My distant cousin lost one of her grandchildren this past weekend. Twenty-two years old, she died in bed, an unknown heart condition taking her without warning. Whether such loss is responsible for my present thoughts, I know not, but I wrote in some blank space at the end of the sixth chapter of Thomas Merton’s book: Soul – that part of “me” yet within an “embryo”, still being developed for whatever state of being is to be birthed after this existence as I have experienced it. Such image is nothing original. Others have suggested death to be nothing more, nothing less. It is that “life”, though, that holds my interest at the moment, the idea that each of us, in reality, is no more than a seed, the continued produce of that which was sown in the beginning by a divine Gardener. All of us are individual, genetics and circumstances, the journey, itself, shaping us as we go, changing us, not just on the outside, but inwardly as well. The above Bible verse is declared by Jesus as the first commandment and whether the positioning of His words, “soul” being set between “heart” and “mind” has any significance is, no doubt, debatable. This much, though, is at least worthy of consideration. The first is an emotional conscience held by that inner person, part of its person-ality, feelings born out of wounds encountered, love received. The second, as I see it, is a mentality we refer to as spirit, thinking centered on information gathered, but nonetheless nothing more than an extension of a working process, again, that inner person utilizing the brain. Deep stuff for sure. Too much to squeeze into a couple of sentences and surely more than this old man has conquered to any great degree. Interesting, however, that the fourth element is injected into the picture, placed there at the end as if necessary for any success to be known in our attempt to fulfill that which has been assigned unto us. It’s as if God is warning us the task is to be taken seriously, indeed our need of Him vital in facing what’s ahead; and yet what immediately follows is a prescription for us to find horizontal flow as a “pick-me-up” for vertical connection. The other guy is struggling, too. The mystery is no less where he sits. Together, we’ll get through this…….