Trust in the Slow Work of God

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Life cannot be contained~~Ian Malcolm

Above all, trust in the slow work of God

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability-

and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you.

your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955)

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The Lord’s Ways

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Or “Herrens Veje” in Danish.  Herrens Veje is the name of a 2-season show we just finished on Netflix, which is so complex that I cannot do it justice here, but I’ll still say a few things, including: I highly recommend it.

Herren Veje

The wall of photos in the rectory of Johannes Krogh.

An unassuming photo, perhaps, as many of us line our walls with photos (and/or paintings) of our ancestors. But, I agree with Frank that this wall of photos and paintings is extremely important as it summarizes what is going on in the show from the first episode to the last.

And that is the fact that Johannes Krogh (Lars Mikkelson, Mads older brother and currently on “The Witcher”) is being crushed beneath the weight of his history. The family of priests trace their lineage all the way back to N.F.S. Gruntvig, a Danish pastor who is one of the most influential persons in Danish history–someone that none of them have been able to live up to.

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Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872)

IMDB summarizes the show this way: The story centers on a family of priests: Johannes, Elisabeth and their sons August and Christian. Johannes is God-like to his sons – he gives, loves, and punishes. His favoritism for August and his disappointment with Christian forces both into making desperate choices in order to either gain his love or break free from him.

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A rare moment of family togetherness.

Obviously, it’s more complex than that, and August and Christian aren’t the only ones struggling, because Johannes and Elisabeth are struggling as well, as are many of the people closest to them. I cried a lot during this show because it was all so painfully real.

And, one of the best things about this show is how all the religions/philosophies–from atheist and agnostic to Christian to Buddhist and Muslim–are treated equally as are the characters who struggle within the bounds of their own philosophies and religions.

One of my favorite parts of each episode is the beautiful rendition of the hymn–God Moves in a Mysterious Way–which was borrowed from William Cowper’s poem, “Light Shining Out of Darkness.”

The first stanza . . .

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

. . . also sums up the show pretty well. And the English name for the show is taken from the last line–Ride Upon the Storm.

Herrens Veje William_Cowper_by_George_Romney

William Cowper by George Romney

Cowper, 1731-1800, has a fascinating history of his own including a friendship with John Newton that led to a number of anti-slavery poems. He also suffered from deep depressions and attempted suicide several times and was even institutionalized for insanity. And yet, he was highly respected by other poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth and is responsible, because of the above poem/hymn, for introducing the phrase, “God works in mysterious ways”, into the English language.

And after the final episode of Herrens Veje, I had to agree. God does move in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.

 

Phoenix

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North Mountain Park

When you think of traveling to Phoenix, Arizona, the first thing that comes to mind is a dry heat, right? Bizarrely, this particular December, we left pouring rain and cold on the east coast for pouring rain and cold in the desert. My suitcase, and many of the clothes inside it, were literally soaked when I picked it up at baggage claim.

So, while it didn’t rain nonstop while we were there, for the first five days, there wasn’t a lot we could do outside. Fortunately, we don’t have Disney+, so we were able to watch the newest version of Lady and the Tramp, which was filmed in our hometown of Savannah, with our daughter. We also got to watch the first season of The Mandalorian. And, Griffin’s boyfriend and I were able to enjoy a couple of Manchester United games.

Finally, on Saturday, the sun came out and Frank and I took a quick hike at North Mountain Park:

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Desert Spoon, also called Sotol

Then the four of us headed out to find some petroglyphs in North Phoenix. Amazingly, these rocks were on a hillside overlooking a heavily populated valley.

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Griffin’s boyfriend kindly took a decent family photo of us. See the petroglyphs on the rocks behind us?

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I love that spirals are universal.

That evening, we headed to Glendale, where my daughter is in vet school, to enjoy Glendale Glitters, their annual light show. We finished the evening with pierogis, paprikash, and goulash at a Polish (serving Eastern European food) restaurant.

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First Responders statue against a glorious sunset.

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Phoenix-Glendale 3

 

Final Week of #AdventWord

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Which, in this case, means just two more photos. As this blog posts (7 AM EST), I am probably enroute to Phoenix Skyharbor airport to begin the trip back to Savannah. I will have just spent the past week visiting with my daughter and her boyfriend during her Christmas holiday break from the rigors of vet school. I will also have had a chance to visit with my sister and her family as well as my stepmother and her husband. But, I am scheduling this blog ahead of time just so I don’t have to worry about it while in Phoenix. So, next week, I just may be posting photos of our trip as I hope to get at least one desert hike in while there. Meanwhile . . . the final photos:

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December 23–Advent Word: Message

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December 24–Advent Word: Beloved. Joyous Mary courtesy of my mother, Laura Campbell.