Just past dawn, the sun stands with its heavy red head in a black stanchion of trees, waiting for someone to come with his bucket for the foamy white light, and then a long day in the pasture. I too spend my days grazing, feasting on every green moment till darkness calls, and with the others I walk away into the night, swinging the little tin bell of my name. ~Ted Kooser “A Birthday Poem”
all is green~
every square inch
and every misty mythical moment.
So I feast while I can,
knowing soon the darkness descends
and I too am called
to come home,
the bells I bear
swinging and ringing.
The duties and cares of the day crowd about us when we awake each day
– if they have not already dispelled our night’s rest.
How can everything be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How will it all be accomplished?
Thus agitated, we are tempted to run and rush.
And so we must take the reins in hand and remind ourselves,
“Let go of your plans. The first hour of your morning belongs to God.
Tackle the day’s work that he charges you with,
and he will give you the power to accomplish it.” ~Edith Stein from Essays on Woman
Rushing headlong pell-mell tumble-bumble into the day is a specialty of mine. Once I step out the door there isn’t a single moment of quiet breathing space until I step back in the door 12 hours later. I realize this is a daily choice I make to live this way: no one forces me to see just one more patient (or four) or complete each chart before I leave or make sure I have responded to a hundred messages.
I would not rest well until the work is finished.
Therefore my hour of quiet starts very early in the day, usually before the sun rises or the birds start to twitter, when there is no every-fifteen-minute appointment schedule and the phone remains silent.
However the rising morning does not belong to me: God knows what I’ll need to get through the day. He reminds me to breathe deeply, find time to smell the tulips, and take a walk with a buddy, always remembering I’m not alone.
I do not know what gorgeous thing the bluebird keeps saying, his voice easing out of his throat, beak, body into the pink air of the early morning. I like it whatever it is. Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world that is without dark thoughts. Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world that is without questions that can’t and probably never will be answered, the only thing that is entirely content with the pink, then clear white morning and, gratefully, says so. ~Mary Oliver “What Gorgeous Thing” from Blue Horses by Penguin Press
We are experiencing a short reprieve this week from gray and drear and rain and typical April chill temperatures. It is suddenly fantastically spring, all in a big headlong rush toward summer. Our windows are wide open, there are apple-blossom breezes wafting through the house, the bees are busy, the birds singing at the top of their lungs as soon as daylight appears at 5:15AM.
What gorgeous thing it is to see and hear and smell and taste this glory if only for a day or two. So full of promise and potential.
Even if, as predicted,
the rain returns this weekend,
even if the grey clouds come back hovering heavily on our shoulders,
even if the air no longer carries forth this incredible perfume,
it did happen
and for the moment,
just a moment,
the world felt entirely content to simply be.
…the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13: 45-46
Suppose a person entering a house were to feel heat on the porch, and going further, were to feel the heat increasing, the more they penetrated within. Doubtless, such a person would believe there was a fire in the house, even though they did not see the fire that must be causing all this heat.
A similar thing will happen to anyone who considers this world in detail: one will observe that all things are arranged according to their degrees of beauty and excellence, and that the nearer they are to God, the more beautiful and better they are. St. Thomas Acquinas from Sermon-Conferences of St. Thomas Aquinas on the Apostles’ Creed
Rather than stumbling upon the great treasure when least expecting it, we can be looking for the treasure in every day moments, approaching closer and closer, feeling the heat, knowing what it will cost us to lay hold of it.
We know it when we find it, feel it in our bones and will sacrifice all we own to have it.
There is nothing more beautiful, more valuable, more everlasting.
May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand. He prepares me with parable.
Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies
in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt,
and then the shadow sweeps it away.
You know you’re alive.
You take huge steps,
trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet. ~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
After years of rarely paying attention,
too busy with whatever clinic or household or barnyard task needs doing,
I realize there are only a finite number of sunrises and sunsets left to me.
Now I don’t want to miss them, so whenever I can,
I stop, take a deep breath
and feel lucky to be alive,
a witness to that moment of transition.
Sometimes they are plain and gray
just as I am,
but there are days that are lit from above and beneath
with a fire that ignites across the sky.
I too am engulfed for a moment or two,
until sun or shadow sweeps me away,
transfixed and transformed,
ever and forever grateful for the light.
…the point is that God is with us,
not beyond us,
Christ’s suffering shatters the iron walls
around individual human suffering,
that Christ’s compassion
makes extreme human compassion
—to the point of death even—possible.
Human love can reach right into death,
then, but not if it is merely human love. ~Christian Wiman
There is nothing I can give you Which you have not; But there is much that, While I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us Unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven.
No peace lies in the future Which is not hidden in this present instant. Take peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; Behind it, yet within reach, is joy. Take joy.
And so, at this Christmastime, I greet you with the prayer that for you, Now and forever, The day breaks and the shadows flee away.
– Fra Giovanni Giocondo letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi, Christmas Eve 1513
Merry Christmas Day to one and all from our hilltop farm at BriarCroft
May all be well for you and yours.
I make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well,
and I will make all things well;
and you will see for yourself
that every kind of thing will be well.
…And in these words God wishes us
to be enclosed in rest and peace.
~Julian of Norwich