Drinking the Same Holy Spirit

“There is no separation, no conflict, no obstruction between the world and the Divine. All that exists is penetrated with divinity. Creation, matter, our bodies — everything is a vast incarnation or manifestation of Real Presence”. – Sue Monk Kidd

Meditations in Motion

My dog Benji and I were walking down our street one day last week, heading for home. Ahead of us, I saw what I hoped was a pile of leaves in the middle of the road. As I approached, I realized the leaves were actually a bird, a gray catbird lying prostrate and, I assumed, dead on the pavement.

I stopped to take a closer look at the dead catbird and he blinked. I did a double-take. Did he really blink or was that just wishful thinking on my part? As I continued to watch, he blinked again. He was alive, but barely.

His second blink startled me into action. Benji and I ran home, where I got a box, some clean rags, and my work gloves.

I dashed back to the catbird, pulling on my work gloves. Gently, I picked him up and examined him. There were no obvious injuries, but the bird was certainly in very bad shape.

I cautiously placed him on a bed of rags in the shoebox. If he was going to die, I reasoned, I could at least give him a more comfortable resting place than the hot macadam.

I carried him home and gave him a few drops of water, then placed him in the shade. The next time I checked on him, he was dead.

Meditations in Motion

Sadly, I returned his body to the woods.

The whole incident reminded me of the time I saw a bird die in mid-flight.

I was walking in the woods, looking for birds. A wood thrush flew from the trees on the right side of the trail toward the left side. He never made it. At almost exactly the mid-point of his intended flight, he suddenly dropped out of the air. By the time he landed on the path, he was dead.

I used to be better at seeing things in the air, the insects, birds and dust motes between my eyes and something more substantial, say a maple tree. Now I am more likely to see only the tree and look past everything else.

I miss this ability, mourning all the grasshoppers, dragonflies, and ladybugs I no longer see without a conscious effort.  The tiny gnats, fruit flies, and mites who escape my glance are also a source of regret.

Soot, dust and smoke particles in the air are too small to see individually; we see them only in the aggregate. The same for water droplets.

Oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide molecules, and argon atoms are there too, but cannot be seen even with a powerful microscope.

The point is, between me and the maple tree 10 feet away, there exists a lot of matter I don’t see. To me, it looks like a whole lot of nothing.

Meditations in Motion

This “nothing” fills the distance between me and the trunk, then packs the gaps between branches and splits the lobes of the leaves on the maple tree. It is then shot through with light, lambent and buzzing with energy.

Around the imperceptible atoms that make up this “nothing“, electrons are zipping at unimaginably high speeds. At the heart of the atoms, quarks, charmed and strange, move at similar velocities.

The more we learn about these minuscule particles, the more they seem as ephemeral as sunlight. They are composed of energy at their core. There is no “there” there.

The distinction between matter and energy was forever shattered by the French physicist Louis de Broglie, when, over 100 years ago, he postulated that all matter, everything we think of as solid, something with substance and heft, has energy-like properties.

We humans love to categorize. It has served us well, evolutionarily speaking, to put boundaries around concepts- matter on one side of the fence, energy on the other; male and female; black and white; the sacred and the mundane.

The problem is these human-made boundaries are fallible. They often don’t represent reality. We erect solid barriers where no barrier actually exists, or if it does exist, is permeable.

What if there were no barrier between the holy and the secular? How would that change the way we lived our lives? What if every gray catbird, every maple tree, every grasshopper and fruit fly and gnat were made up of the same divine energy? What if every speck of dust in the air, every oxygen molecule, argon atom, and quark were moved by the same numinous power? Would we see things differently?

Meditations in MotionWhat if all of us, the misfits, the drunks, the homeless people, the prostitutes, the gay kids too scared to tell their parents, the refugees struggling to find freedom, the unwashed children in detention centers sleeping on concrete floors, the dreamers, the vulnerable, the forgotten, the bullied, the marginalized, all of us were animated by the same divine fire?

We are.

We are. Everything, every thing, the chlorophyll molecules in the maple tree’s leaves, the chitin covering the grasshopper, the hemoglobin coursing through the gray catbird’s veins, and every atom that makes up every cell of your body is made of infinitesimally small particles which behave like sunbeams, like a consecrated inferno, exploding with holy power.

The ordinary is imbued with the sacred.

The next time I see the light in another’s eyes I will remember this: I am looking at the light from the Holy Spirit. When I meet people who do not look like me, or prepare food the same way I do, or pray to the same God as me, I will think: Divine Energy. When I see the drug-addicted, the mentally ill, the downtrodden, the frightened, those individuals who have been left behind, left out, and trampled, I will recall: Sacred Force.

We are all made up of the same thing at our core.

“We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 1 Corinthians 12:13


I am linking up with Amy at Live Life Well, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Purposeful Faith for RaRa, Anchored Abode for Anchored Truth Tuesdays, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements, and Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire.
















  1. What a beautifully written post. Whereas I am not taken with any one religion, I do agree that every living thing is precious and should be treated as such. I wish there were more people in this world who were driven by showing kindness towards every living thing rather than greed. I enjoyed your post. Thank you for writing it and bless you for caring for the bird. #pocolo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read Gerard Manley Hopkins many years ago and really enjoyed his poetry. I will have to look him up again. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂


  2. oh that poor catbird, at least you did all you could to try and save him and he died in a safe comfortable place. I can see how the experience made you think so deeply about life and all that you can’t see that is all one, nothing exists without the other. A very thought inspiring post. Thank you for sharing with #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, I feel the same way about yours. I always look forward to reading your weekly posts. They make me smile, make me cry, and I learn something from each one. Thank you!


  3. Ah, that made me sad about the catbird Laurie. Also sad to hear the wood thrush that never made it across to the other tree. Several years ago I wrote a post about going outside and hearing a horrible screeching noise high above my head. I looked up and saw a larger bird in pursuit of a medium-sized bird – I could do nothing to help its dilemma, so I fixed my eyes on the sidewalk and then the screeching noise stopped. The noise stuck with me as I imagined myself in the bird’s place, knowing my fate. I was walking home awhile later and saw a huge bird perched on a telephone pole. I mentioned that bird and what I heard/saw to a neighbor who was out walking his dog. He identified it as a Peregrine Falcon and said “you don’t notice any more pigeons around anymore do you – thank that big bird up there.” Yes, pigeons are dirty sometimes, they congregate at bird feeders and are like doves, ground feeders, but that doesn’t make them lesser beings to be “taken out” by the falcon. I didn’t agree with his circle of life theory, but I am a bleeding heart. The pursuit of the bird haunted me for a long time – I was sorry I witnessed it with my eyes and ears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have mixed feelings about witnessing a hawk taking a smaller bird, Linda. It’s sad for the songbird, but good for the hawk. Too many misses for the hawk or falcon and he will starve. The falcon may have been feeding babies back at his nest too. You never know!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I struggle with the circle of life sometimes Laurie. I have angst when I see Cooper’s Hawks circling over the Park, especially when I haven’t seen Parker in a few weeks. You are right of course – everyone must eat or starve to death. But that shrieking sound just stayed with me for a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is tough, especially when you have a relationship (like you do) with the prey. I have been following a peregrine falcon camera that they have locally. It is trained on a falcon nest. You can watch the babies fledge each year and watch the parents as they feed them. It makes me a little bit more sympathetic to the predators.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I almost saw Stubby scooped up, seconds after I fed him – I’d have been horrified. Shortly afterward, on our City’s Facebook forum for residents, I learned that there were Cooper’s Hawks in the neighborhoods and people saw the nests, and described how the parents were teaching the fledglings to hunt mice, small birds and other small animals. Made me feel sick. This Park is right in the middle of the City across from a residential neighborhood.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I should not have gotten close to them to be honest because I am such a bleeding heart and this is the reason I won’t get any more pets. I am hoping Parker is just in a neighborhood, though the nearby neighborhood is quite torn up now – we have construction everywhere you look, so he might not be there either. I’m hoping he turns up eventually. As to Stubby, yes I would have been upset, but I think he has nine lives, like a cat. His tail is growing in a little, yet it white on the end, much like a person who goes through trauma or illness will go prematurely gray. I took some photos the other day to see if I could capture it to mention it in a post. I am behind in posting and getting all my pictures together from the weather, my finger and having to work later than usual sometimes as we are so busy. Plus the computer meltdown the other day. I’d rather stay a little later at night than get to work earlier and miss my walk as I prefer mornings to walk.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We have construction everywhere around here too. I hope Parker shows up soon so you can stop worrying. Maybe he is just laying low to stay out of the heat. I prefer morning runs too. By evening, I am tired and there are too many possible distractions and/or interruptions.

        I was wondering if your finger slowed you down at all, Linda. I hope it is healing up for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is looking much better Laurie – I had an issue with the garage door (gap and not closing – had them in yesterday afternoon). The owner showed up this time, not his son and showed himn my finger – it has just a small bruise on the nail, under the nail, and he looked at it and said “you know you are lucky don’t you?” I saw no squirrels yesterday, park or otherwise, crossing fingers I see them when I go this morning … leaving shortly, I had no internet this morning and trying to catch up here.,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those garage door springs can be deadly! Our weather is cooler today and I saw 2 squirrels as I walked Benji around the block today after not seeing any for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, they are and now I’m really apprehensive about using it after he said it should be electrically, not manually operated! I’m glad you saw more squirrels – I saw several as I just mentioned in the other post. Since it was so nice yesterday I think that they might have been recovering from the heat wave and reluctant to climb down the tree.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for bringing the spiritual and the scientific together in this celebration of life.
    I once saw a bird fall dead from a power line to the ground, and it has marked me in some way that I can’t even name. Their little bodies are so light and momentary, and we imagine that ours are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think bringing the scientific and the spiritual together is often my natural inclination. Your memory of the bird falling from the power line must have been meaningful if you remember it still. We do imagine our bodies as lasting and having heft. What a good reminder that they are temporary, while our souls are eternal.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Woooooah. This post absolutely struck me with its beauty and has given me plenty to contemplate. I’m so glad that you were able to ease that poor bird’s suffering in its final moments. x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie, thank you for this beautifully written reminder. We are all made in His image— all of us, the misfits, the drunks, the homeless people, the prostitutes, the gay kids too scared to tell their parents, the refugees struggling to find freedom, the unwashed children in detention centers sleeping on concrete floors, the dreamers, the vulnerable, the forgotten, the bullied, the marginalized, the drug-addicted, the mentally ill, the downtrodden, the frightened, those individuals who have been left behind, left out, and trampled, all of us the image of God.

    “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good blog.

    Once my little brother and I found an injured seagull in our meadow. Unfortunately he died too, our bird. We mourned as children. Oh that poor bird, who died so far from the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

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