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Our topic is in the form of a proper Quaker query because, in this post-lockdown season, we feel the need to encourage each other to reengage in spiritual conversation and exploration.
This issue of Seeds feels a little different for us because long-time resident and Seeds Committee member Tim Lietzke is leaving Monteverde for the US this month. In his article, Tim shares how God’s Spirit led him in this decision. Those of us on the Seeds committee wish Tim nothing but the best on his journey and we want to express our thanks for his dedication and passion in shaping what Seeds is today.
Also in this issue, Kris Fleming and Edwin A. Urbina both describe how the Spirit led them to self-improvement and greater maturity. Jean Cox and another member of the Monteverde Meeting both describe the various ways in which they have sensed the Spirit. Jetty Halverson writes of Spirit in the context of name change, a frequent occurrence in Scripture. Sarah Dowell shares three of her paintings that evoke the Spirit’s care and comfort. And finally, you will get to know recent Monteverde arrivals: Mark, Bobby, Sage, and Luna. We hope these reflections and various interactions with God’s Spirit may help you to recognize similar instances that you may have had, whether you initially realized it or not.
In 2022, we will begin publishing Seeds three times a year: January, May, and September. The January issue will be on the topic of Forgiveness. We are looking for essays, poems, artwork, photography, or interviews on the importance of forgiving others or of seeking forgiveness for ourselves. It is something God calls us to do repeatedly and endlessly. It can bring a tremendous sense of emotional release and blessing, but it can also be the hardest thing we ever do. Anyone, Quaker or not, may send submissions to the Seeds e-mail address: email@example.com. Deadline for submissions is December 31. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with our community of readers in Monteverde and around the world.
Table of Contents
- Introducing Mark, Bobby, Sage, and Luna by Mark
- Journeying toward a New Life by Tim Lietzke
- The Path Within: Experiencing Spirit through Divine Guidance by Kris Fleming
- A Few Experiences by a member of the Monteverde Meeting
- Every Time I Feel the Spirit by Jean Cox
- The Watercolors of Sarah Dowell
- How the Spirit Teaches Me through Failure by Edwin A. Urbina
- Call Me Jetty by Jetty Halverson
Introducing Mark, Bobby, Sage, and Luna
Buenas dias todos! Bobby, Mark, Sage, and Luna moved to Monteverde on August 1 from New Hampshire in the United States. Before that, they lived in South Africa for three years. They are planning to be in Monteverde for a year and are looking forward to improving their Spanish and exploring the beautiful and unique natural environment of the cloud forest.
Luna is five years old and loves to play with her sister and her friends. She enjoys pretend play and running around outside. She also loves music, singing, bouncing on the trampoline, kicking around a soccer ball, and eating treats. Fresh fruits in Costa Rica are a favorite for Luna and she is super excited to have a lime tree growing in her back yard here! She attends prepa this year at the Monteverde Cloud School Creativa.
Sage is a gregarious seven-year-old who loves to climb trees and learn about animals and nature. The forests of Monteverde are super exciting for her. Sage is extremely inquisitive and right now she is particularly fascinated with snakes, bats, and orcas. She has a huge capacity for learning about animals and read all the way through an advanced encyclopedia of wild cats with her parents. Sage is very inclusive and loves to play with anyone. She is now in second grade at Creativa.
Bobby is an environmental journalist for Living on Earth, a weekly public radio program focused on science and the environment. She is excited to learn more about the cloud forest and the research happening here to share that information with Living on Earth’s national audience in the United States. Bobby works remotely and can often be found in the local coffee shops. She has traveled extensively, reporting from around the world, and is particularly passionate about habitat conservation and environmental health. Bobby loves gardening and permaculture. She’s slightly sad to have left the family’s berry farm in the US but is excited to explore the possibilities of year-round gardening in a tropical cloud forest climate.
Mark is a hydrologist and water resources engineer with a background in international development. He has worked with rural communities in Africa to help bring them potable water and sanitation infrastructure. Before their last stint in the US, Mark and Bobby lived in South Africa for three years, where Sage was born. Mark was a technical advisor for infrastructure projects in Southern Africa for a British organization called WaterAid. He is impressed by the Costa Rican government’s water resources protection laws and initiatives. Mark also loves to build and work with his hands and developed a handyman business while in the US. The family is looking forward to meeting more people and integrating with this wonderful community.
Journeying toward a New Life
By Tim Lietzke
It’s been more than two and a half years since I began my search for a place in
the U.S. where I could live in community and lead a flourishing life. I am seeking more of a family environment than what I have had here, a place where I could have daily conversations with the people with whom I would be sharing my life; some, if not all, meals shared; and service work for a more peaceful and just world—to mention just a few of my needs. As I came to realize that missing a family living situation and not feeling much enthusiasm for any project I could conceive of here, I had to face the fact that Monteverde had come to feel very provincial for me. I was no longer content.
During the search process, I fluctuated between elation when I received
positive responses and discouragement when what appeared to be a
promising situation turned out to not have room for me. Even initially positive
responses became, in time, “no room available, after all.” More recently, I have
discerned the Spirit’s working, oh so slowly, to heal my psychological and
physical wounds, inner and outer, and lead me to where I am now—leaving Costa
Rica and going to live in an intentional community in the U.S.
Before I elaborate a little on the Spirit’s working, I want to tell you where I’m
going. It’s an intentional community called St Francis House in New London, CT.
It’s an ecumenical Christian community with a small community garden, a library
such as what MFM has that serves the larger community, common spaces, and, of
course, personal rooms. St Francis House established a food co-op that is now
independent, located across the street (or around the corner), more convenient even than Whole Foods here. There is a community garden movement called FRESH that has gardens throughout the city and identifies its goal as “community and youth empowerment.” The nearest garden is within eyesight of St. Francis House. The St. Francis House person with whom I have been corresponding sent me a photo of a group of youth, mostly black and Latino, kindly waving their greetings and welcoming to me. Again, very convenient for my involvement. Within the St. Francis House community there is daily prayer, two daily meals taken with the other members, biweekly Clarification of Thought round-table discussions open to the public, community business meetings, of course, and peace vigiling. The infamous Groton submarine base is just across the river from New London, so there is no dearth of conversation and service opportunities. Attached to the house is the so-called hermitage where I will live for the first month while I discern if indeed I want to be a long-term member of the community, and while they, in turn, will discern whether they think I fit into their community. I hope we both find that confirmation.
Looking back on these last years, I realize that perhaps I needed time for that
inward and outward healing—not that I’m finished and or that I ever will be
completely, but I have made a lot of progress. I’m thankful, in retrospect, for the
time and circumstances that enabled that process to proceed. While most of the
places to which I made inquiries may have been ones where I could have lived, I
may not have flourished, in which case it is best that the way did not open for me
to live there. In each case, I felt I needed to keep seeking and knocking on doors,
while remaining patient and unattached to specific results, often not easy for me,
until the way did open.
My sense is that the Spirit leads me only to choices that would be good for me.
If my choice would not have been the best for me, the Spirit will not do any
knocking along with me. If the choice is a good one, the Spirit will “knock” on the
hearts of those within while I am knocking on the door. If those within are
receptive to the appeal of the Spirit, the way will open. I don’t know if that is what
happened with the St. Francis House community, but I feel that something along
those lines did occur. I am trying to express in biblical imagery what I believe
happens when “way opens,” as our Quaker cliche tries to express it. This is
perhaps a quaint and simplistic way of expressing what I feel has happened for me.
If you have another way to describe it, I would most certainly welcome your
thoughts. Meanwhile, the journey continues. If St. Francis House is only an interim
stop, something still better will open.
“We Cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.”Fr. Richard Rohr
The Path Within: Experiencing Spirit through Divine Guidance
By Kris Fleming
The journey of life is marked by instances that leave a lasting impact on one’s conscience—indeed, destined times that contain a guiding light hidden within. Perhaps these gifts are given to us by our angels, or perhaps we perceive them as our “higher selves” offering needed direction. No matter how one might try to describe the unexplainable, the way we experience the Spirit in our lives can be in a multitude of ways.
These often subtle and sometimes undeniable happenings can appear to us through any one of our senses. Perhaps it is an inner feeling, like a sensation running throughout our body, or maybe it is a sudden thought that seems quite unique when compared to the ramblings of our busy minds. Sometimes it can be a sound or a distinct voice that speaks to us in our hearts, or a dream that has brings absolute clarity into a difficult life situation. And never discount a synchronistic event or happenstance that might offer a momentary recognition that something greater is at work around us.
Reflecting on my life journey, a number of events stand out that I consider to be evidence of divine guidance. These situations have pointed the way or offered me insight into something bigger than myself. Strangely enough, it was during my adolescence that I first experienced a guiding light, or Spirit—an occurrence I deem to be the beginning of my spiritual journey. It happened at a place in time when I was far from considering such themes as important.
In my teens, I took enormous pleasure in taking risks. Risky should have been my middle name, as I was fond of flying through the air on my dirt bike, jumping into water from high cliffs, or, perhaps, taking a “trip” on this or that forbidden substance. Inevitably, the day came when my luck ran out. It was days before my eighteenth birthday (which was lucky, as I was still a minor) when I was sentenced in court for being in possession of a friendly seven-pointed leaf. I feared what the future might hold, and, if I was sentenced harshly, how it would impact my hopes of attending college, so, I hired a paralegal to represent me on my day in court. The paralegal invited my father and me to her home to discuss the proceedings and it turned into an emotional afternoon. You see, the paralegal was a devout believer in God and what she offered in the form of counsel was a bridge between my father’s heart and mine. But what stood out the most was when she turned to me in response to a demand from my father and assured me that “it is okay to be utterly selfish.” What I heard in those words was something I had never heard before. They spoke directly to my heart. In that moment, I had a profound experience of hearing Spirit through other. They were words that became my guiding light as I began to realize what I desired out of life: to travel and experience the world. They helped me to let go of the expectation to live a highly structured life—go to school, get a high-paying job, buy a home, and follow the path most traveled. Four years later, after graduating from college, those words helped me to make the decision to leave everything behind—family, friendships, a comfortable future—and to break the mold and begin the adventure of a lifetime.
My adventure began by traveling my way through Southern Europe. There were many wonderful and troubling experiences in my first years of exploring different regions and immersing myself in unknown cultures. I was lost within myself on many occasions only to rediscover a sense of unity in the most powerful places that I have visited on earth. After several similar experiences, I began to identify what I would call an overwhelming presence that would take hold of me. The impact of such moments was enthralling as I felt an interconnectedness with my environment that I had never experienced before.
One of the most memorable events occurred while I was staying in a desolate village in the Sahara Desert in the far reaches of eastern Morocco. On one fateful day before sunset, I walked into the sand dunes as red and orange hues cast across the sky. As time passed, a feeling of emptiness took hold of me and I merged into the dunes, the palms, the sky, and the setting sun. My emotional reaction to this experience took me into a state of rapture. It was in those lonely, far-away dunes that I felt one of the most powerful experiences of witnessing Spirit through nature. I left the Sahara a changed person, with a greater sense of unity between myself and the world. And although my tendency of being utterly selfish was still very much with me, this experience fundamentally shifted my worldview. It was only days later, as I was sharing my pessimism of the state of the planet, that a fellow traveler explained to me the importance of being the positive change we wish to see in the world. A deep-seated volition to serve others began to stir within me and I felt the need to give toward a cause greater than myself—as to what that cause would be, I was still unsure.
Eventually I found myself working for a ski company in the French Alps. As the season was ending, it was time to decide where I would spend the coming summer. At the time, electronic music was one of my raisons d’être, so it was fitting that my top picks were two capitals of the trade: the art-infused metropolis of Berlin or a small island in the Balearics called Ibiza, known for its hedonistic, no-holds-barred nightlife. My volition to volunteer somewhere was still simmering in my heart yet I found it most difficult to take the jump and to get on with it! I voiced my desires to my friends and colleagues and, low and behold, my inner wish was granted. First, a friend who had driven me from the UK to the French Alps had decided he was going to mountain bike in Ibiza and offered me a ride. Second, my neighbor had friends in Ibiza who had started a retreat center and suggested the possibility of me volunteering there. The decision was made: Ibiza was the destination and volunteering was the goal. It was in this moment that I experienced what I describe as Spirit through synchronicity. It was yet another turning point in my life that shifted me away from a life of consumption and pleasure-seeking and toward a life of active spiritual development through meditation, yoga, and selfless service.
During the years I lived in Ibiza, I received some of my most treasured gifts: the joys of giving, of sharing, of dancing, and of community. I experienced loss on a profound level and a feeling of letting go. I began striving toward living a moral life. I learned the importance of self-inquiry, of looking within. During a moment of uncertainty, I asked myself a question in a way I had not dared to ask before. It was during a guided meditation—and may I say, a bit far-out for my liking—in which a group of meditators were laying down within a rather large. hollow, metallic structure sort of like a geodesic dome. The guide took us through ascending spiritual dimensions (fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.) and we were asked to connect with the Spirit as we ascended to higher planes. It was then I asked my question: What is it that I truly need to be happy? The response was deafening. A clear voice spoke one word into my soul: SILENCE. This distinct and powerful message from Spirit became my guiding light for years to come.
I spent several months in relative seclusion, getting in touch with my inner self as I had not done before. I submerged myself in nature and lived in a tent in the jungle. Between moments of solitude, I volunteered on farms and helped people build their homes. I was introduced to Vipassana meditation, a silent meditation technique of self-observation, and practiced it fervently to develop my understanding. It was during this time alone that I awoke one morning remembering the most vivid of dreams. I had been on an island with many people. We were at a party, and it became apparent that there was a deluge of rain. We joyfully climbed into the trees to escape the rising waters. As we approached the treetops, we were greeted by an otherworldly spacecraft and welcomed onboard. We were taken to a pristine snow-laden valley high in the mountains. It was clear to me that this was the mighty Himalayas! I awoke from this highly unusual dream, so real and unforgettable, and felt compelled to take its direction. And so, a few months later, I boarded a flight to Nepal.
After a month-long excursion into the Himalayas, I took a twenty-four-hour bus ride I will never forget, as the wooden bench on which I sat seemingly ingrained its mark on the back of my thighs for all of eternity. It was daybreak when we arrived at Kathmandu. I got off the bus in the sacred Buddhist quarter of Boudhanath. I walked through the main gates and, for the first time, laid my eyes on the Boudhanath Stupa, a circular structure one hundred meters in diameter in which devotees circumambulate day and night, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a town square.
That moment penetrated me throughout my being, and although severely constipated, I had an experience of an overwhelming Presence like no other. My eyes filled with tears of joy as I absorbed the all-encompassing ambiance of that place in time. It was like returning Home, albeit to a place I had never been before. It is a magical place in which my eyes were opened to the meaning of Devotion. And it was in this exact place two years later that I was guided by Spirit to the moment I met my future wife, Marie.
Our first meeting was quite by chance. A common friend by the name of Coleen, whom we had met independently while traveling, insisted that we must meet each other. She tried to introduce us, but due to circumstances it was not to be. Nevertheless, she ensured we exchanged numbers in case our paths crossed again before leaving Nepal. One month later, I came out of a retreat and was set to wrap up a long trip and return to Canada to rediscover what I had left behind almost seven years before. I had twenty-four hours left in Nepal before my flight, but the thought crossed had my mind a few times during my retreat as to who this person was by the name of Marie. My curiosity got the better of me and I sent her a message, asking if she happened to still be in the city. By chance, she had just finished a thirty-day yoga teacher training and had also just arrived back in Kathmandu. We made plans to meet at a cafe near the Stupa at midafternoon. At that meeting, we shared our life experiences late into the evening and ended our night by circumambulating around the Stupa with the other Tibetan devotees. It all felt very familiar. We parted and shared a goodbye hug. As I walked away, I tuned into the waves of electricity running through my body from head to toe. It took me hours to get to sleep and only a cold shower was able to ground me back to earth! The following day, before my flight, we met again and shared our feelings for each other. It became clear that we were being guided by Spirit. I left Nepal with a subtle knowing that I had met my soulmate.
These are but a few of the precious experiences that have brought me to the realization that divine guidance is real, and that by pursuing our hearts truest desires, we enter into communion with the Spirit.
“The Way is not in the sky, the Way is in the heart.”BUddha
A Few Experiences
By a member of the Monteverde Meeting
God is with us, at all times and in all places, or rather, Spirit is the fabric of our being. It is so pervasive that we go about our daily lives without stopping to acknowledge it. Spirit is like the air that is around us and within us; only when the wind blows do we notice it. Here are a couple of times when I have felt the movement of the Spirit.
My father, a professor of astronomy, had a small telescope that he would sometimes take out to the street to show the neighborhood kids the planets and stars. I remember when I began to sense the vastness of the galaxy. It was a sense of fear, of feeling so small and insignificant. At the same time, there was a sense of awe and wonder at the logic of the universe and our ability to grasp a small part of that logic. I think that is why the ancients thought of God as being in the heavens, and what they meant by “fear of God.” George Fox urged us to tremble in the presence of God, which is the origin of the name Quakers.
Psalm 8:3–8 says:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human that you are mindful of them, mortals that you should care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.New Revised Standard Version
Albert Einstein said, “One thing that I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.” The more science I study, the more I am amazed at how our human minds mirror the logic of the universe. And yet the universe is always more subtle than our simple minds can anticipate.
Many people are bothered by the second part of Psalm 8. In the early 1970s, the early Landsat satellite photos brought home the truth of the psalm. Those photos of the earth clearly showed the impact that humans have had on the planet. The universe is vast, and we can only comprehend a small part of it, but we are an integral part of the world, and everything that we do affects the rest of creation. We have a huge responsibility. Our cleverness must be balanced by wisdom if we are to survive.
I remember a day as a teenager when I went hiking in Michigan with my brother in the Porcupine Mountains on the south side of Lake Superior. At one point, I lagged behind him and was alone in the forest. I stopped and looked around in the solitude. I saw a tiny vole rustling in the leaf litter and the thought came to me: What would it be like to be that little critter, whose entire universe is this little patch of forest? Suddenly, everything was transformed and I felt complete unity with the forest. Ego dropped away, the barrier between “me” and “the environment” melted, and all was just One.
Pregnancy and giving birth were also transformative for me—being transformed from a woman into a mother. Here is this thing in my belly that is me but also not me. My body tries to reject it and then does all it can to protect and nourish it, giving it priority over all else. When she is born and I look into her eyes, I know a love like no other. I know that I would give my life for her. God is love, and our human love is a pale reflection of the immense power of love that can move mountains.
Meeting for Worship is not usually an earth-shaking experience—although I have on occasion trembled at feeling a message to share. I have also had the experience of not sharing a message, but someone else stood and gave the same message I was feeling. When I was not been able to attend Meeting for a period, I came to realize how my life lost harmony without the practice of Meeting for Worship.
One Sunday morning during the pandemic, I received a message from my brother that there was an outbreak of COVID in the retirement center where my father lived. At that time before vaccinations were available, it was impossible for me to travel to the U.S. to see him. I was panicked. I might never see him again. He could get COVID and require hospitalization with no visitors! All these terrible possibilities started to go through my head. We decided to have a family meeting over the internet in the afternoon. That morning, I went to Meeting for Worship. Sitting there, I was able to let go of my fear of things that hadn’t happened. I was able to simply be in the present. By the end of Meeting, I felt calm. Later, when I met with my siblings, I found that they were all expressing the same fears I had felt earlier. Some said we should not allow him to leave his apartment. Then Dad came online and said that he would take his walks through the halls after the cleaning staff leave, wearing a mask and gloves. We all realized that he could make his own decisions and that he would be as careful as possible. The problem with writing is that when thoughts are put down in black and white, they seem so definitive and finished. There is no give and take. In reality, the more I write, the more comes to me. These are just a few random thoughts. This really should be a continuous conversation, not an essay.
Every Time I Feel the Spirit
By Jean Cox
How do you sense the movement of God’s Spirit? Is there something that you feel or experience? At those times I usually feel a vibration in my head and all my thoughts stop cold. Here are my experiences.
My father died young, 67, from years of alcohol abuse. His body had shriveled to nothing. The vigil was painful, so I took a break and sat in a parking lot. A brilliant sunset was bouncing color off clouds that spread across the heavens. I climbed onto the roof of my car and swiveled my head to look in all directions. I wondered if my dad would be in heaven this week. Suddenly it was as if invisible hands took my head and pointed it straight into the bright, setting sun. In my heart I heard, Your dad will be right there. What that communicated to me was that the horror of his alcoholism would be gone, and my dad would not just be in heaven, but in the immediate presence of The Light.
Sometimes I have attended charismatic churches that emphasized the gifts of the Spirit like faith healing, speaking in tongues, words of wisdom, etc. Nothing supernatural ever seemed to happen to me. Then in 2000, Tom and I attended a vibrant, charismatic church that probably began activating those gifts in me. One evening as I was leaving a restaurant, I saw a young woman in a wheelchair whose head was secured to a halo brace with long screws. She was sitting alone outside, waiting for her ride. Immediately, all my thinking shut down. It was like a gentle buzzing or vibration poured through my head, and one thought took over. This thought was, Go over and ask to lay hands on her and pray for her healing. It was the Spirit, but I completely resisted. I was so afraid that she would look at me like I was a weirdo, and at that time, I could not handle the slightest hint of rejection. Even though it was clear to me that the nudging feeling to approach the stranger was not coming from me, I still chickened out, big time.
When Tom and I were planning to move to Costa Rica, I was walking briskly past a dense growth of tall trees in our suburban Pittsburgh neighborhood and the same thing happened. Even though I was completely engrossed in my own thoughts, I felt that gentle buzzing in my head, my thoughts shut down, my legs slowed down, and my head turned inexorably toward the group of trees to my right. I felt awe and respect for those trees. Suddenly I knew…that THEY knew me. Those trees had always known me, and it felt good! So, I silently asked, “Will the trees in Costa Rica know me?” The answer was immediate: They already know. I was stunned. The trees in Costa Rica already knew me and they had known for a long time I was coming.
Since this is my experience (it happens inside of my body), I’m not plagued with doubts. I don’t doubt my sanity. I’m not frightened. On the contrary, I find myself comforted by the warm authenticity of divine presence. Honestly, only something as big as Divine Spirit can stop my spinning thoughts dead in their tracks. I usually never share these experiences, to avoid being viewed as strange. And I hope others who have their own personal experiences are encouraged to trust themselves.
“The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things,
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever.”Mary Oliver (from “One or Two Things”)
The Watercolors of Sarah Dowell
Most people who are aware of the artwork of longtime Monteverde resident and artist Sarah Dowell are most familiar with her beautiful portraits of the flora and fauna of our rainforest. But Sarah’s works also include pieces relating to social justice, the juxtaposition of technology and nature, and the devastation of the COVID pandemic. Here she shares a few of her works as evidence of ways in which we experience God’s Spirit. They feature people caring for each other by physical embrace, by reaching out to an adversary, and even by whimsically creating a community bubble of inclusion. Enjoy.
How the Spirit Teaches Me through Failure
By Edwin A. Urbina
Occasionally I ask myself, Who is the person I want to become? The subsequent question is, How do I become that person? And from there, I set out, full of conviction.
In Greek mythology we find this character Sisyphus, who was condemned by Zeus to roll a boulder all the way to the top of a mountain. But every single time Sisyphus got close to reaching the top, the boulder fell out of his hands and rolled back to the bottom. Sisyphus was condemned to going back down and repeating this same routine, over and over again. Forever.
I relate to Sisyphus. We both have failed badly in our endeavors. And I have blamed myself not once, not twice, but a million times for not being strong enough to roll my boulder up the mountain. Throughout that process, however, I have learned —or rather, I have had to learn—a few things:
The first is Humility. I have had to recognize and accept that I cannot roll the boulder to the top by myself. It is not possible. Not alone. Whenever I insist on doing it alone, I know that boulder is going to roll back down that mountain yet again. I mean, one more time at the very least. Perhaps two. Perhaps forever.
The second value I have also had to learn is Self-Compassion. It is in my nature not to be perfect. Even more, I now believe that failure, and maybe even pain, are the ways to growth. So, I have learned to be gentle with myself and to embrace them—whether or not I feel comfortable with them.
The third learning is a consequence of the first: Love. I have learned to appreciate the importance of the people who surround me. In fact, that is mostly how I experience the Spirit of God—through other people. Because when I am not able to roll the boulder on my own, those people are willing to help. They have my back. When the boulder rolls down the mountain yet again, I know that they will go back down with me and that we will lift each other up, higher and higher. I see this as a spiritual process that allows us to live life in Harmony with ourselves, with each other, and with nature.
Call Me Jetty
By Jetty Halverson
If you think you’ve had times of trial and tribulation, try going to Florida and staying with your sister and brother-in-law, both of whom are Republicans and evangelicals—not two of my favorite categories. In this environment, everyone is likely to change in some ways. Not knowing anyone else in the area, I tagged along to their two churches. The music and singing were phenomenal. I eventually got used to singing worship songs with hands stretched to the sky. I wondered, What is the hand thing about? Eventually, I settled on a song Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew to describe the meaning of raising the hands in worship. The next time it rains, no reason for a rain jacket. Go outside and throw your arms in the air. (If you’re not familiar with the song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ULisfGdc50. Another favorite song of mine is This Is Amazing Grace, by Christopher Duffley, a blind, autistic young man with perfect pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXYTHbS3-RU.)
When I was a small boy and people asked me my name, I said, “Jett” or “Jetty,” because I couldn’t pronounce the f’s. When it was time to come home, my dad went into the breezeway of our home, opened the screen door, and shouted, “Jetty, Jetty, Jetty, my boy!” I’d scamper home, calling out, “Father, Father, Father, my Pop!”
At this point in my life, I hear my heavenly Father coming to that same screen door and calling my name, “Jetty!” I don’t know what he is calling me to do but it’s not a call for dinner.
New-naming is important. Saul changed his name to Paul. Around sixty people in the Bible had their names changed. To acknowledge this spiritual awakening, I have changed my email from Tigerawake@aol to 747jetty@gmail. Some people call me Jetty. Perhaps if I hear the new name often enough, I will figure out what God is calling me to do. Or maybe it’s too late for a new path.
The second most common thing adults asked me when I was young was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer: “A ministah.” I recall saying this, but I don’t know why I said it. Maybe I was trying to please Grandma or another adult. Perhaps it was related to my new name. Or maybe it is an unfulfilled calling.