“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
“Sometimes, we have to stand on the commitment and hard work of others. Yet, there are other passages in life that each of us has to journey through alone. We can call the first process, progress, and the second, incarnation.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity
So much resides and lives in the simple things.
Time with family and friends.
Making new friends, connecting with a stranger, if but for a moment.
Laughter, a walk in the woods, trips to dog parks to chase balls and other dogs, and the newly discovered “pup cup” filled with whipped cream.
Find your path into the clearing.
We’ll see each other on the way.
Walking along side, sharing the road.
Paying attention to the simple things.
Tripping on joy and grace.
Incarnation, vastness, doing for others, seeing for self.
“Like everyone before us, we each must find our own path into the clearing, where we can build a home near the vastness of life. And we each must pass on what we can, so that those who follow will have the chance to awaken their own lives, which no one but they can live. Like everyone who will follow us, we are each called to reveal and enliven the twin ethics of doing for others and seeing for ourselves.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” – Mark Twain
It should be required that Amazon is closed between midnight and 6:00 am.
The past month of restless nights, I’ve made the mistake of going online at 3:00 am.
Most purchases made sense.
And all could have waited to sunlight to purchase as well.
The arrival of the poop bag carrier with the LED flashlight marked the end of my 3:00 am purchases.
Although I did consider the smallest and most powerful vacuum.
Then I promptly put my IPad down to go back to being awake without shopping.
It all provided a good laugh and lightness.
Lesson beyond this and for all.
Turn off media and get rest, allow silence and quiet in to think for yourself.
Trust your instinct and intuition.
Read, write, play, wander, get into nature, savor.
Live life while you are in it, see it.
Find the joy of it, daily.
Broaden your view, do your own investigating, think for yourself.
Stop watching Fox News or CNN.
The world is not that narrow, scary or evil.
They are making money off fear.
This is not journalism. It’s a business built on instilling fear, hatred, and othering.
Get off autopilot and question what you are hearing and seeing.
It is a beautiful, big world, filled with wonderful people trying to live their life as best as they can.
No more 3 am purchases.
No more fear.
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Grief is visceral, not reasonable: the howling at the center of grief is raw and real. It is love in its most wild form.”― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
“Joy is oxygen for doing hard things.” – Gary Haugen
Not over “it.”
Never will be.
It will change, morph, transform or not.
Rising and falling with the day, in moments.
Taking on an unpredictable life of its own, no preparation or planning.
Platitudes become hollower with time and repetition.
Dogs get it, thank God they don’t talk and just gaze, reside next and with.
Take the good days at face value.
Let joy, laughter and delight enter too.
No questions asked.
No analyzing, counting, comparing, measuring, assessing.
Some things will never be resolved, gotten over, fixed, ever in a lifetime.
It will change though, with time.
These are the people, places, things that went deep, touched our soul, and mattered most.
We don’t want to ever get “over” these things.
This is love.
Just quietly sitting, resting, waiting, wandering, no solving.
Listen more, talk less, choose carefully.
Silent presence is more than enough, witnessing.
So remember, you are not alone in what you carry.
Find your person, maybe two, reach out.
Carry and be carried.
Hold and be held.
“True comfort in grief is in acknowledging the pain, not in trying to make it go away. Companionship, not correction, is the way forward.”― Megan Devine, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
“Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.” – Diane Ackerman
“First day of spring
The whole world’s wakin’ up and turnin’ green
And everything connects to everything
It’s a beautiful design
It just takes love and faith and grace, a little time
We’re all sons and daughters, just ripples on the water
Trying to make it matter until our time to leave
One day, they’ll carve your name in stone
And send your soul on home
‘Til then it’s prayin’ for rain and pullin’ up the weeds
Plantin’ trees we’ll never see”
– Lyrics to Amy Grant’s newly released song Planting Trees We’ll Never See
A drive, music turned up high.
Windows open to let spring air in, stale air out.
New music and familiar too.
A fresh playlist to enter a new season.
Winding roads to take.
Twists and turns.
Trees lining the path.
Small and big.
Scatter seeds. Pull weeds.
Planting trees you’ll never see.
Leave a legacy of love wherever you go.
“You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.”-Ephesians 4:4-6
Each day a new reflection to consider, focus and ponder. Sundays are “Mini-Easters” where “we take a break from any sad, heavy feelings for a respite to do something that makes you feel buoyed by gladness.” So here goes…
Today is my great nephew’s Elijah’s baptism.
A celebration and welcoming.
An invitation to all to be baptized again.
Dipped in the waters.
Renewed and made new daily.
This is his day and ours by witnessing and accepting the invitation to a peace that passes understanding, a joy everlasting and hope that ties it all together.
So Happy Mini-Easter and Happy Baptism to Elijah and to all who are called to be instruments of peace.
Easter two weeks away.
14 days left of our 40 day journey.
Birth, life, resurrection.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Amen.
— St. Francis of Assisi
“When once your foot enters the church, be bare. God is more there, than thou: for thou art there Only by his permission. Then beware, And make thyself all reverence and fear. Kneeling ne’er spoil’d silk stocking: quit thy state All equal are within the church’s gate.” ― George Herbert, From the Temple
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The world is filled with cathedrals and altars.
Nature, heart, space and place, in others, in an embrace.
We need merely take notice, enter, drop to our knees.
May you see all of the places to run, to remain, to kneel today.
And do so.
Reverence. Awe. Wonder.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“May I create plain fields by collecting clouds and bedeck them with arching rainbows.”― Suman Pokhrel
“Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.”― Fulton J. Sheen
When I let go of their leashes, the girls running full speed into the open, unbound and free.
Not too far out, they stop, turning back to see where I am at.
Never out of sight but out of reach.
Waiting for me to catch up to join them in frolic and play, ball throwing, field pouncing.
Moving on ahead when I catch up, but not too far again.
Just enough and still close.
Wide open fields.
Deep blue sky.
Waiting, wandering, joy-seeking and finding.
All available to us each day.
I’ll meet you in the field.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”― Rumi
“No one is so advanced in prayer that they do not have to return to the beginning.— St. Teresa of Avila
“the only way to survive the storms of the world is to shed all that is not essential, …the only way to survive inner storms is to let everything through.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity
Some will run.
Some will stay.
Some will wait.
Some will not.
No rules or regulations.
No counting or keeping track.
Gratitude and reverence for those who remain, reside, wait.
The journey is individual first.
Communal and universal next.
No map, signposts, or markers, nothing exact, predictable or precise.
One step at a time journey, each day new.
Grief is not a “fun” topic but each will go through it many times in a lifetime.
Called to be here now.
Awake and aware.
Writing and sharing is a vulnerable space.
Honesty is my only response.
Perhaps, it could be a gift, a foretelling, an invitation to communion, community, belonging.
Be present to the gifts that you are steeped in right now.
Life is both slow and fast.
Before to after in a beat.
Shed the nonessential.
Grief does not reside alone though.
Laughter, memories, tears, wonder, joy all woven through.
No shortcuts or bypasses, right up the middle.
Unfolding a step at a time.
Underlayment, grounded in hope, love and grace.
Cast light, especially now, when it means even more.
Unlacing and weaving something new.
In due time, a step at a time too.
“The great moments of living reside, not in banishing what goes wrong, but in unlacing trouble and weaving tapestries with the laces.” – Mark Nepo, Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity
“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.”― Joan Chittister
“Hope is an anchor dropped into the future. We feel you pulling us toward it once again.” – Kate Bowler, Jessica Richie, The Lives We Actually Have
I saw the sun yesterday.
I noticed it, pausing a moment.
An upward anchor, a kite, a grounding.
The little things are enough, overflowing actually.
At our feet, surrounding us, holding us.
In words, but mostly in silence, in sheer presence.
In waiting, watching, witnessing.
Winter rain through the night.
Hastening the melting of deep snow, softening of earth, precursor to green.
Notice. Awe. Wonder.
Grace enters and sits right beside you on one side, hope on the other.
Holy. Sacred. Steady.
“Love is holy because it is like grace–the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” – Joan Didion
“When people want to know more about God, the son of God tells them to pay attention to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, to women kneading bread and workers lining up for their pay. Whoever wrote this stuff believed that people could learn as much about the ways of God from paying attention to the world as they could from paying attention to scripture.” – Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith
We put a lot of hope, focus and energy into firsts, into lasts, into nexts, into moving on.
But the whole and entirety of life is in the second, third, fourth, middle days between firsts and lasts.
We remember too little, the highlights, the lowlights, the trips, the falls.
Forgetting the ordinary days of grace, laughter, joy.
Not a mere snapshot but the entire story, the narrative, the love, the staying.
A lot of small steps to our finish lines and start lines.
Slow down and feel each step in the journey.
Today is the second day of spring.
Spring awaits patiently to be revealed under the snow, witness the melt.
One day at a time to green grass, brilliant color of bloom, precursor to summer.
Stay awake, aware and steeped in the waters of today, the second day of spring.
“One day we will remember how lucky we were to have known their love, with wonder, not grief.” – Elizabeth Postle