Even in our most cherished moments, it’s there—this “something more,” a feeling that all life can offer is not enough. C. S. Lewis says of our best experiences, “They are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
I have been on the verge of complaint some mornings lately. We have had so many consecutive days of pewter colored skies, bleak landscapes, and dreary, rainy weather. But I believe in finding sacred moments in the ordinary and this, for now, is the ordinary. So I put the garden planning on paper instead of the ground, plan more ways to use the indoor time, and am reminded to praise God for his glory displayed in shadow as well as light.
…and in the mist.
We praise thee, O God, for thy glory
displayed in all the creatures of the earth,
In the snow, in the rain, in the wind, in the storm;
in all of thy creatures, both the hunters and the hunted…
They affirm thee in living;
all things affirm thee in living;
the bird in the air, both the hawk and the finch;
the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb;…
Therefore man, whom thou hast made
to be conscious of thee,
must consciously praise thee,
in thought and in word and in deed.
Even with the hand to the broom,
the back bent in laying the fire,
the knee bent in cleaning the hearth…
The back bent under toil,
the knee bent under sin,
the hands to the face under fear,
the head bent under grief,
Even in us the voices of the seasons,
the snuffle of winter, the song of spring,
the drone of summer,
the voices of beasts and of birds,
praise thee. ~ T.S. Eliot
Source: Murder in the Cathedral
Kindness is my word for 2017, It is in the consisitent, repeated acts of kindness that it is best illustrated. If I ask what color is kindness, answers come from different directions. I took a walk around the house and captured little things that might speak kindness.
Warm, glowing colors. Stained glass that sings come in, worship, linger.
Candleglow and warmth and the fragrance of pine needles.
Light that shines from window panes at night.
Open arms and open hands.
What does kindness look like to you? What does it feel like?
bare branches reach
waiting in a gray veil
to wear green again
On Christmas day, Nora and I rode in the back seat of our car to church, watching for trees. She said the leaves were all gone away and I agreed. I said they would come back in the Spring and be here for her birthday. This is an often repeated story recently as she widens her 2-year-old world to pay attention to things that go away. I thought of this the last few days in our early morning fog. Most mornings, I can see beyond our fence and across the lake to a house that is being built there. I see duck families and herons on the water. But the fog here obscures all but the most pronounced and closest objects. So it is with these days approaching year’s end. I know what recent days have looked like, but the new year coming holds no clear vision for me. I am called to trust, to practice discernment, to watch for markers that remind me I have been and will be guided.
“Spiritual discernment asks us to pay attention…on many levels: to sensus fidelium ( the collective ene of the faithful), to read widely and deeply the best ancient and contemporary thinking, to pray, to attend to the prick of conscience, to watch, to wait, to listen.”
~from “Passing Angels: The Arts of Spiritual Discernment” by Wendy M. Wright in Weavings, November 1995
Clear shining light,
Clear shining light,
Your face lights up our way
Light of the world,
Dawn on our darkened day
Advent is neither just a period on the church calendar nor my personal one. Advent has become an important preparation time, a time to reflect on my path, entering into the darkness of unknowing, opening to new possibility and radical availability. Light coming into darkness.
I can sit in the same spot and look in the same direction that has given me the growing glow of sunrises throughout the summer and early fall, but November has come. With it, my earliest morning landscape is more often darkness, shadow, and rising mist.
fresh mercy in veiled mystery
not less grace but more
Reno, Nevada. July 24, 2016
Deep roots fasten in dry rocks
Still strong and alive
Hope ever green
Sunrise, June 11, 2016
“By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
story by story
palimpsest of homecoming
always grace for the journey
I wrote the following for a post on April 5 2011. 5 years later, we are moving to a new home,so the container changes once more, but the God given surety inside me remains. I am given Grace to take each new step. I do love coming home.
Every time I enter my front door, even before turning the key in the lock, my eyes rest for a moment on the small engraved stone nestled in the feathers of foxtail fern planted in an urn beside the door. I take the word into the house with me, breathe deeply, and am grateful once more for being home. The house itself is only a container for this awareness, though tucked into baseboards and behind walls throughout its rooms are small scripture cards which we placed as the house was built. The walls are only reminders, with their glad burdens of family pictures and framed statements of faith and hope. Home is God-given surety inside me. I love coming home.
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.” -Wendell Berry