It's a little cooler. Still humid though. Damp, overcast, still. Quiet — eerily so.
It's a busy day. Several zoom meetings, groceries to get, and then I need to make one more phone call this afternoon.
I am very upset. I have gained back all the weight I slaved to take off three years ago. I don't like the way I look, or the way this feels. But, I am the same soul inside this puffy coat.
All roads out of this “coat” lead to grief. There is sadness in giving up my favorite foods — cookies, in particular. And, hope is dashed in feeling young again — lighter, less trapped and controlled by how tight these jeans feel.
Without much thought, I slip into old defaults of creating calendars with harsh diets and fantastical weight goals, followed by the predictable genuflect at the WW altar app. I pull up just in time to remember and write:
One day at a time.
This day at this time.
It really is about one day at a time. This body. This mind, and most importantly — this soul.
What does this soul want most of all?
To be loved. To express. To be allowed to imagine and play as a soul alone, and a soul with others.
Long after the flesh has rotted and the bones have turned to dust,
this soul will carry on.
Its light and energy bound to nothing and everything and everywhere without a how.
I can know this when the fires of fear fade to smoke,
and the smoke of yesterday’s stories clear — if but for a moment.
Maybe no longer than the firefly’s short glory against the darkening sky,
but long enough at least,
to light one speck of space in the humid blanket hovering over the bean field.
I put paint over an old painting that I have never liked. I saw the gold showing up and I resisted. I don’t like it. I didn’t invite it. I didn’t plan it or approve it. I wanted this to be about horizons—trusty, grounding space of infinite colors and defining lines. I wanted this to be about resilience—the advent word of the day. Resilience was the assignment.
Get with the program. Tune into the same channel that everyone else hears. Don’t miss out. Don’t miss the miracle.
But, the art took ahold and kept insisting it be art’s way.
Move the brush here. Then here. Don’t think. Just move. Remember?
Art doesn’t lie.
It’s over. I step back. I see columns of soldiers standing guard. The strength that I initially denied shows up as endurance—powered by Love, it glistens.
Where are we going? I don’t know. Why do we have to leave? I don’t know. What will it be like when we get there? I can’t tell you that either because “it” is not there yet. “It” is created by walking the path. Will it be worth it? Yes, and no. Yes because you will have walked in the grief of letting go of what, or who was, instead of running away. No because traveling the path has nothing to do with worth. Can I stop and sit down here if I feel too tired? Of course. Rest is renewal but resistance is deadening. Find a friend to rest with you if you can, but it is better to be alone than lonely with the misunderstanding of another. Will you be with me even when I can’t feel or see you? Yes. Always. And always with love.
If you want to know how I am built, a significant hint is my soul attraction to this prayer inspired by the Desert Mothers, or more specifically Amma Syncletica from 4th century Egypt.
Desert spirituality speaks to my soul, calls me to stillness AND action. I’ve long known that I am to seek God in the city and that faith without works is… well, less than ideal. It is a great comfort to read of the men and women practicing Christ’s example of love before the Bible was recorded. Isn’t that something? Now, to put into my day “stillness and our silence, we listen for the Voice that speaks every particle of creation into being.”
Reference: “The Desert Mothers, Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness” by Mary C. Earle
This discovery journal invites prayer, meditation, journaling, and discovery of the twelve prayers for personal peace within the prayer we have come to cherish as the St. Francis Prayer. This meditation practice can be entered as part of a traditional liturgical season such as Advent or Lent, or over any period of days in personal or small group spiritual retreats.
This contemplative workbook offers gentle prompts and space for journaling as you explore new and possibly more personal perspectives of the St. Francis Prayer.
By the conclusion of the meditations, you will have personally encountered all twelve petitions for peace found in the prayer, and hopefully will have discovered a deeper and more loving experience of being in—or being—a channel of God’s peace.
In this enchanting, illustrated tale, a girl named Myra embarks upon an inspiring journey of meeting unexpected, loving companions along the way. Like Myra, we are gently invited on our own exploration, and are encouraged to find forgiveness and healing in letting go of “what remains too big to talk about yet too small a splinter to explain how much it still hurts.”
“The story of Carrot has a winsome joy and innocence with a very serious, important message for children and grownups. I’m grateful that Carrot is ready to fly!”– Mary Fuller, Author The SheepKeeper Waits.