What’s on Your Horizon?

So what’s on your horizon? I’ll tell you what’s on mine.

Prior to this morning’s walk, I glanced quickly at my social media. One friend was posting poetic pics of a Montana sky displaying signs of hope as she headed home. Another posted pics of sand dunes in the desert, and yet another of beaches brimming with waves lapping gently upon the shores of Mexico.

I, on the other hand, noted the ground upon which I trod. It was laden with cow manure making it a hop, skip, and a jump sort of morning walk. Cawing treetop was a crow off in the distance and the company I kept was that of cows awakening to the beat of my footsteps.

They looked wary of movement. As I came closer to them, I began to speak aloud. Each cow standing midfield turned their heads to follow my voice. As I walked, the quiet litany of prayers rolling from my tongue appeared intriguing to them, and their gaze remained steady. Quiet voice…quiet cows sort of goes hand-in-hand with farm life.

Looking as though spellbound, I upped-the-anti so to speak. Thinking my voice intonations might convey the wonderful message from within as if giving the Sermon on the Mount to the cattle below…I bellowed it out loud and clear for all to hear.

What was their response? One by one, the herd mentality got the best of them and when one turned to move away, another followed…and then another…and then another. Apparently, the volume of my voice did more harm than good, and it scared them away.

I wonder…in people terms…if how we speak to one another says more than the words we speak. When I softly sing to the animals, they draw nigh. When I pound out an Our Father and rev up the tune of Jesus Loves Me…they are off and running.

I suppose people are no different. We all sort of run when the voice gets a bit revved up. The words to an old hymn convey this truth.

            Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.
            Calling for you and for me.
            See on the portals, He’s waiting and watching.
            Watching for you and for me.

            Come home, come home.
            Ye who are weary come home.
            Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling.
            Calling, oh, sinner come home.

I suppose tenderly calling is the only way love is received. It can’t be downloaded by someone screaming at us to shape-up or ship-out. It can’t be received in a time out sort of get it together discipline style. But rather, it must be caught with care. A time-in hugged with love gets more mileage as little ones collect their emotional state hanging on to the arms of love…hearing the heartbeat of His until ours beats as one with His in love.

Upon my wall I have a drawing from an artist and the words encapsulate this thought well. It says, “There has never been a day I have not been proud of you…though some days I’m louder about other stuff so it’s easy to miss that.” (by The StoryPeople Crew)

Perhaps Jesus said it best in Ephesians 4:2 as to how to live this tenderness out: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”

May we speak in love, live in love, and receive love well while pouring it out upon others…in love. That’s a beautiful concept always just on the horizon within reach. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug, OblSB

This article was first published in Theology in the Trenches, a column written by oblate Kathleen Kjolhaug. Posted with permission. Read more articles on her blog, Theology in the Trenches.

Photo: A beautiful sunset on our horizon, taken by Sister Laura Suhr