Five Senses

Under the blooming Jasmine and gardenia, I found the empty broken shell of a baby bird. Our small potted garden sits underneath the flowering bush that serves as cafeteria for goldfinches, house sparrows and cardinals. The birds happily fly in and out of the feeders hung in the bush and refresh themselves in the birdbath and water fountain a few feet away from the bush.  The delicate shell held traces of blood still fresh. Holding the shell I was captivated by the awe-inspiring lesson in my hand.

The shell of a newly hatched bird
The shell of a newly hatched bird

The shell served its purpose, when it became a hindrance to a new life, the bird began to struggle and free itself from its prison that once held life for it. The baby bird chipped away its shell and struggled out of its shell to gain freedom and life.

Beyond the greening and flowering spring offers lessons about transformation in every living thing. The lessons about life-changes are often inspire lessons about our own life events; the end of one state of being and into new emerging. Most of us are blessed with five senses. We can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Yet for Helen Keller  awareness of the awesome beauty  in every living thing did not depend on her five senses. She experienced life in an internal way. One of my favorite Helen Keller quotes, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Here, she speaks of heart vision not vision through the eyes. Her perception of beauty and understanding of life came from an internal vision. I believe if Helen Keller would have felt the egg shell she would have sensed the lesson about the true nature of life. Like the baby bird, once she learned from her teacher Anne Sullivan, who assisted her to break free of the shell she lived in up until that point in her life, a new life opened up for Helen Keller.

I wondered, holding the baby bird’s left behind home what shell holds me back from experiencing life in a new way. Slowly, I made connection. I must recognize where I am in spirit and that this is not where I want to be. Like the baby bird, “we must want to get out and must ourselves make an effort from what seems to be our own strength” (Read more on this in Emanuel Swedenborg’s Divine Providence #278.6)

Fear of the unknown or imagined can keep us trapped in our shells, though safe it is too restricted to support life. Fearful of the struggle to break free, distrustful providential care, unbelieving and distrustful of what the eye cannot see, the life of the heart and spirit is thwarted.

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Gabriella was born in Budapest Hungary. Some of her family still resides in Hungary. After escaping the Communist regime in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution, Gabriella's family settled in Cleveland OH. She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and attended college but did not earn a degree. She met her husband in Devon PA, and soon they were married and began family life in PA. Only a few years married, John and Gabriella moved to FL to be with Gabriella's aging parents. Two o their three children were born Florida. After the children began school, Gabriella volunteered in schools and libraries. Her love for swimming drew her into the world of aquatics. Part time coaching jobs evolved into career aquatic management. Her children out of the home, Gabriella worked full time as an aquatic manger, coach and swim instructor. In 2001, John and Gabriella's plans to ease into retirement in Tucson changed drastically when John suffered a heart attack in 2002. John’s amazing recovery after bypass surgery allowed Gabriella to seek a new career. It was a life changing experience for both of them. Gabriella returned to school at the University of AZ and John took over household responsibilities. A shift occurred in their lives. Gabriella felt called to become a spiritual care provider. Preparing for seminary, she chose interdisciplinary program, combining Psychology, Family and Religious Studies. She graduated with honors in 2006. Gabriella and John moved to Berkeley for her to begin seminary at the Pacific School of Religion. Gabriella was accepted on the ordination track in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Her goal was to becoming a chaplain. John's health crisis necessitated a move from Berkeley back to Tucson in 2008. Gabriella transferred to Earlham School of Religion to complete the Master’s program. In her senior year, working in required Supervised Ministry, Gabriella created a dual ministry; Circle Community, a sharing, praying and studying support group and worked as a crisis advocate in Tucson area hospitals. Most of her family was present in Cincinnati OH when Gabriella was ordained in July 2012. In July of 2011 she was ordained in the Swedeborgian Church and accepted a call to be the pastor of the New Church of Southwest FL. Soon after her ordination Gabriella accepted a call to become the pastor to the New Church of Southwest FL in 2011. John, a VA patient needed comprehensive medical care unavailable in Fort Myers. For Gabriella ministry begins at home. Once again new a health crisis changed their life. They moved back to Tucson AZ. Back in Tucson, Gabriella found ministry opportunities with Circle Community, did workshops and conducted weekly Prayer Meditations at Rincon U.C.C. She completed a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction. In mid October 2012, Gabriella began to work as a Chaplain for Harmony Hospice. The job all she had expected. She found great satisfaction working with patients and their families. Gabriella left the per diem position with Harmony for a full time job with Valor HospiceCare. Here too, she worked with grieving families, conducted grief support groups and lead Community Memorial services during the same time that her husband's health was spiraling downwards. Gabriella resigned her job to care for John in the last months of his life. John died in April 2014. Life became chaotic. An intense search a chaplain position in Tucson and other parts of the country was unsuccessful. Peers suggested Gabriella look into open churches with the Swedenborgian Church. She candidated in Kansas with two churches. She was called to pastor the Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches in July 2014. A new life began with the move to rural Kansas. In August 2014, Gabriella began to serve as the Pastor of the two churches.

One thought on “Five Senses”

  1. Hi
    Just lovely.Beautiful photos and you have a way with words.

    I’ll give you a call on Wednesday evening and if that doesn’t work we can try Thursday afternoon.

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