This is an old photo I took of my friend Jocko. He would come, everyday, to stand at the top of the utility pole, visible from my office window. He would caw, until I opened the blinds and talked to him. That was almost three years ago. He hasn’t returned, but I got another type of Wake-Up call two days ago.
I had just posted a piece on another site. The prompt was to write about War and Peace, so I did a brief dialogue on that subject. It may be found here: https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/dialogue-on-war-and-peace/
Amazingly, even to myself, I reduced War to fear of other, that which is different and unfamiliar. And peace became deep acceptance that we all share the same fear. Just after finishing and posting it, the phone rang. As I reached to pick it up, I could see the caller ID, which read Jehovah Witness. I’d already clicked the button by the time it registered, sighed heavily and said, “Hello.”
She immediately launched herself into what was obviously a cold call, “Hi, S…, this is….”
I tried to tell her she was looking for my oldest daughter, but she wouldn’t be stopped, until she made a request to read a Bible verse to me. When she perkily asked her question, I took a deep breath and said slowly and clearly, “You are looking for my daughter who no longer lives in this city.”
She immediately switched gears, saying, “Oh? This isn’t S…? Well may I ask what your name is?” At which point, I wanted only to hang-up, but flashed back to what I’d just written about: fear versus acceptance, hate versus love, war versus peace. Immediately thought of the humor in of all of this, and that perhaps the Universe was checking in to see if I would stick to the words I’d just written, or allow myself to become just another casualty of hatred toward what is different from what I believe.
As I slowly said my name(which means God is my oath), my head was flooded with memories. At the age of 27, I’d had a deeply moving Spiritual experience that totally altered my person and the manner in which I viewed the world around me. For several years, after that, I had studied with the focus of a hawk, searching for the meaning of that experience and what it really meant, for and to me, personally. During that time period, I would get occasional visitors, like my caller, and had a few memorable experiences just chatting with them. I began to relax, maybe smiling a bit.
She immediately repeated my name and then launched herself back into her cold call dialogue, ending with a request to share a verse from scripture with me. A bit curious, I said yes. She read a verse from Jeremiah. A very familiar verse, it turned out. When she finished reading it, she immediately began to explain to me how relevant it was to our world today and these present trying times, ending with a question about whether or not, I could see its value especially in the present moment.
Now, I was smiling, as she once again tried to explain its deeper significance. I said, “There is something I should tell you. Years ago, I thoroughly studied the Bible and even taught Adult Bible Study classes.”
A very brief pause, then, “Oh? I don’t think I’ve ever called anyone who has actually studied the Bible, let alone taught Bible classes. Which part of the Bible were you most attracted to?”
“Well, I studied all of it, but was particularly drawn to the Old Testament Prophets, especially to Isaiah, and, more importantly Jeremiah. Which is very interesting seeing as you just read Jeremiah to me.”
Now, she was almost gushing, “Yes, I agree, but…”
“Perhaps you should ask me what I like about Jeremiah so much.”
“Well, yes, you are right. What is it you like about Jeremiah?”
“The fact that in telling his story, he got very human, and confessed to being completely disillusioned by his people and their refusal to listen to him. So, much so, that he became angry with God and accused Him of being untrustworthy, comparing Him to a brook with waters that fail. But, God doesn’t get angry at Jeremiah. Instead, He tells the man that if he will put away his angst, God will bless him. I have always liked it because it tells me that God accepts our human frailties, and continues to love and bless us despite that reality.”
“Yes, when we do the right thing, God will bless us. I have some small pamphlets that I’d like to send you, so that we can discuss them the next time I call. Would that be okay?”
“No, I would prefer that you didn’t.”
“No? You don’t want me to send them to you? May I ask why?”
“Because I already have a very well-developed Spiritual Belief system that works just fine for me.”
“Okay,” she seemed a bit confused, “may I call you again. Perhaps, we could share other verses. Maybe you could read one to me next time? I’ve never called anyone who has studied the Bible and taught classes before.” Now, she was gushing.
“I suppose you could do that.”
“Yes, and next time you can share one of your favorite verses with me?”
“That would be okay, if I’m not busy.”
We said our goodbyes and ended the call.
It was only later, that I realized that although I was being honest, when I explained my preference for Jeremiah, that the story I had paraphrased to her, is to be found in the verses, just prior to the one she had originally read to me. I told her about it, because when I read it originally, years ago, I finally realized that the prophets were simply human beings, called yes, but filled with the same human frailties we are all dealing with. That of being perfectly imperfect human beings. And that love and forgiveness go so much further than anger and hate might ever travel.
I have no idea if she will call again. It makes no difference. I feel that the Universe was simply telling me that I am in the right place, doing the right thing, and perhaps the call was really for her, and not for me at all. And by the way, Jocko is a crow, and crows are a symbol of higher law, that which is greater than the law created by man.