The Magic Barn: Spirituality and Nature

Here I go again. A friend called me to his home to lecture me about giving things away for free. He correctly pointed out that I am relatively poor (“poor” is always a relative term.) I promised him that I would try to reform and sell stuff, so here is my happy compromise: I am giving away one chapter from my book, The Magic Barn, volume two AND providing a link if you want to order it.

Of course, if you read the blog enough, you will have read the whole thing for free and somehow, that makes me happy, which is no doubt WHY I am relatively poor, yet happy.


Waterfall Painting by Je' Czaja
Painting by Je’ Czaja

Though we were Catholic, as a kid I was sort of a pagan. I figured if God was everywhere, he was under the big beautiful maple tree in Uncle Linus’ hay field that stood all by itself and whispered as you walked past, “Come and rest in my shade for awhile.” And I could feel God by the waterfall deep in the woods, where the rays of sunlight slanted through the pines and struck the wet stones and made them sparkle.

Until I actually thought about it, I said the night time prayer I had been taught: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake…” Wait a minute, is that a possibility? I could die before I wake? How would that happen exactly?

There IS a monster under the bed! I knew it!

I made up my own prayer: “God bless everybody and I expect to wake up alive in the morning. Amen.”

One afternoon the whole gang was swimming when a big thunderstorm rolled in. We knew enough to get out of the water, but stood on the lawn watching the lightening striking trees all around. Some of the gang chickened out and ran, appropriately, into the chicken coop. Only the bravest kids remained.

But there is a difference between brave and stupid and my cousin was about to cross that line. “Maybe we should go inside,” one of the brave kids said as a bolt of lightening struck close by. “Oh yeah? Watch this,” my cousin said,” grabbing a long metal pole and running into the middle of the cow pasture where he stood, defiantly pointing it toward the sky. (Safety tip: Many impending disasters start out, “Oh yeah? Watch this.”)

“Hey God,” he yelled, “If you’re up there, kill me!” We brave kids looked at each other in horror and without a word spun around and ran, we fervently hoped, faster than lightening. It’s not that I thought God would kill my cousin. I kind of thought God might roll his eyes and say, “Kids!”

But I did think holding up a metal pipe in a thunderstorm was a very bad idea. My cousin lived, of course, to do yet more stupid things.

Faster than Lightning painting by Je' Czaja
Faster than Lightning
painting by Je’ Czaja

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