Many great spiritual teachers throughout the centuries have taught about the feeling we have of "something" trying to get at us, attempting to get our attention. Some even get this feeling when walking, as if something is nipping at our heels, and we tend to want to move faster, perhaps even running, so “it” does not catch up with us.
What is this “something”? In 1893 Francis Thompson’s poem “The Hound Of Heaven” speaks of that same sensation of being chased by someone or something invisible. His ode essentially speaks of the pursuit of a sinner by a loving God, who seeks to comfort our souls.
Essentially that elusive “something” is actually “the call” of God on our lives. And what so many do not realize is that if we allow “the call” to reach and penetrate us, we will be freed from that which keeps us imprisoned in our unhappiness and fears. Unfortunately, too many people instead wrongly perceive that this call from God will somehow chain us.
We have become so attached to our supposed “freedoms,” obsessed with our autonomy, and dependent on privilege and mobility. But when something out of all our control aggressively takes hold of the world, like it is right now, those “freedoms” become our prisons, and no one can give a name to the jailer.
This is the time that we can begin to realize that what we understood as “liberty” and “being free” is not accurate. We thought it meant: “If I can do whatever I want, I’ll be happy.” But true freedom comes when we say, “What can I do for you, to make you happy?”
As a globally-connected society, we are now confronted with the reality of our collective loneliness. The hustle to achieve is in vain, our past “successes” also reveal our failures, and our children all along have been begging us with their eyes to stay home and play with them.
We are now standing naked in the mirror of our addictions; to see how we have run here and there to get a fix and now, suddenly staying in place, we are realizing we need fixed.
We have made money our idol to worship, yet we cannot eat paper, coins, plastic credit cards, etc. We have not tended the soil and planted the seeds to nourish our homeland’s people.
We are inside out. We have been constantly looking outwards: at screens, at magazines, at social media, at the faults in others; and we have neglected our own inner life so much that now, screeching to a halt, we feel how empty we truly are.
However, in this time of great uncertainty, we can be certain of one thing: that our connection with one another is the one thing on this planet that is absolutely real. We do not mourn a desk or chair that is swept up by a flood, but we achingly grieve the loss of a loved one in that same flood.
Let us all hold our beloved ones warmly in our hearts, speak kindness, show compassion, and be agents of grace. If some of our loved ones are suddenly gone tomorrow, we would not want our last words with them to have been tinged with bitterness and hurt.
Let us all find the bravery to live a life of purity, of service, of dedication to doing the right thing. The seeds from these efforts will grow a garden of forever-fruits.
This war with an invisible enemy is asking us to choose a side between allowing that “something”—the call of God—to catch us or to continue running from it.
In accepting God’s beckoning, the spiritually courageous gift of loving others comes with a price. It is not just your life at stake; it is your eternity. Choose wisely.