Rhythm of Life…

Starting again…

I began a new sweater pattern, and I’ve already had to restart it five times due to misreading the instructions. Sometimes directions are as clear as mud… Or rather, what I understand isn’t what was intended — which inevitably makes a mess. Knitters know there are times you can simply work mistakes into the weave of a piece with a little creativity (this can give the final product a unique flair of its own), and then there are times when the only way to avoid a useless mess is to “frog” it back to where the mistake occurred, or simply drop the project entirely.

Life isn’t as straightforward as knitting — but knitting is good practice for the persistence we need to keep going. There’s powerful lessons about life in any creative process… Still, what do we do when circumstances occur that are out of our hands? When others make decisions that effect our options? When chaos intervenes and turns our life symphony into cacophony? What do we do when the next day just keeps coming… the sun sets at the end of one long day, and then rises again to dawn another — but we are forced to carry the night’s darkness with us no matter how many times the sun rises? Be gentle with your fellow earth-riders — you can’t always see the dark path they are walking.

Like knitting, life has a rhythm — the steady passing of moments running into each other, and yet always simply “now”. The changing of the calendar with the seasons — a blend of nature’s steady pace with humanity’s constant measuring of it… minutes, hours, days… months, years, decades. We number our moments while this globe we ride on just keeps spinning. We say our prayers, we do our best… we live through the chaos and catastrophe that comes, as well as the moments that hopefully make it all worthwhile — fingers of sunlight passing through the trees – shadows dancing with the wind, silken kitten fur beneath your hand, a babies sigh in their sleep, the soft sound of a gentle rain, the roaring breath of the sea and the silence of the river slipping towards her… Golden moments and “thin” spaces when our Now touches Eternity…

But life is hard — be tender with each other…


#thinplaces
#knittinglife

Twilight and Evening Song…

Twilit sky and evening cricket chorus…

Darkness is falling earlier and earlier in my corner of the globe.

My sister and I are now consistently sharing our evening walks with the songs of the crickets and the erratic flight of bats. Tonight, the evening breeze was gentle…. playing with our clothes and brushing our cheeks — it still carries the scent of summer’s-end blended with the river — even as it’s now bearing the first falling leaves, brown and crisp… Autumn is arriving soon, and already the trees are preparing to prepare for the coming winter. 

There is something healing in these evening walks — and yet, they are just natural occurrences — just two “bookend” sisters , the oldest and the youngest 13-years apart — walking a road they’ve know their entire lives. We visit a neighbor’s goats — feeding them if we have anything to share, even if that means laughing like schoolgirls as we try to reach apples on a nearby tree, or picking the giant blackberries in the bushes along the road. I am in my 40s but might as well be in my early teens on these evenings. :) The goats think we are there just to bring them treats, and object loudly if we happen to pass by with empty arms…
We point out rabbits and  instinctively duck if the bats swoop too close…The chorus of crickets waxes and wanes as we walk along, passing one group and moving on to the next — the river a constant presence just behind their tall-grass homes under the stand of old trees that border its cliffside-banks. The air is heavy with the fragrance of home…

My childhood and youth are everywhere here. After what seems like decades of chaos — my soul feels like it is standing on solid ground… I remember myself — my voice, my heart — pieces of me that only made their presence known when working in hospice, or stolen moments with written words in this little corner. Words here can bring ridicule from others, but they carry my voice in all its fullness… they are a window into who I am and where I’ve been. Perhaps they will weave for me their own healing spell to remind me of my soul-self after all this…

And perhaps these evening twilit walks are my peace-potion.


#twiliteveningsongwalks
#comingautumn
#peacewalk

Reasons to Smile…

Jasper and Dante

These two make me smile…

There aren’t enough reasons to smile right now. I will admit this weekend has gone by too quickly – I still don’t feel recovered from last week… Phone calls with people in tears… their loved ones in separate hospitals across the metro area because we never know what hospital will have room when they leave in the ambulance – hospitals contact loved ones at home later to let them know where their family members are… it’s a family’s worst nightmare. They watch their loved ones be driven away with plummetting oxygen levels, scared, and alone amid the EMTs and medical equipment. They are isolated at home to try to limit the spread.

We do what we can… But it doesn’t feel like enough.

At Mass this morning, sitting at the piano as the pews filled — you could feel the heavy hearts we all carried. Every face masked in solidarity and compassion for all those around us… This world needs more of the love those faces surrounding me showed. We are all doing what we can…

I will wake up and begin the week all over again tomorrow. So tonight I am sitting in the quiet pretending these moments before bed won’t end. I am escaping with stories and knitting… listening to the sound of the sea through the open window… sipping decaf coffee curled up with a snuggly blanket and admiring the peaceful sleep of these cats who help make this house a home.

In the darkness of this world, I am so grateful for the light of Home…

Gratitude and Graces…

  • Cats with nine lives – still making me smile (and the vets who saved them)…
  • Waves crashing in rhythm and roar…
  • The Professor and The Philosopher laughing together like when they were young boys…
  • My Mister and I fixing the washing machine (yay for YouTube!)…
  • Sea air on a summer night – windows open wide…
  • Early morning drives to Mass…
  • Silent prayers on Sunday mornings…
  • Sourdough bread and baked chicken…
  • Library books and warm coffee mugs…

It’s all Grace.

#coastalcats
#homeiswherethelightis
#publichealthnurse
#heavyhearts
#maskinginlove
#reasonstosmile

Look Up…

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It’s the end of another long day.

The family is winding down, though we have hours left until we’ll be snuggled in our beds – hopefully finding our way to sleep. The fire in the pellet stove of our new home is keeping my toes toasty warm while I sit here this evening.  This past week has been so busy, but it’s been productive. Our house is looking more and more like a home — we even have some pictures up on the walls, and a new door has been added to the space set aside for the hubby’s office… now it meets all the regulatory requirements and sound won’t travel quite as easily. Most of my bookshelves are full and there are only a handful of books that I can’t seem to find yet — I’m feeling more and more at home here…

I’m grateful for our modern ability to communicate via FaceTime and such — my little nephews are almost as excited to see me on a screen as they are to see me in person :)… and I’m so blessed to still get to talk with my sister every day. It’s not the same as being right down the street, but it’s going to be okay… And next weekend I’ll actually get to see her in the evenings since I have a Healing Touch training and she’s letting me stay the nights at her place while I’m in town. It means spending my actual birthday traveling alone for a couple of hours, but I have plenty of music to listen to… and as long as the weather isn’t nasty it will be a relaxing drive. Plus, there’s family on both ends of the trip — I can’t ask for more. :)

We’re settling in here in other ways as well — our little bakery in Rockaway has agreed to make us a bulk gluten free order regularly (at a wonderful price — we’ll be saving well over a hundred dollars a month on bread!), and we found out where the locals buy their pellets for their pellet stoves (hence the warmth in my toes from the cheery flames behind the glass in front of me). We’ve met the FedEx woman who will be picking up and dropping off the hubby’s documents related to work (when I let her inside she even had a treat for Pat-me) :), as well as the woman who delivers our mail everyday. We even have a local “handyman” to call on for help around the house (he’s the one who built the new aforementioned door and also fixed my sink this week)!

On top of all that — I sat down with the Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s this week and began plans for playing the guitar on Saturday evenings. I’m nervous simply because I haven’t done it before — actually, I haven’t played for anyone who wasn’t dying in quite awhile and I’m just nervous about dealing with other people’s strong opinions on a regular basis. When it comes to music during church people tend to have very specific ideas about what songs should be played, etc. Of course, for awhile everyone will just be happy that they have music of any kind since they haven’t had a musician for awhile now — but I know that won’t last forever. I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the new relationships that are appearing here. It seems that as the days pass more of the blessing we’ve been given here continues to unfold…

*******

A lot has happened in these last few weeks of my 38th year traveling around our sun. Part of me is excited to see what the future holds for the last year of my 30s… and then, part of me is simply tired. So tired. There is much light in this world, but darkness is a very real part of our existence as well, and some days it’s just hard to hold on to the “hope that is within” in the face of it all. While “there is so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see” as Rich said, seeing it can be so hard in this world… it takes those soft eyes I’ve mentioned before. The trick is learning to see the world through the gentleness that we bring to it — painting the world with the watercolors within us — projecting them and their soft light into the world around us that seems to think in blacks and grays more and more these days. We are told that we are surrounded with anger and fear… but that’s not entirely true…

“Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars, and the greater their numbers. If you remember to look up — look up! — there are many, many souls shining brightly in these days of shadows. The more I work to spread light in small ways, the more I find others doing the same, and the more beauty we create in this world together. This is how we are the “light of the world”…

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

…that they may see…

Please remember, even a cup of water given to a thirsty child is an act of war against the darkness. Our small things done in great love are powerful… and we can all do small things…

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”’ Matthew 25:40

As Mother Theresa said, it’s the Gospel on five fingers… “you did it to Me”… Let us shine our light of love on all the lives around us, and so show our love to Christ.

…so much to be grateful for…

  1. sunsets…
  2. three ingredient cookies…
  3. new pictures on the walls..
  4. full bookshelves…
  5. shopping with my hubby…
  6. finding my favorite mug…
  7. snow at the beach!
  8. deer outside at nighttime…
  9. Little One learning to say, “Yes!”
  10. our cats acting years younger in this big house…

It’s all Grace.

 

 

 

Of Silence and Soul-Fruit – Take Courage…

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It isn’t often that we have the opportunity to take a day for reflection and the cultivation of quiet. Today was not that day — today I took The Philosopher to a doc appointment, rescheduled an appointment I would have had, and was able to spend some time with my sister and her boys (definitely the highlight of the day). Quiet was not in the cards by any stretch of the imagination today.

But I am still internally processing all the silence my soul rested in yesterday. Many times when you attend a retreat there will be conscious periods of quiet… times when you can welcome Silence in as a soul-friend. You can learn a lot from Silence. During one of these points we were journaling after the reading of a poem – answering questions, listening to what bubbles up from inside when you ask a question and simply wait for your internal response. I found myself looking at the question from a broader perspective.

We were exploring the idea of knowing when you’re going in the “right direction” in this work of hospice… But in the quiet, my heart took the question and expanded it. When do you know you’re going in the “right direction”, period? What does it mean to “go in the right direction? In my mind’s eye I saw a compass, but a compass is useless unless you know where you’re going. And so often in life we feel like we’re in the dark — we don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know exactly where we are, we can feel so blinded by the circumstances of life  — by our sorrows and struggles — we don’t feel like we can even see our hands clasped in front of us in prayer. How do we know we’re going in the “right direction” then?

Deep within me I heard an echo of an old childhood song taken from Galatians 5:22…

“Love,  Joy,  Peace,  Patience,  Kindness,  Goodness,  Faithfulness, Gentleness, and  Self-Control…”

These are known as the Fruit of the Spirit… (Sometimes I wonder where this fruit is in the world today…)

Any gardener will tell you that fruit only grows where there is enough light. If the Light of Life is our goal — truly living it — we must be able to find it even we can’t see… I realized that following this soul-fruit can help us feel the Path even when our eyes are blinded by life’s Dark moments.  You don’t have to see to know love, or peace, or kindness, or joy — all these Fruit are easily recognizable to us… but they don’t grow out of nothing. They require Light and Nourishment – like everything that grows. Even if we feel lost in our inner darkness – if we “follow the fruit” we can know we’re moving toward the Light – moving in the “right direction”. As we strive to experience them more and more in our lives, then we can see where we are, what we should be doing, and what direction to go — even if we don’t necessarily understand why, or what is around the next corner.

“Embrace your grief for there your soul will grow.” Carl Jung

Mother Teresa suffered deeply from an interior darkness, but the Fruit of the Spirit remained a constant in her life. This is why everyone around her could see the Light of Life living in her — even when she couldn’t see it herself, and she was able to trust the direction her life was going, even when she didn’t understand it. She could follow blindly because she trusted blindly… she knew Love.

Love is not tame — but it is Good…As C.S. Lewis put it:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

“Courage, dear heart.” The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

We can Trust that where the Fruit is — there is the Light… take courage

I am grateful…

  1. loving, slobbery kisses from Little One…
  2. Little Boy getting a haircut — he always looks so much older every time it’s cut!
  3. Dr. Thom… I’m so, so thankful to have found him and his osteopathy…
  4. The Philosopher doing so much better after his appointment today…
  5. gluten free pumpkin cheesecake from my hubby! :)
  6. clean kitchen…
  7. healing touch…
  8. Pat-me snoring beside me on the couch… :)
  9. journals and silence…
  10. teddy bear stuffed and put together waiting for his baby boy snuggles!!

It’s all Grace…