Late afternoon in November is one of my favorite times of the year, especially in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I was making my retreat at Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia, Colorado. I was sitting by the little stream running through the property, flowing from the statue of the Sacred Heart, “From His Heart shall flow streams of living water.”
A golden glow covered the mountains and trees. I heard a rustle in the trees behind me. I turned and a deer came out of the bushes, looked cautiously at me and went to the stream to drink. I sat very still. Soon another deer came out of the bushes on the other side of the stream and came to drink. And then the most beautiful thing happened. They crossed the stream toward one another and kissed.
I couldn’t move. I felt I was witnessing a wonder and that God was giving me a glimpse of how the world was meant to be, how God created it to be, to cross streams, to reach across to one another, to bridge our differences, to share our streams, our tenderness, our compassion, our kindness, to greet one another with a holy kiss.
Love and kindness now meet,
justice and peace shall kiss,
kindness reaches up from the earth
and justice leans down from heaven.
Those two deer, an unexpected gift from the trees, beside the stream, have been a symbol of compassion to me, reminding me that I, too, am invited daily to spread this kind of gentleness and kindness each and every day, many times a day. I had my camera with me and captured that moment on film as well as in my heart, lest I forget what they taught me that day by the stream in late November.
As John Muir, a naturalist, wrote many years ago, “No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temple.”
Reflection: Shirley Miller, RSCJ
Image: photo by Shirley Miller, RSCJ