I started the day walking at Sharon Woods with a friend. I cannot describe in words the beauty I experienced - from wildflowers along the walk way, to the trills of the birds, to the sighting of several turkeys and cardinals and ending with gazing at the lake. How do describe what a walk like this does to the soul? I can't.
The book that has surely captured me these days is The Grace in Aging: Awaken as you Grow Older by Kathleen Dowling Singh. I have already sent it to two friends and continue to read it slowly, underlining and savoring it. Here is a poem from that book
Aging, illness, and death are treasures
for those who understand them,
They're Noble Truths, Noble Treasures,
if they were people,
I'd bow down to their feet every day.
- Ajaan Lee
I realize that this call to awaken and go deeper continues to invite me to practices that slow me down and guide me to reflection and peace. 'It surely heals and expands my soul.
And then last night I went to a wedding of a beautiful young woman who I came to know through Advance Conference. There were so many from Advance Conference that I had watched over the years - now married with children and careers. And I sat with old friends and colleagues in ministry who shared the wonder of having been part of their lives. The wedding was noisy and full of laughter, dancing, great food and fun. And filled my soul!
This morning after reading and praying I did housework listening to a podcast by Parker Palmer. He talked about the breathing in and breathing out of silence and engagement, rest and action, and I realized that was my day yesterday.
He ended with this poem that I loved and want to keep here as a reminder of this awakened and vital life that can be ours.
Hope," by Victoria Safford.
"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower;
nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense;
nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through);
nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right.”
But a different, sometimes lonely place,
the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition,
the place of resistance and defiance,
the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be;
the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle
And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."