The great egrets are so easy to spot if they are present in the landscape—their pure white feathers do not blend into any landscape. Where I lived for so long in the San Francisco Bay Area the great egret is quite common. Known to feed and nest in the marshy shallows of the San Francisco Bay and in small lakes and ponds in the region, they are a symbol to me of my own spirituality. Feet firmly planted in the muddy bottoms they can fly, but I don’t think I’ve even seen one fly above the treetops like their cousin the great blue heron does. And so I think of myself as very grounded in the practical, everyday world, and still I have the ability to walk with God, to feel his presence, and to experience a little in the mystical realms.
As I’ve written in the last few weeks about some of the things to pay attention to in our lives, I’ve also been thinking about the Life of the Spirit and what our part is and what God’s part is in this life. In its best expression the life of the Spirit is about communion, being so in touch with God that our part of the equation is an ever increasing awareness of how God is communing with us. Now that awareness can be the result of a conversion experience or of a long time spent growing into this relationship. God is always calling us, I believe, in every minute of our days. Our part of the relationship is to “hear” God’s call in everything. As we’re able to commune with God and to heed his call, then his part is to transform us into the persons he created us to be, capable of expressing his love and compassion in our world.
Thus God receives willing hands to do his work in the world and to express his love, and we get, oh so much: healing of many things—guilt, angers, problems with self-esteem, love, constant support, purpose and meaning, joy, aliveness, integration, reframing and reorientation of our lives, fulfillment and probably much more that I am just not aware of. What I know for sure is that my life works ever so much better when God is running it than when I am.
I still feel 100% responsible for everything I do in my life, even while I follow God’s leadings. I’m not off-loading responsibility to God for what I do, like Flip Wilson who often quipped, “The Devil made me do it!” I am still a very human being, with flaws and shortcomings; I make mistakes and I take responsibility for them. I apologize when I mess up. And I am forgiven and loved. Like the great egret I am just living my life as I was designed to do.