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Sheltered Reflections #6

By Maureen Kalbus

Sheltering at home, the risks we take are fewer than when we are openly embracing life, with the freedom to choose the direction we are taking, and the roads to take. We are assiduously taking precautions to avoid physical contacts and health risks.

Last week, celebrating our anniversary, Ralph and I did take a risk, by leaving the sanctuary and safety of our home, driving down to Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula, and staying for a few days. It was a calculated risk, as we knew that the inn where we were staying, the golf club and restaurants to which we were spending time, had been thoroughly sanitized and were abiding by strict rules. Knowing all meals would be served outside, we armed ourselves with layers of clothing, and were comfortable. We were warned that the local authority gave instant $100 fines to those not wearing masks completely over their noses and mouths. Our change of scene refreshed us: enjoying the ambiance of the Victorian town; and seeing dozens of seals basking on the beach beside Monterey; families of deer peacefully wandering the golf course, oblivious of the flying golf balls; persistent waves cascading over the fragmented coastal rocks; flocks of varieties of birds noisily occupying small islands and ledges along Carmel’s spectacular 17 Mile Drive; tree lined groves…Just lovely, and refreshing.

Reflecting on my life, as I have done many times since early February, I realize I have been a risk taker. I am excited venturing on roads less traveled; starting up activities for students and adults, and associations that hadn’t existed; traveling the world to unusual destinations; leaving my homeland, and setting up homes on two continents where I hadn’t known anyone. I have found it exciting and energizing to step outside my comfort zone, challenging myself, and it has been rewarding when the risk has been realized. Ralph and I once shared the marvelous experience of climbing up and over Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, and down the other side: exhilarating! This coming weekend, friends from church and I are launching a virtual Women’s Gathering, giving participants the opportunity of linking together for discussion, exercise, music, spiritual practices, creative activity and fun. Forty-one women, locally, nationally and internationally have signed up! The team is excited! With any risks, is the possibility that things may go awry, and many times in my life, I’ve paid the penalty. However, I have learnt from mistakes I made, and I feel, have grown because of them. Growing in faith, I also came to the realization that I wasn’t alone as I journeyed: there was a spiritual presence with me.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

Living a life of faith requires taking risks, because we can’t see what lies ahead.

“Risk” [ Author Unknown ] To laugh, is to risk appearing the fool. To weep, is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another, is to risk involvement. To expose feelings, is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd, is to risk their loss. To love, is to risk not being loved in return. To live, is to risk dying. To hope, is to risk despair. To try, is to risk failure. But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life, is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing,.. They may avoid suffering and sorrow But they cannot learn, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave; They have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is free.

What major risks have you taken in your life? How did they work out? How have you coped when things didn’t go according to plan? Have you felt spiritually supported?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 “I will both guide and instruct you.” Psalm 32:8 “I can do everything through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 “Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” Psalm 63:7,8

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate: “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me. Christ beside me, Christ to win me. Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me. Christ in quiet, Christ in danger. Christ in hearts of all that love me. Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

Stay safe and hunkered down, not taking any health risks, but considering what you might embrace, once we are free to embark on the new normal,

Maureen Kalbus

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