The Holy Work

Once upon a
time the Moon cast a radiant smile upon the night.  Through the web of trees her attention was
drawn to an old man sitting alone on a tree stump in his backward.

thought the Moon, “It’s three-thirty in the morning.  Why is he up?”

The Moon
gently reached down and explored the old man’s soul, for that is one of the Moon’s
main jobs you know.  With loving fingers
that dripped with compassion she found what she was looking for—a wound. 

When she
found the tender place, she drew herself up, and summoned the notes to her song.  They gathered around her, awaiting her

“I have
found a little kingdom, war-torn and ragged; let us begin our holy work.”

And she
started to sing.  The notes of her
song—silvery, luminous, and blossoming, wove their way through the stars, gathering
light as they descended.  They rivered through
the trees, gathering dew as they went, and eventually sifted their way into the
old man’s soul, like fireflies illuminating the darkness.

The old man
suddenly found himself rocking like a little boy, his arms clasped around his
knees.  He missed her so.  And as his soul began resonating with the
glowing thrum of the Moon’s song, tears formed in his eyes.  They rose from the springs hidden in the dark
soil of his grief.  They welled up, like
waves to touch the shores of his suffering. 
They were drawn upwards, like water from the earth to nourish the roots
of the cherry blossoms.  And he
wept.  Flooded with tears he wept, mouth
open, heart open, wound open, he wept.  He
looked to the sky.  The Moon smiled her
smile of deepest tenderness. Her notes whirled around and within him filling
him with light and healing dew.

And then the
Moon gave her silent whistle and called the old man’s dog to his side.  It obeyed, quietly padding its way to where
the old man sat. 

“Oh, go back
to sleep,” wept the old man tousling the top of the dog’s head.  “I’m OK. 
I just miss her so much.”  And
then the tears overtook him again and he rocked some more to the Moon’s
shimmering music.

And the dog,
hearing her music, wagged its tail.  It
lifted a paw onto the old man’s knee. 
The old man scratched the dog behind its ears.  They sat this way for a long time, the old
man, the Moon, and his dog.

Then something
caught the dog’s attention.  It tilted
his head and began to bark.  It turned
away and ran towards the field, stopping and staring into the night.  It trotted back barking at the old man.

“What is it
girl?” asked the old man sniffling. 
“What’s out there?”

The dog
barked again running back and forth between the old man and the edge of the
Moon-lit field.

“I’m tired,”
said the old man, “it’s too late for a walk.” 

That’s when
he saw her. 

by a gently pulsing orb of light—she stood in the field–watching him.

He gasped
and clutched his chest.  His world
toppled like a bowl from a shelf. He stood and without realizing it began to

Yes, she was
there.  As the old man neared, calling
her name, she lifted her arms clad in robes of light.  She was smiling as he fell into her waiting
embrace.  His heart broke open with tears
and his wailing cries of relief and rejoicing filled the night sky.

And the
Moon, weeping herself, called the angels around her.

“It’s time,”
she said, “prepare the welcoming feast.”

And with
that, she pulled a thin veil over her face and turned slowly away to give the
old man and his dear wife some tender time alone.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

On Doing What You Love, A Short Story About Dung Beetles

“Is it round
enough yet?” Donker asked, patting here, patting there.

“Not yet,”
Drina said, working feverishly, pushing in a little clump.

“How ‘bout
now?” he asked, tucking in a loose fiber.

It was a
moment before Drina answered as she rounded the ball, inspecting it carefully.

“It’s a go,”
she yelled, “Let’s roll before we’re hijacked!”

“Hold on
tight!” Donker shouted, “Woo-whoo!”  Donker
dug his powerful front claws into the dry, African ground and shoved off.  It was an excellent push, propelling them
forward with ease.  Tumbling over and
over Drina laughed as if on a theme park ride. 
Every few feet Donker would stop rolling, climb on top, get his bearings
and check out the road ahead and then leap back down and shove off again. 

“We got a
great ball here!” Drina shouted at Donker, whom she could not see as she rolled.

“Yes, it
should make a fine place for you to lay your eggs!” yelled Dunker, a bit out of
breath from pushing the ball of dung that was twenty times his weight.

“Is this
good?” he asked leaping atop the ball and surveying the area.

“It’s nice,”
she said, “thank you.”

for you, my love,” and immediately he started digging and burying the perfectly
round ball of dung.

A few feet
away, a grumpy water buffalo named Haji watched the two dung beetles burying
their ball of dung.

“Don’t you
ever tire of pushing poop around?” he called with his mouth full of cud.

And without
so much as looking up from his work, Donker answered, “Why would we?”

pushing poop.” Haji said.

“So what?”

“It’s poop.”


“My point is
you’re pushing poop,” said Haji getting annoyed at not being able to annoy
Donker and Drina, “That’s not exactly dignified work.”

“We each
have our calling,” said Drina, busily preparing the burrow.

“So your
calling is to gather poop up into balls, roll it across the savannah, bury it,
and then lay eggs in it?” scoffed Haji.

“We mate in
it too,” smiled Donker.

“Oh brother,”
said Haji, flicking his tail.  “Don’t you
get tired?”

“Of mating?”

“No,” said
Haji spitting out some cud, “of pushing poop!”

“Of course
we get tired sometimes, we’re only beetles. 
I mean, we’re quite strong, but we’re not immune to getting tired,” said

“I don’t
mean the physical labor part of your poop pushing, I mean the doing the same
thing every day-part…the day in day out of poop-pushing…You know, the same old
same old.”

“Oh that,”
said Donker, “then no.  I never tire of
doing what I love.”

“How can you
love pushing poop?”

“How can you
love chewing cud?”

“I’m just
saying,” said Haji defensively, “that pushing balls of poop around seems so…so…boring…not
to mention disgusting.”

“How long
have you been regurgitating that mouthful of cud?” Donker asked.

“Six hours,”
mumbled Haji.

“Aren’t you

“Yes, that’s
why I’m talking with you.  I hate chewing
cud all day.”

“That’s too
bad,” said Donker, “we’d only get bored if we didn’t love ourselves and our

“Oh isn’t
that cute?  You’re holy roller-philosophers
now who are going to give me a motivational speech about loving myself.”

“No,” added
Drina, “It’s just that if you loved yourself and the work you do, it wouldn’t
get boring.”

“Yeah, well
what if you hated your work and didn’t much like yourself either?”

“Then your
calling would become drudgery.  It would
become a dead end.  A job you hate.  Something to retire from.  Something to resent.  Eventually you would die a poor, bitter

“So what do
I do?”

“Learn to
love yourself,” said Donker.


“Only if you
make it so,” added Drina as she sank further beneath the ball of dung into the

“But how do
I do that?”

“One thing
you could do is to learn to love what’s in front of you,” she said, “make it
holy.  Make it wonderful.  Make everything you do a vocation—an
expression of you.”

“But I hate
my job of chewing cud!” Haji bellowed. 

“I’m so
sorry,” called Drina who was now nestled completely underground.  Donker was right behind her.  As he sank beneath the ground, he sealed off
the tunnel to their chamber.

“Well, my new
calling is to stomp on beetles,” said Haji as he lifted his front hoof.

But his
words and hoof fell on motionless ground, for Donker and Drina were safely
below in their cozy burrow, snuggled down for a bit of fragrant romancing.









Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Musings on the Mystery, in Two Parts

I. The

I have been
following the Mystery for years.  Every
now and again I catch a glimpse of it in unexpected places: the patterns of
roots spreading through the ground, the swirl of milk in a cup of coffee.  Of course I discern the Mystery in the places
one would figure it resides: your eyes, for example, reflect luminous aspects
of the Mystery; the faces of the flowers nodding as you pass, reveal the
reverence the Mystery feels for all things; and the voices of children singing
rings out the Mystery clearer perhaps than anything else—for me, that is. 

There have
been however, exquisitely surprising and terrible moments when the Mystery sneaks
up on me when I least expect it and blankets me with wonder.  Exquisite because the warmth of being held in
the Mystery is like being surrounded by the softest glow of the kindest hands;
terrible because the light it brings exposes my frailties and my hypocrisies
and I am forced to rethink, relive, and once again, allow myself to be reborn,
which is rarely easy. 

The Mystery
also swathes me in darkness.  When I am
open, the Mystery descends (or rises, depending on where it is traveling from)
and surrounds me like a moon-lit night, where the darkness is deep, yet tinged silver
with the light of the moon and the encouraging faces of the stars.  It is then, when I am able to sink into the
mystery and let it enfold me.  And I
needn’t worry about the opinions of others. 
I can just be myself. 

Some would
say this vision stems from a mother-hunger, a yearning to return to the womb,
and I wouldn’t argue.  The Mystery is the
Divine Mother—Mother Nature, Mother Moon, Mother of God, Mother Lakshmi, Mother
Ocean, Mother of All Flowers and Wings. 
And so the Mystery seeks to enshroud me with soul-nourishing darkness,
not to smother or possess me, but to set me free—to allow me to be born into the
freedom that the owl enjoys, that the manta ray enjoys,
that the tiger enjoys, that the frog enjoys—the
Mystery wants me drenched with bliss, like morning grass kissed with dew.  It wants me cleansed of all fear and rage and
prejudices.  It wants me free to explore
the dark waters that it pours unceasingly and graciously into my being—for many
gifts and provisions are gathered in the folds of these night waters.

And yes, the
Mystery is the Father of Light.  It
radiates the dawn when I am most lost and unsure of myself.  It ignites fires in my mind and heart and
stories flood across the page.  The
Father-hunger that rumbles through my insides is also filled by the Mystery.  For the Mystery is Father Sky, Father Sun,
Father God, Father Mountain, Father Buffalo, and Father Whale.  

And the
Mystery is the Holy Child roaming through the fields of my soul hiding
treasures for me to discover, healing each bud and leaf with the touch of His
hand.  The best is when I let Him find
me; let Him sidle up beside me unannounced and slip His hand in mine; let Him
appear in my dreams, like an angel and tell me secrets; let His faith burrow
into my doubts and upturn them like soil needing to be tilled; let His singing
thread through my fears like golden light. 
He loves to visit mostly when I am creating (playing) writing, chanting,
or playing with children.  Sometimes He
appears while I’m sweeping the floor or driving the kids to one thing or another
and suddenly the road floods with gratitude because He has seen a marvelous
sunset through my eyes.

And so I seek the Mystery…I seek it because it
gives me joy—this adventure of spirit and of bones, fossils and of flowers.  It awakens things within me; a yearning to be
born, to blossom, to be ignited, and to shine.

II. The Sharing

So when the
Mystery comes, let us walk from our places of worship or rise from reading our
holy books, and walk gently, for we hold within the cup of our hands the
tiniest flame, the littlest mustard seed…and it is ours, and it is real.  Share it with the awesome responsibility of
being truly loving, truly kind, and truly compassionate.  Let us turn to our neighbor and offer the fruits
of the Mystery that we have gathered, the ones given to us, the ones we’ve
discovered after years of searching.  Let
us offer them with patience, the patience of the night, the patience of the
horizon, the patience of the lighthouse. 
And since our eyes are mirrors, when we share our gifts, let us look for
ourselves in the eyes of the other, look for how we would like to be treated—look
for the dignity and the gentleness; the unyielding, fierce wisdom; truly see
each other, see each other’s suffering and pain, see each other’s little (and
grand) victories, so when we offer our cup of revelations, it may be welcomed and
nurturing, sweet, and refreshing.  Let
the Mystery speak through us so that all beings may live freely and securely,
nestled in the endlessly spreading wings of the Divine.



Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog