In One Year
A prisoner was brought before the king.
“Tomorrow your sentence will be carried out,” the king said. “Do you have one last wish before you die?”
The prisoner replied, “If you will give me one year from this day, I will teach your horse to sing. If I fail then I will go willingly to the gallows.”
The king was skeptical and reluctant, but seeing as he had always desired a singing horse, he agreed.
When the prisoner related the story to his cellmate, his friend stood stunned in disbelief. “You are so foolish!” he said. “How do you expect to teach a horse to sing?”
The prisoner replied, “I have no idea. But many things can happen in a year.”
A friend told me this story the other day to illustrate his point: Many things can happen in a year.
In other words… Don’t stress about it Elaine!
Okay okay… hold your horses there, buddy. [get it? horses… :)]
Took me back to some lessons from earlier in the spring… a one-liner from a John Shea lecture: Easy ways are not of God.
John Shea is the kind of theologian who would use the horse story to teach a lesson… maybe he has.
As I move into a new phase of life, I am having trouble letting go of the old phase. I want to let go of the bad things, but keep hold of the good things.
Over the Labor Day weekend, I ended up at one of my favorite places in Colorado… the Trappist monastery in Snowmass.
Abbot John’s homily about humility scraped at the shadowy recesses in my false self. Tears rolled when the guitar-monk began the Communion song: Take Lord, receive all my liberty… [you chose that song just for me, right?]
I have experienced many powerful moments in this stone chapel… though none more profound than this one.
It has probably happened to you as well… that slow-motion feeling of God sitting right beside you and talking into your ear clear as day.
“I’m asking you to go this way now. It will mean letting go of what you have known and hoped for.”
Tears… tears… tears.
I open my eyes wondering who said that, and the first image I focus on is Mary with the Ruby Slippers. [I have written about her many times. She also speaks to my soul.] For the first time, I notice that she is standing on the snake.
Easy ways are not of God.
The deeper into the Mystery we walk, the more complex become the questions and the more challenging are the answers. The steps only get bigger.
Perhaps it is the same for the Ironman triathlete. You train and train and train… and in the final hour of the race, the remaining steps are huge and draw all strength from your resolve to finish.
But something in that competitive nature won’t let you stop. If you have to crawl on hands and knees, the end-line will be conquered.
I know the feeling.
Go this way now. Let go of all you have known and hoped for. I will provide.