This morning I awoke to an old song:
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!
Until Next Time,
This morning I awoke to an old song:
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!
Until Next Time,
It’s funny what conquers the ragged places. You think it will take something big–like getting the answers you want–but sometimes it’s the simplest relief.
Like this light wind whisking away the heat as we sit beneath the shade trees of our backyard .
It doesn’t answer the questions I asked last night. It doesn’t change the circumstances of frustration.
But it is LOVE.
And isn’t this life full of Him when I open my heart to see?
Conviction hits with that statement. It’s not always about my ability to open my heart. Last night’s questions weren’t coming from this happy, open place.
The breeze, this quiet moment away from the sweltering heat of my home and the suffocating heat of my heart is a gift. I didn’t earn it by being some goody-goody person living open and happy.
I have cultivated the notice of such by an intentional decision to say thank you. I did ask God last night for help when I felt the doldrums coming on. But I didn’t make the breeze. I didn’t force my heart open.
I think only God can open the heart. My will can ask Him to. My logic knows it is good for me. But the heart? That’s something different all together.
The heart is where HE lives. And He is hope. Joy. Peace. Love. All the things I long for. He opens this place to the Good.
When I cried out in the sweaty night, hot and tired, unable to sleep, He granted my body rest and awoke me to this day. This moment.
I’ve no doubt that His Spirit tempted me outside. It started with notice of wilting basil leaves, so thirsty. Then the act of running up and down the stairs, back porch to plant watering jug in hand, awakened me to the possibilities.
Sam’s hot and tired, too. Maybe even more than I with all of his aching surgery hip and sitting in front of TV and gaming station, being tied to crutches, mostly trapped inside.
So we breakfasted in the breeze. Talked of everything and nothing. How this summer was his favorite summer of baseball ever. He thanked me for his childhood, precious son that he is, as we stared at the swing set which sits mostly still these days. I guess kids reminisce, too. Even as I silently mourned the decaying tree house, the lack of shrieking, giggling little ones, he celebrates the good, sees the big yard and the tire swing and dangling climbing rope and remembers. Happy. (And yes, I hear the lesson in that.)
Now we sit side-by-side, lap-tops perched on the patio table that speaks love, too (It once belonged to Bernice, and I know she would rejoice in seeing us here). We let the fresh air clear our head, cool our bodies, lift our spirits.
A pure, white butterfly flits by. Lands on the rose bush.
Bird song wafts on the breeze.
We believe again in season, in ups and downs, and how the downs don’t last forever. His crutches will soon be abandoned. The stuff that weighed on my emotions last night will pass. We remember that even in those downs there is relief. We discover gifts. Embrace love.
I am happy, too. Son beside me. Cool breeze refreshing.
Hope you’re finding joy in the simple pleasures, too, my friends.
Until next time,
Growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma meant incredible autumn foliage with a variety of colors. I’ll never forget the joy of early morning walks across Northeastern State University’s campus when the air was crisp, the leaves crackled beneath my feet, and vibrant color still clung to strong branches.
But my neighborhood has continued to mature over the years, bringing new color with it, and as I’m farther from my roots I suppose I’m more easily pleased. Maybe, just maybe, I’m also giving it a more fair shake this autumn, choosing to meander in the cool fall days by foot instead of whizzing past nature while looking out of a car window.
As I walked this morning I found myself conflicted. Now that I’m satisfied with my new weight I’m not sure what my walks are about. Health? Maintenance? Emotional and spiritual nurture? Joy?
This time last year I spent hours in bed, recovering from some wonky sensations in my head after back-to-back car accidents. For a time I stepped away from most of my responsibilities, my only goal to get well. Part of my journey back to health was developing a new habit of long, meandering walks. I strolled, prayed, and didn’t care how long it took me. I was finding life again. As I healed, I began picking up the balls. I learned to fit in a shorter walk/jog to stick with my weight loss/get healthy goals when the demands of schedule increased.
But after my encounter today with the red bush and the orange leaves and the yellow canopies, my feet wouldn’t listen to my mind rattling off the to-do list. My soul engaged my gait, longing for more of this day than checking off boxes. It cried out for beauty, for quiet, for spiritual refreshment. I circled the elementary school, praying a bit for the children there, then slipped into my favorite coffee shop, not for a beverage, but for the restroom. My mind had finally caught up with the agenda my heart and feet set, and I knew the conveniences of home were still a long way off.
Another little nature trail some distance from me cried out to be explored. I wandered the path, missing the twitter of the birds that usually serenaded me on this stretch. I suppose the wind was too strong, and they chose to hunker down wait it out rather than to brave it and allow their song to be lost, carried away on the stiff breeze.
I tried to cut home after the trail but found myself at a cluster of three churches I prayed often for last winter, so my meanderings included prayers of blessings for them, which turned into song at my favorite of the three. I guess I don’t mind if the notes dance upon the breeze, for He hears at all times.
I still don’t have it all figured out–this juggling act of protecting the strides I’ve made in physical and emotional health, this love of the sunshine longing to wander–all while adding new balls, more commitments, more responsibility into my daily routine. Even now my schedule mocks me, telling me there was no way to conquer it.
But I must cling to what I learned in the dark of last year. That caring for myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually isn’t a waste of time; it is a necessity. If I don’t take care of myself, I’ll find myself unable to take care of my responsibilities.
As the seasons of my life change I am forced to stretch, to adapt, to re-think. But in the midst of the struggle I don’t have to compromise on the hard-earned truths of my journey. Oh, I can’t control outside forces, like car accidents, that steal from me. But I can create margin. I can choose health. I can embrace the beauty of little moments.
How about you? Are you protecting yourself from the tyranny of the urgent?
*Warning – Playful post. I am not minimizing the trouble so many in our community face with floods and devastation. We’re praying for you!
We’re high and dry at my house–except when we choose not to be.
Since I got my new shoes last week, I’ve been crazy busy. Though my feet improve daily, it’s been difficult to find time to do as much walking as I want. Yesterday my body craved activity, but it was drizzling, as it had been all day.
“I’m headed to the library.” Sam’s declaration beckoned, and I begged to join. He waited patiently as I tied my bright tennies. As he grabbed rain protection, I slipped out the front door coatless.
“You’re not wearing a jacket?” Not to be outdone by his rockin’ momma, he shrugged out of his. “No way am I wearing a coat if you’re not.”
I grinned at him, and off we went. You guessed it. The rain then began in earnest. By the time we reached the library my clothes stuck to my skin, and water droplets ran down my nose and hung a moment before dripping off.
But my heart was oh so happy.
Sam checked out, “The Empire Strikes back,” and showed me how to put a book on hold that my business partner asked me to read. (Yes, business partner, but that’s a story for next week.) Afterwards we pushed through the library doors to the Great Drizzle, and I pleaded. “Take the long way home?”
Chuckle. Another eye roll. And we were off. He had his longboard. Sometimes I ran to keep up, which only made him go faster. For a while he let me grab his hand and run, pulling him along behind me, but at fifteen he is way too cool to let that go on for long.
Oh the sheer joy of it! If you’ve never been overweight, I don’t think you can understand what it’s like to go from lumbering to actually playing, running, laughing again. Enjoying your kid and being a kid yourself.
And at my age!
Soon it was time to cut through the park for home, but I kept walking the other sidewalk. He shook his head.
“Oh come on. It’s just the long, long way home, not the long, long, long way.”
And we continued. Somewhere in here I started singing phrases from songs about rain. Eventually we made a game of it. I’d sing a phrase, and he’d guess whether it was from a real song, or if I made it up. He became quite impressed with my ability to rhyme little ditties right there on the spot. The score was 5-5 as we rounded our yard. Then I think he cheated because somehow he sneaked ahead.
The next morning Sam decided to enjoy the continuing rain his own way. I guess it needs to be a little wet to truly engage with one’s marine biology text.
With only one left home this year, I worried about homeschooling. About Sam being lonely. About ME being lonely. But this man-child of mine has delighted me by a willingness to share pieces of his day. And though we are alike in our love of family gatherings and need for people, we’re discovering how to enjoy our moments of being two instead of 4 or 6 or 7.
I hope you find a way to enjoy those you love today–even if it means singing in the rain.