to a fork in the road opportunity.  To resume what history and science has deemed an impossible fight against limited resources or to continue by encouraging a new way of life afforded by the hidden grace imbued by this pandemic’s new normal. To resume disconnects the heart from the mind while to continue engages a childlike fellowship between the heart and mind. Like the tired argument against faith and works, transformation occurs when hearts housing an Image awaken to its divinely invested goodness and dignity that would better serve us as stewards of the human family and the gift of this planet we call Earth.

The Great Pause

A chorus of excitement filling misty air,
Cool and thick with joyous birdsong,
Awaiting the miracle of warmth and light,
Praising The Giver of sun to whom they belong.

The invisible assembly of unrivaled echoes,
Rise higher and pierce sharper than the day before,
Growing aware of newfound inheritance,
Grateful praise from feathered bodies increase in vigor.

The white dawn breaks quietly,
Piercing the horizon in glittering light,
The days pass by namelessly,
Whilst a vast solitude imposes its invisible fight.

This peculiar adversity,
Restraining exploitation into private Lent,
Yet the Earth breathes cleaner in respite,
The pillager fasts from consuming Natures willing ferment.

The predator grows lean and ever anxious,
Yearning to rejoin its hunt with the pack,
Still…Paralyzed in profound hesitation,
The sullen hunted awaits planning its counterattack.

Repentance drawn by contemplative breath,
Unwelcome at first by dawn’s first blush,
Yet the comforting sounds of Nature’s delight,
Awakened childhood memories replacing their scouring rush.

Like a shoot blossoming from a dry, dead limb,
Miraculous prospects haunt repentant minds within,
Hoarding gives away to communal needs,
Realizing less is more gazing upon Nature’s healing skin.

Childhood’s idealism seeds a new uprising,
Preparing for war against pedantic wants,
Thoughtful discussions fill conversation’s sandbox,
Proposing a new hope like a baptismal font.

A decision awaits the marauder’s fork in the road,
An ancient choice between an old and new will,
Submission beckons both to slavery,
One is kenotic… the other lonely and downhill.

The wondrous orb sinks quietly into dusk,
Returning with birdsong’s grateful delight,
Hoping tomorrow brings rise to new daylight,
Dreaming that the predator is gone from their sight,
Praising The Giver who changes hearts to contrite.

by Chris Clody

The Parable of the beach and bourbon.

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“Sin Management” and its orthodoxy and along with a variety of fearless prejudice through damnation flourishes expectantly in in a capitalistic society.  Religion and its Author’s intention was not meant for unrealistic imprisonment within some willful discipline or spouting verses in ancient English.  Religion was meant to simply bring us back to the water. First in the simplistic joy of jumping into puddles of baptism releasing the irresistible child within.  Remember those days?   The smiles, squealing giggles, and the mad rush home to tell mom of the splashing. As we grew so does our yearning for understanding and want of deeper water.  We learn to swim in man-made pools while being held afloat despite our initial terror. Before long another layer of the gospel explains to trust in swimmies and life jackets so we may bob despite venturing into the deeper part of the pool. Adolescence of faith braves its machismo, its immortality, its certitude, and false confidence of knowing all as it does demonstrating miraculous flips into the deep end. Others even dare to swim the length of the pool underwater to the applause and hand waving of others. Amen! Woohoo! Then it happens – our first hearing of the beach and a chance to visit. Maturity of the believer finds an unexpected realm of living water as they toe anxiously into the bubbling surf.  The waves, the sounds, the busyness of birds, sand crabs, glistening shells are nothing compared to what life is bound within this turbulent and mysterious, blue mass.

Bourbon sidebar:

Religious maturity must accept mystery, regretfully learning to say “I don’t know.”  Fortunately, like the aging of good bourbon, a smoothing of taste is offered by wood.  The wood accepts the bitter aspects of regret, time to ferment in our grateful meditation.  That first small sip, held just before it is slowly rolled back by the tongue and held savor soon slightly burns yet pleases in swallowing.  

By now we are mid-calf deep in the sea foam with religious training complete, the disciple emerges and grows in the distance from the shores safety.  New fears of experiencing currents grow to terror encountering the living things that bump legs while glimpsing quickly sinking fins.  Before long the aging disciple is treading water while quelling the memory of swimmies.  The endless horizon mantles the beckoning sunset and then it hits you like a rogue wave… We are free!  Not only are we drawn to the sun but to the very depths of ourselves and our capabilities! However we are not fish, despite evolution’s promise, and soon tire of treading. Heading back to shore we gratefully ride in a wave. Still dripping you speak of the freedom and the ‘you’ discovered in the wild blue.  Others listen and dash off into the breakers while others stay sharing a sip a bourbon.  Others follow at their own pace into the cold waves while many hesitate and make camp satisfied simply to savor the magnificent bourbon.

The camp soon gathers bricks and builds a storefront at the shore advertising the magnificent taste. Storefronts become buildings with beautiful intentions for churches,hospitals and schools.  Many gather in gratitude, singing songs, and relishing that sip before returning home to clean and skim the bugs from their above-ground pools. Wealth finds some and their pools range from in-ground to “infinity” awaiting their return from the ever growing and profitable places built from bourbon tasting.

One day a man elected to run their biggest church stood before the standing room only and demanded the ushers to open the windows.  “do you smell that salt air?  Do you her the song of ocean?”  A well-dressed man stood up and scoffed, “It’s a the Siren song I tell ya and he has no right to open those stained glass window!” Still some listened, stood up and nudged their way out of the crowd.  Finding a bathroom they slipped on their suit and walked between the thin alley between the massive buildings until hot sand hugged their feet. Bellies full of butterflies they walked towards the water drawn by the warming rays of sun.

It’s ironic that the very thing that calls us is the very thing that is blocked by the religion of it.

Remember, the Son calls us to be fearless…