The large barred owl perched asleep in the broken core of an old oak tree, twenty feet up, and forty feet out from my study window. Occasionally opening his eyes and peeking at me, he was there for a long time before I recognized him as something more than an odd colored hunk of wood. Surrounded by the open hollow log of the tree, with a clear V-notch for entry and exit, he sat on a high secure throne for hours, almost motionless. Imperturbable. Wise. Patient. Serene. Watching the owl, one can see why people have assigned these attributes to him.

How can a person reach such a position of self-possession and peace? One must carefully choose the surroundings. I will surround myself with spiritual walls as strong and sturdy as oak, yet where I can see a great distance, where no one can threaten and yet all can reach with perseverance and trust, where the sun can shine on my face and bathe my body in warmth even in the wintertime, where I can look steadily into the eyes of any intruder yet feel unafraid. From there I survey the whole forest and know my little place in it and be content.

I hear the words of conviction matching my admiration for the owl in these moments of observation. So quiet and still in the midst of the place where everything moves and changes. So open and yet so secure. God provides. From such a place we will finally spread our wings and soar.

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