I was sitting in my room at the monastery this past January; I make it a practice to go for an annual silent retreat when I am in Canada. It was the third morning of my retreat, and I was sitting in my room enjoying the view and contemplating the things I had been reading the past few days. It was a sunny day with only a few clouds in the sky. The wind was blowing so the clouds were moving fast and the trees were swaying.
From my window you could see the rolling grass field across the parking lot and the edge of the forest.
There was a cluster of three or four trees centered in my window. The trees were between 30 to 40 feet tall and they were swaying due to the wind that was blowing that morning. They didn’t move in unison; they were very independent. They moved at different times, direction and intensity. This made each one stand out from the other. When they were still, they would blend together and it was difficult to separate one from the other.
I watched them for some time, at times thinking, “It looks like they are waving to me.”
The weather changed later in the day. The rain clouds moved in and the wind died down. It got dark early, around 4:30, as I was in the north in the midst of winter. The trees became very still and the darkness made it difficult to distinguish one tree from the other. They just appeared as one large bush.
As I meditated on what I experienced that day I came to a conclusion. The morning scene reminded me of what Jesus said in John 3:8:
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
As the wind struck the trees it made each one move independent from the other. We should experience the same result in our lives.
Our spirit should make our lives stand out from the crowd. We all carry spiritual gifts and when we act on them, we should bring joy to those around us as we wave in the wind.
The scene in the afternoon was very different; it did not bring joy, but rather I experienced heaviness. The trees were dull, still and dark.
I decided that day that I want to live my life in such a way that I stand out; I do not want to live as one who just blends in. I want to live my life bringing joy to others as I move by the blowing of the spirit though my life.
In the vacuum of outer space sound does not travel. Sound waves need a medium to travel through in order to be heard. The spirit, too, needs a medium to be seen and heard. We are that medium. We should live our lives in such a way that people not only notice us, but also see the spirit of God at work in our lives.
This is my desire, not that I am there–I have far to go to reach this ideal–but it is what I am striving for.
It is what all God’s people should desire for their lives.
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