Appearance of Cardinals

Can you think of anything more brilliant against the foggy, snowy day than a male Cardinal? Well, maybe a blue bird!

Joseph Campbell studied the fables, myths, stories, legends that we heard as kids. He says there is a “hero cycle.” The hero hears a call to set something right, establish justice, rescue the maiden. The call is followed by commitment—(Cue the music to Mighty Dog). After beginning the crusade, the hero is always confronted by “threshold guardians,” according to Campbell. These are events, powers, entities that resist the hero continuing the quest. Some signal that we have made a mistake, don’t have what it takes or are two steps out of our minds.

I have several “rules and reminders.” One 2-part reminder is: No one feels good about himself when he has a head cold. I don’t often say the second part in public—make no major decisions when there is more green in your mucous than your billfold.

We have known the presence of “threshold  guardians” who oppose and fight us when we push into new territory. The fog, unmarked road edge, limited horizon. What has not been clear is how to differentiate the threshold guardians from wisdom. There is no apparent formula to know the barriers that are saying, “Not now, not this, times have changed, your product is inadequate, you do not have necessary skills.” All barriers are not God’s voice saying “NO!” But some are.

Send in the cardinals! The brilliant cardinals are usually encouragers. Not the cheerleaders who really want you to win, but have only the experience of the sideline. They are encouragers who question, drawn game plans and suggest options from their experience of the arena.

We need cheerleaders who will say, “I don’t know what you are facing, but I know you. You’ll figure it out.” We need tribe members who know exactly what we’re going through—they’re wearing the T-shirt. They can say, “I’m not you, but you might want to think about this, consider that.”  You are rich if you have one person who can say, “I have heard from the Lord. If I heard correctly, you are to….”

Thank God for the brilliant cardinals for the journey.

©2015 D. Dean Benton

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