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

New Perspectives…

The summer is coming to an end. The days are shorter and the nights are growing longer…

This past Sunday afternoon, my bookend-sister wanted to show me the walk along the other side of the river — and we were pleasantly surprised to see how far Autumn had advanced over there. The river’s cliff-side near my childhood home I know like the smile of a close friend – but it’s really not the most common one to visit – the other side that brushes up against the town of Estacada itself is the one most people know. There are benches and picnic tables to accommodate visitors, and there’s even a beautiful dock to aid in the enjoyment of the river. It’s the side that many of the kids I grew up with are likely to think of when they think about hike-walking along the river during their youth.
It’s a little funny to admit that I’ve spent so much of my life here, but I’ve never actually explored  that side before…  I was surprised at how it gave me an entirely different view of the river that I know so well.   The air was still heavy with the scent of the river and warm earth, but also carried the evidence of town – like the aroma of someone having an end-of-summer Sunday Barbecue, and the hum of the nearby highway. The river itself seemed so different from that side that it almost felt foreign…

Dock in Estacada on the Clackamas River

It’s funny how so much of the view of Life’s path depends on the perspective you have as you are walking it. Every once in awhile – after climbing a particularly steep leg of the journey – sometimes you can turn around and get a different view of where you’ve been…  it can be eye-opening to see things from a new viewpoint.

The Clackamas River from the North side

Lately, I have found myself at one of these points — only it has re-viewed a huge portion of this life I’ve been living, and so much of it appears very different from this new perspective than it was while I was walking through it.  So much of our Reality is shaped by our perspectives  — I’ve found mine has suddenly been turned inside-out and upside-down.  It’s like I’m suddenly living in a new world, but even in this world much remains the same — tomorrow keeps coming. I just desperately need to get my bearings…

Be gentle new world – I’m weary from this journey…

It’s all Grace.

The Journey of Learning Love

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How long has it been since I was here last? It seems longer than it really was… so much has happened.

I’m surrounded by hectic “do-ings” that must be done, but a lot has been accomplished already and at this moment I’ve stopped to breathe — I’m pausing all the “must-dos” and sitting in the light of the twinkle-lights that have escaped being put away with the Christmas things. :) I am listening to The Philosopher typing away as he works on one of his writing projects, mumbling to himself as the story-line progresses. He has his personal music playlist playing on his laptop speakers as he types away, and the only other sound is the fan of the electric heater as it tries to chase away the winter chill in our living room.

The gas stove we used as our main heat source no longer works (apparently the broken valve isn’t made anymore so it can’t be replaced), so I’m missing its comforting whistle… as well as the heat it provided so well! The poor little space heater does the best it can, but we are going around bundled up with cold toes and noses — it just can’t quite get rid of the chill entirely. Thankfully, the rest of the week is supposed to bring us fairly mild temperatures, and the electric heaters handle our bedrooms well enough… we’re fine… maybe not completely comfortable, but we’re managing. This is just further encouragement for a surprise upcoming move — we’ll probably be getting some good news later this week… So much sudden crazy busyness around here! I’ve had to spend my days sorting our belongings and preparing for an upheaval… it’s kept me hopping, that’s for sure. I’ll go into all that in another post sometime soon-ish…

Today what free-time I had was spent getting off some important emails related to my hospice work, and sending in the first pieces of my packet for the International End-of-Life Doula Association’s Certification process. (I did their amazing training in October of 2016, and I’ve used the skills I learned there in this work ever since.) After some encouragement via email this afternoon, I’ve decided to tackle the certification process.  Tomorrow I have a couple phone calls to make — something I have to prepare myself for since I have a hard time communicating on the phone at this point… It’s so hard to hear what’s going on, and inevitably my phone will cut out and I’ll miss something important — so stressful! (I’m a complete introvert — send me an email or a text message any time of the day, but please don’t make my phone ring!) :) The calls need to be made though…

The Professor has his last doc appointment for awhile tomorrow morning, and the next day will be The Philosopher’s last one — our insurance ends this month so we won’t be going to the myriad of doc appointments that have been our norm for so long… such is life. I’m trying not to worry…

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You just never know what Life is going to send your way. For the most part, we go through our days thinking we know what’s going on — planning our calendars and daily schedules — but we really have no idea what the next moment will bring… let alone next week. We comfort ourselves with all our intentions and plans — it’s part of the way we stay sane in this crazy world. We design paths for ourselves to walk and set off in the direction we think we should go — but the journey we “draw on paper” rarely fits the landscape of reality. Obstacles appear that we didn’t know about beforehand — sometimes there are big cliffs in front of us that force a sharp turn, and other times a flash flood can wash everything away and deposit us on a completely different path. Sometimes we think we’re on one journey, and then simply wake up one day and discover we’ve been traveling somewhere completely different all along. My motherhood journey has been one of those kind of adventures… a journey you would never be able to plan for yourself because you didn’t even know such a place existed beforehand, and you didn’t know you were even on the voyage until you discovered the place you thought you were staying was actually moving somewhere else! It’s unsettling when Life throws you a curveball and you don’t even realize it until after the fact — sometimes long after the fact… we’re talking innings have gone by and you’re playing an entirely different game than the one you expected to play.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

Being human requires a lot of blindness and a mind-preserving lack of observation, or an intense level of Trust in the goodness of God’s Love in order to maintain sanity in this unpredictable place. “‘I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11). As we ride around the sun, hopefully we learn to roll a bit more with Life’s punches. Even though the big ones may knock us out for awhile, hopefully we’re eventually able to get up and continue the fight — at least for the Love of those around us… and their Love for us.

It isn’t easy to walk this planet (wandering-star — doesn’t that make us all wanderers?) — to be so small amid so many galaxies and yet still Love our dear ones so much it doesn’t seem possible that we’re so finite. This is what we’re here for — to learn this common communication of infinite or unconditional Love, so we can understand the language on the other side of Death’s rent veil. We learn it as we serve each other — as mama’s snuggle their sleeping littles and calm wordless fears — as we make each other laugh, and keep each other warm and fed throughout the long winters of life… We learn it in the rhythm of poetry and song — in lullabies and literature shared together after a long day — in sharing what we have with others and being grateful for what we are given, and in creating homes where we know what it means to hold each other in our hearts. We learn it in the play of silence and story, laughter and tears — in life shared with one another in a myriad of small ways. We learn Love from all the lives that touch our own as we wander this road together…

I am so thankful for all my dear ones who are continuing to teach me Love.

I am grateful…

  1. reading aloud to the family in the car during a hail storm at the coast… :)
  2. listening to Kate Rusby together… (particularly this one over and over again) :)
  3. fuzzy socks in the cold…
  4. back to back with hubby at night – warm and cozy as we sleep…
  5. sister hugs…
  6. Little One’s laugh – even when he should be sleeping…
  7. Little Boy learning the alphabet…
  8. listening to The Professor and Philosopher talking late into the night when they think I think they’re sleeping… :)
  9. laughing with my hubby…
  10. wedding bands and lifelong loves…

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…