A Quick Thought... (experimenting with off-the-cuff)
I clear the lawn of branches so the tall grass can finally be cut.
Our yard, flanked by huge Willows on three sides, gets pretty doggone full of branches every spring. Many of these sticks are an inch or two in diameter. They could seriously damage our mower.
I decide the mower can probably handle the smaller ones, so I just collect the largest, thickest, and longest.
I know stick collecting is not exactly action-adventure material. The decision making process though, intrigues me, and parallels our navigation of spiritual dangers.
The grass is tall enough to hide 80% of what I need to find. I have to walk right up to it to even see it. Then, once spotted, the stick is analyzed. Will it damage the mower? If one end is driven over will the other pop up and poke me? Can I leave it there and assume all will be well?
And I wonder what kinds of spiritual sticks hide all around us. Do I look across the lush green grass from my safe patio bench and declare "Oh, how beautiful!"? Or do I actually inspect it before making that call?
And when I find sticks in that otherwise lovely lawn, what will I do then?
Ignore them, regardless of the harm they will likely cause?
Will I decide on my own which ones are dangerous and which are not?
One by one pick each one out?
Maybe the metaphor doesn't fully connect, because the lawn I clear is mine. I am responsible to clean it, and if I don't no one else will. And if I don't, I will cost me personally. I'll have an ugly yard, trip on sticks, and damage our equipment.
But the spiritual realm connects with everything. Government policy, government (public) education, big business, small business, finances ... everything has a spiritual element. So what is my responsibility in these 'big' things? Whatever path I walk through them, ought I not pick up a stick or two if I see it, to help my neighbor? And if the stick is too big and I see someone else struggling to lift it, would I not stop to help?
I hope so.
Unless I'm on a patio bench, looking out over the lush green grass.
There is a time for rest and appreciation of a field even with all its sticks.
But if I'm intent on believing it's beautiful just the way it is, and it needs no help or work from me ever,
then I might be annoyed by the guy heaving big sticks
because he is blocking my view.