Do you ever get that sort of restless feeling? Like you just want to get in the jeep and go for a drive? Or have you ever had the restless feeling combined with the, “I want some ice cream AND I want to go to the bookstore all in one jumbled up mess inside?” That is me…frequently. I called our lets- go –get- some- ice- cream- even- though –we-know-we- shouldn’t friends, but for a forgotten reason they could not go that night.
What to do?
I stooped to new depths. That’s not true. I’ve stooped to these depths a few times before. I said to my wife, Kris, “Let’s go get some ice cream!” Now, when you have been married as long as we have you know the other’s weak spot. I didn’t feel particularly bad about this because I had already rationalized it in my mind that Kris would enjoy some delicious ice cream.
She agreed and on the way she said something about the book store. I knew she could see through my partially veiled motives but it was working and she would get ice cream and I could go stand among the books!
Did I mention that it was Sunday night? Probably not.
When we arrived, the ice cream parlor’s lights were bright and there were happy customers both inside and out enjoying their finds. But across the street the lights in the book store were dim. The entrance to the store was shrouded in this dark shadow. It was awful. The sun was definitely setting but c’mon. C-L-O-S-E-D? Really?
I nervously waited for Kris to get her dessert and then said that I wanted to go and see if the book store was open. She gave me that look, the one that said so very much with just the eyes. She knew it was closed. She couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t accept the truth that the darkness was trying to tell me. “I think they’re closed.” Sorry. But I thought I saw someone inside!
So we walked across the street and into the shroud covering the entrance way. Oh! They were closed alright. But now I discovered what was drawing me into the shadow covering the entrance. There they were! Two geese in the darkness. And there I was with my closed book store, my wife and her ice cream and two geese.
One was balancing on one leg. The other sitting with her neck bent as she tucked her head inside her feathers on her back. Yes, there they were. There we were. Kris took pictures because we have come to embrace life as interconnected, that there are no coincidences in life, that God speaks to us through nature which we belong too, and blah, blah, blah.
The store was closed and apparently I was too at first. Kris and I began to laugh, to find the humor in it even though I was disappointed the book store was closed. And then their gift to us, to me, was irritatingly discerned.
In my first encounter with the goose the message was clear. The goose is the living symbol of the Holy Spirit. Set the Spirit free!!! The second encounter taught us to follow the Spirit. Honk! The third time we came upon the two geese reminded me and Teri not to walk the spiritual journey alone and now, now the message is to include rest and balance into our journey. Kris took more pictures of the messengers.
I am finding a new rhythm in my life today and people are noticing. It feels good and it feels, well it feels balanced. These four encounters with the wild geese may just be the guidance I needed at the outset of beginning a new chapter in life. I believe it is. Jesus was right (duh!) “Consider the birds of the air, the lilies of the field.” Yes, for to consider one must slow down, take notice. Ponder. Reflect. Tell you what. If you see me in the book store come on up and ask me to buy ya an ice cream. I will!
Father Scott Jenkins is a Founding Director of the Celtic Way. Read more about him Here.