Daily Bread January 14

The Shy Soul
Sheila Kunzweiler of Dayton, OH, USA


May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace! -Psalm 29:11

The rain had finally stopped, so I gathered up my dog and headed to a metro park near where I live. I picked a trail that was remote, unleashed the dog, and off we went. Watching him tear through the woods, with tongue lolling about and what appears to be a huge grin on his face, is sheer joy to me.

We came out of the woods and headed to a clearing, where a pond provided home and sustenance to the wildlife. Dylan had slowed to a walk beside me as if aware of the change of scenery and the need to slow down and appreciate our surroundings. We came up an embankment toward the pond, and I turned to the left. There we were greeted by a young doe. Quickly, I grabbed Dylan\’s collar, and we stood rock still. The deer cautiously and haltingly continued to approach, “talking” the whole time. I was suddenly reminded of the children’s book, Are You My Mother? and wondered if maybe she had gotten separated from hers. We just stood there and admired her beauty until she trotted off.

Parker J. Palmer, in his book, A Hidden Wholeness, states that the soul is like a wild animal, and, although wild, incredibly shy. If you want to encounter a wild animal, you don’t go crashing through the forest. It’s the same with the human soul. You don’t go crashing about in a person’s life as that will only drive the soul further into hiding. When you become still and attentive to the other, you may be graced with the appearance of their beautiful soul.

As we stood there admiring the young deer, I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what it’s like to allow the shy soul to come out of hiding? May I be ever mindful in my ministry of the need to respectfully listen and sit with the other as they discover in their sharing, the divine that’s already within.

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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