Rest has arrived at last.
After three and a half months of school with no breaks, it’s strange (and lovely) to revel in the repose this fall break provides. On the evening of my first day of break, I kneeled by my window, letting my soul drink in the beauty of the setting dusk. Relief, gratitude flooded my heart. As my weary eyes roved over the yard, their gaze caught sight of a wisp of scarlet. Perched on a bare tree, stripped of its autumnal glory, was a little bird decked in crimson robes. A cardinal. Something stirred within me – awe, fear, perhaps. I’d seen a cardinal, several weeks before, on that very branch. On a day when I craved a reminder of life’s goodness, I saw it. Birds have held, for a while, a tender space in my heart. Different birds have symbolized different things at different points in my life.
In that moment, as I gazed at the cardinal, shivering with life, its sharp beauty smote my heart. Yet, at the same time, I felt a prick of loss.
If I had not been still in that moment, if I had chosen to sit before the window, if I had not slowed my breath and my mind, I would have missed the sighting.
While I cherished the ability to slow down, I grieved how difficult it was to be still in the throes of everyday life. How the overwhelm, the immediate tasks captivated my full attention, leaving me feeling varying scales of accomplishment, fatigue, and overwhelm. Rarely present.
On evenings while working as a courtesy clerk, helping escort customers to their car, I possess the agency to view many stunning sunsets. While my body is nipped by the wind, my eyes feast on the sky’s luminescent glory. The colors remind me I have sight. The icy wind reminds me I am alive.
“Walk slowly,” an elderly woman had urged me, after I’d helped her to her car, “Enjoy it.”
I walk slowly. And, oh, my friends, it has made all the difference.
Today, I cry for a more profound integration of beauty and stillness into our daily life. I cry for a sight we have lost for this beauty. I cry for our inability to walk slow.
Beloved soul, live like a cardinal. Cultivate an eye for beauty, feel the grass, feel the wind, feel the air.
Shiver with life.
from the journal
- I made carrot cake for the first time (and it turned out beautifully!). ‘Twas a delightful way to celebrate the break.
- November has always been my favorite month (just as Thursday is my favorite day). Cloudy, cosy, oh so lovely…
- Josh Garrels’s Christmas album May You Find a Light is luminiscent. May You Find a Light and O Day of Peace are my favorites.
Lyrics of May You Find a Light
Lost and weary traveler Searching for the way to go Stranger, heavy-hearted Longing for someone to known May you find a light May you find a light May you find a light to guide you home There are weary travelers Searching everywhere you go Strangers who are searching Longing deeply to be known May you find a light May you find a light May you find a light to guide you home May you find a light May you find a light May you find a light to guide you home
- Dead Poets Society (also, my favorite movie on earth). This deeply moving film tells the story of several boys at a rigid prep school and the way in which a renewed view of poetry, efforted by a new English teacher, alters their perspectives and their lives. Poignant, joyful, touching… I wrote about it last year, if you’d like to learn more. 🙂
- Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping. Two well-beloved romantic comedies which offer a fun way to de-stress.
*Hint: The viewing pleasure is increased with the addition of apple cider/hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.
poem of the month
Wisdom 7:15-22, 8: 1, from the Wisdom Book [F]or wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle. For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom. She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.
How has your November been? Have you found repose amidst this busy season? What do you do (or plant to do) to practice stillness and look for beauty?
Comment on the blog or email me your thoughts. I love to hear from you.