“If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him becomea fool, so as to become wise.” 1 Corinthians 3:18
When I was in Louisiana I woke up early one morning and went to get a cup of coffee in the motel lobby. I looked out the window and saw my brother Robert standing on the edge of a small pond. I went out to join him. He said to me “Watch this.” With that said, he tossed a handful of Cheerios onto the surface of the pond and within seconds I saw all these little ripples coming toward us. Turtles were making their way to a Cheerio feeding frenzy. There must have been about 20 turtles enjoying the Cheerio breakfast. I watched in amazement – I wondered how the turtles knew that a man was feeding them. You would think that such a connection would be beyond the range of their instinctive grasp. So it is that turtles can better maneuver through the waters of life, blessed as they apparently are with turtle wisdom.
It is only since I came here to the monastery that I have become more aware of the wisdom that permeates all of life – it has been a good place for me to watch and better see all that goes on with the wise who dwell among us here. They are not like us – they do not speak but they do teach. Birds, butterflies, flowers, an occasional raccoon, the bees, ants, cats and kittens all have knowing ways by virtue of the wisdom God has given them.
And there is much to contemplate in the heavens above – how the planets and moons are aligned in perfect orbits, their rotations kept in perfect balance as they spin around and through the universe. Everything is moving, everything is wise.
I have an appointment with my eye doctor later today. He has been treating me for macular degeneration for several years, and I once told him that I was afraid of losing the sight in my right eye. He said not to worry too much – the left eye would automatically compensate as best it can for what the right eye can no longer see. That amazed me.
The universe is imbued and guided by a wisdom who is both beyond the stars and a part of them. God’s wisdom is within us as well. It is a wisdom that eludes us when we try to speak of it, or use it. It seems that it is given us to be quiet and watch, and learn from the turtles who love Cheerios, flowers that bend toward the warmth of the sun, and eyeballs that magically learn to help each other out so as to better see.
Father James Stephen (Jeff) Behrens, O.C.S.O., serves at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Ga. Highway 212 S.W., Conyers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.