…Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor. -Isaiah 26:4-6
One of my favorite TV programs which ran during the late 1960’s was “Green Acres” starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. It was about a couple who move from New York City to the rural countryside. The opening scenes, flash between Oliver played by Eddie Albert in his suit and tie behind a plow, working his fields, and Lisa, Eva Gabor singing the praises of city life in their luxury Park Avenue apartment. They both end up on the farm and the struggle rages on in each of the episodes.
My great, great grandfather coming from Ireland, a land that couldn’t support him and his family, settled in Illinois, about forty miles west of Chicago in a town called Gilberts and worked as a milk farmer, daily bringing the milk from his cows and land to a railroad stop along the nearby Fox River. There he loaded the gifts of mother earth onto the relatively new, technology, the railroad which carried it into Chicago where it provided nourishment to some of the nearly one million people already living the city of Chicago.
Today as I look around the city where I live, the home of the skyscraper, I am humbled by the wonders of the architectural marvels and the abundance surrounding me. I also often struggle with the same desire so well expressed by Lisa and Oliver above, a yearning for the realness of nature found in the country. I wonder what, if any, role I have to play in this creation or if it’s all beyond me, and I should just drop out. Maybe those children of the ’60s had the right idea.
God, help me recognize You in this world around me. Help me see the gifts you’ve bestowed upon us, are gifts for all of us, not just a few who claim ownership. If we are not all winners, as my father used to say, we are all losers.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.