Of Caterpillars and Hope…

Tiny Teddy-bear Caterpillar

Our first “teddy-bear caterpillar” sighting of the year. He was crossing our gravel road when my sister and I stopped to pet him, and he curled up into himself — protecting his softness from the harsh unknowns of the world. He was gently carried to a place of green far off the road, and we continued our evening walk.

Today, I found myself envying this tiny one’s ability to freeze and bring himself a sense of safety — in his little world everything stopped — there was time to just be still. I, too, feel like curling up for a period of rest — I find myself unable to think, unable to function well, unable to ponder this journey. I am tired…

It’s a night to yearn for peace rather than marvel at it… My eyes burn with the build up of fatigue and emotion from this past summer. A couple days ago we had to evacuate since the state park I grew up hiking to from home became the site of a wildfire… Thankfully the winds pushed it the opposite direction from my childhood home, and we had firefighters from districts all over the state as well as civilian volunteers from the area, come to conquer the flames. They won. We survived our evacuation adventure – five of us at my other sister’s place, with five cats (and two fish!) – no one really slept. It was so wonderful to return home safely — and we’re all so grateful! Not everyone was able to return to their home safe and sound…

Tonight I am weighing the balance of my losses this summer alongside all the ways Light shines in my world — all the Goodness that simply is… Life is hard… but it is good. There is Hope. Tonight I will sleep — and tomorrow I will hope again.

Veni, Vidi, Amavi.

It’s all Grace.


Transfiguration Morning…

Blued-eyed sky and Sunlight

There is Peace here.
This morning the sky is blued-eyed — cloudless and bright…  sunlight has clothed the wetland wood across my gravel road and every green hue is alive with  its touch.
It is an August morning — the Feast of the Transfiguration — and my world awoke to this quiet beauty — the breathing of the sea-tides echoing in my chest… the rise and fall of my own rhythm — my heart keeping the beat.

I am sitting in this Quiet.
There are dishes waiting in my sink — remnants of a quick dinner before writing my paper that was due at midnight… they have been patient and will soon be clean again, but they are quiet as they wait.
The boys have had their morning meds with breakfast, the cats are resting from their nocturnal play…
In this moment nothing is clamoring for my attention.

I can feel this new day washing over my corner of the world — what is this magic that keeps us spinning through time — ever forward, ever onward? Is it this Quiet – this Foundation-of-Everything holding us all together? It is holding me here — cradling us all, just waiting to be recognized… to be known.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Inside, we’re all longing to be mystics — longing to know and be known — to sit in the Silence of ourselves surrounded by the bustle and noise of living. We’re all yearning for connection — to have Light clothe us in our innate hues and reveal our beauty to the world. Can’t you see the brightness of summer’s-light in the eyes of those around you? We’re all seeking Communion… Be gentle in your gaze — soft, compassionate eyes are the key to sight here.  Be kind, and See.

“Be still, and know…”

#augustmorning
#feastoftransfiguration
#quiet
#bekindandsee
#bestillandknow

America the Beautiful…

The Sea at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea after Sunday Mass

The sanctuary was packed at St. Mary’s by the Sea this morning. Our small town has been inundated with visitors for the 4th of July holiday weekend, which means our Masses were full… It was like playing piano for an army — every voice raised in song together… so intense.
We  sang America the Beautiful as our closing song — every verse at the top of our lungs —  with spontaneous applause at the end and happy murmurs echoing among the crowd as they began to make their way outside. It wasn’t necessarily the song itself — it was the fact that everyone knew it well from their childhood, and everyone felt the joy of an entire building singing together… that connection…

Outside the sunlight was blinding, and everything it touched felt bright and beautiful — the faces of strangers, the grasses on the knoll above the beach, the waves in their retreat at low tide… the statue of Mary overlooking us all as a mother does… And myself – still trembling with the leftover adrenaline from the intensity of playing for everyone to sing — my heart still racing with the fullness of it all.

Our world can often seem full of darkness — but then, there are moments that remind us there is so much Beauty here — this world is truly charged with Glory… each person lit with Life – shining with the Love they were created to be… to know… to give… 
I’m afraid so many of us are missing the point — missing the mark… there really is no room for anything but Love in our interactions with others. We were made to bring Peace.

Be kind — it’s All Grace.

“O Strength in the flight of the heron,
Joy in the song of the lark,
Peace in the mists of the morning,
And Light in the leaves of the Park!
Everywhere shineth Thy Beauty,
Yet everywhere only in part –
Come, Holy Spirit, I pray Thee,
And dwell with Thy Flame in my heart!”
John Bradburne, Angelus (1958) [547]

To Be

Twin Rocks and Sunset at St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea

There was a beautiful sunset last night when I went to St. Mary’s for choir practice. I stepped out of the car and just had to stop to breathe it in for a few moments…

Such a soft light … the scent of sea … its roaring rhythm echoing in my chest…

I have to admit – I am not very good at this embodied existence. I have been living with and in this body for about half a lifetime now, and I still forget it. I forget to treat myself well and take it so much for granted — even after spending a decade with it weak and frail after the stroke… You would think I would have learned a deep appreciation for how far it has carried me. But I still move awkwardly with it through this world — I can’t seem to get ahold of this “being human” thing …

But when these eyes of mine see such light, and my chest moves with the rhythm of the sea — my cheeks bit by its wind — for one fleeting moment I feel my own true presence here…

To be.

So when I see my reflection in a mirror – or look down at the strangeness of this flesh and bone that becomes so weary — that seems at once ugly and beautiful — and have no recognition of the shapes I see… When I feel so separate from this corporal existence as I normally do — so much more a thought than a self — at least I am able to catch that self in brief moments… as when the sun sets into the sea and it dances with the wind in the sand.

When this spinning world seems to pause in Time — it’s only then I am able to catch a glimpse of myself. Perhaps that is what the mystics know all the time… their true selves present in the True Light. To be human is to be the fullness of spirit, soul, and body — complete and balanced in one being. I hope I figure it out before I’m done…

Be kind — we’re all just trying to be human.


#beautyandbreath
#sunsetandsea
#beinghuman
#tobe
#softlightscentofsea
#trueselfTrueLight
#pausetime

Look Up…

IMG_20180222_175055201_HDR.jpg

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.