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Today, it’s the colors

Today it’s the colors,

inviting me

to see clearly.

 

The brilliant blue of the sky

against the hunter green of the pines –

The unexpected fuchsia of the crepe myrtle

climbing out of the storm drain –

The glistening silver of morning dew

about to evaporate in the blazing summer sun –

The fiery red of the passing cardinal

flying by soft wisps of white clouds –

 

And a tow-headed toddler

taking it all in.

Whispers of the Divine

As I was cleaning one of my bookshelves, a notecard fell off the bookshelf. It was from a time when I would write quotations on notecards from books I had read to remind myself of the way those words had spoken to me. This one was from Thoreau’s On Walden:

The surface of the earth is soft and impressionable by the feet of [humanity]; and so with the paths the mind travels. How worn and dusty then the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity.

As the reality that our world is changing all around us and we will not be returning to the “normal” we used to know, I see this more and more. People are digging in their heels white-knuckled from holding onto what they used to know with a fierceness that threatens violence towards those who would remind them of the changes that are happening.

What if instead, we taught our minds not to cling to tradition and conformity, but instead to look down at the impression we are making on the earth and indeed on the world and wonder if that’s the impression we want to leave behind? What if we taught ourselves wonder and awe at each new day?

I want my steps to tread lightly, disappearing as the wind and rain nourishes the earth. I don’t want my steps to be preserved in concrete reminding the world that it was more important that I walk the way I always had rather than step around the wet concrete with awareness and intentionality to reroute my steps.

Perhaps you would say there is no real significance to the notecard “appearing” at this point in time and space and it’s more a testament to my bookshelf being too full. Perhaps you are right, but for me this is the whisper of the Divine nudging me to remember to tread lightly, to notice everything around me, and to step intentionally into this day.

 

Morning Light

When case numbers in SC began to rise, I realized it was going to become more and more difficult to find light and hope. The climbing death rate, the uncertainty about the fall, and the growing unease among people were all causes to be on alert constantly. South Carolina now has higher case numbers than any other country in the world. South Carolina ranks number three on case numbers per capita. It feels as if the virus is closing in our state.

I know some people have taken the approach that “it isn’t that big of a deal” or that “we are all going to get it,” but after reading some of the potential long-term effects this virus could have on the neurological system especially, I simply can’t come to those conclusions.

As the days seem to drift into a mundane routine, I needed a reminder that there was light all around. I needed a reminder that even if we are walking and biking the same paths over and over again there something new to notice. I needed the reminder that the Divine was among us.

Even as I asked for my eyes to be opened, I began to see morning light all around. I began to notice the subtle ways flowers bloomed over the course of a week, opening a little more each day. I began to notice the possibility that our morning walks and bike rides just might instill in our four-year-old and seventeen-month-old the desire to escape to nature when things seemed chaotic or scary. I began to notice that everything looks just a little bit more magical and mysterious in the morning light.

And I began to awake each day with open eyes and open hearts to the promise:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

 

Entering Eastertide: What’s that smell?

Spring has always been full of new smells. Flowers blooming. Trees budding. And those wonderful evenings after the rain comes through.

On our daily walks, one of the questions our four-year-old almost always asks is “What’s that smell?” Sometimes I know the answer, especially if it’s a Bradford Pear tree, but many times I don’t. So I ask him back, what do you think? If it’s an unpleasant smell he is always convinced it’s a skunk and hopes he will see. If it’s a pleasant smell his answers range from honeysuckle to rose bush to tulips.

Smells trigger our memories of summer camp and long afternoons in the pool or at the lake. Smells remind us that we are connected to a deeper earthiness. Smells warn us of danger as well. Without smell, we can’t taste our food.

Stop and smell the flowers is a phrase used to remind us to slow down enough to notice your surroundings. But really stop and smell the flowers and when you do you will find your body and soul reunited in memories and hope for this the new life we are creating.

Entering Eastertide: A New Morning

Here we are starting another week in this strange new life. The aspect of this new living that has been so surprising to me is how quickly we have adapted. I now keep masks and masks or some kind of covering for the kids in my car on the rare occasion we drive through to pick something up.

My mornings begin earlier than my children in order to try to get some work done and to try to have an open mind and space to be attentive to their learning and needs for the rest of the morning. My days end later trying to think ahead and get a little more work done while they rest.

So many mornings I am brought back to the mornings of rushing to get everyone ready to get to school and get to the office and the constant strain of hurrying from one place to another. While there are certainly new and different strains, the constant going has left. Over the last three months, I have used only one tank of gas.

As I look at our four-year-old and our fifteen-month-old I often wonder what these months are instilling in them. Maybe that having a sanctuary away from the rest of the world is important? Maybe that work and the way we do work is ever-shifting and actually can be adjusted much more than systems and leadership might like to think? Maybe that time with family is non-negotiable?

I don’t know in what ways this time will ground them and their view of life and what is important, but I know that my mind has shifted. There are so many things I thought I needed that I simply don’t. There are so many things that worried me and kept me up at night that just aren’t worth the energy.

What is important is being refined each new day we discover and create and live together in this new life. I can’t wait to see what day’s revelation will be.

Entering Eastertide: Prisms of Light

As we were coming inside from outside on Sunday evening, our four-year-old exclaimed: “There’s a rainbow in our house.” Sam found it and began to explain that it wasn’t an actual rainbow, but a projection from refracted light (science lesson of the day!).

We caught this picture of it before it disappeared.

Sir Isaac Newtown did some of his best work during a pandemic including working with prisms and writing about refracted light. The more I thought, Eastertide is exactly like this rainbow we discovered in our house. It’s the refracted light from the light of the resurrection displaying colorful new images.

If these weeks at home haven’t felt inspiring or encouraging that’s ok. We are all processing a lot of change and grief all at once. You don’t have to feel inspired or connected at any point.

I have discovered in those moments when I feel most disconnected and disheartened, there are prisms of light that appear whether it’s a rainbow suddenly appearing in our house or a ladybug landing on your hand for just a moment. There are moments where the refracted light of new life and new discoveries appears.

Thanks be to God for those whisperings that pull us back to our centers and remind us of the power of the resurrection.