Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”
~prayer excerpted from My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen
“…we walk sightless among miracles.”
How true this is for so many of us so much of the time. We rush here and there, commuting to our jobs, doing the grocery shopping and the laundry, mowing the lawn, carpooling the kids. We rarely stop to look at the brilliant sunset above the parking lot or the rufus-sided towhee nesting in the shrubs next to the house. How many of us stop to think about the miracle of turning on the tap and filling our glass with water?
Of course we can’t stop every minute and stand in awe of everything we encounter. We would get nothing done. However, I think the compromise is to approach our days with a sense of reverence and awareness. Continue reading
It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything but post quotes du jour here, and I haven’t done even that with any regularity. Of course, if you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve been dealing with a cancer diagnosis since last June, so my priorities and energies have shifted dramatically to say the least. I don’t want to go into it all here, but if you’d like, you can go to my Caring Bridge site and get the details on the ups and downs I’ve been through, especially in the last six months.
With illness—and the definite possibility of my life ending from it—being front and center for me, I nonetheless continue to search for meaning in my life as it stands now and in my life that has gone before. What have I contributed? What do I/can I contribute now? Continue reading
With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.
~Wayne W. Dyer
The quote above probably causes most of us a good bit of consternation. It’s a tough either/or situation. Okay, so I might be able to drag myself out of having a pity party with some situations, but treating something truly awful as a gift? I have struggled with this more than once, beginning with my father’s death when I was sixteen.
I think timing is a big factor in tragic situations, such as the unthinkable loss of a child. One must have time and space, sometimes years, to absorb such a heart-wrenching loss. And yet…we’ve all seen stories of loved ones who used the illness or death of a child or other family member to galvanize themselves into action—to start a non-profit or other campaign to help other families facing a similar illness or to reform gun control or to alert others to the dangers of drinking and driving. Choosing to take such actions certainly becomes a gift to countless others, and I think it becomes a gift to the loved ones as well, in that it allows the family members to move forward, to turn their loss into something positive and not remain stuck in the past. Continue reading
A few months back, I wrote about the challenges of following the spiritual path, which more often than not involves long stretches of not being able to see where you’re going or why, climbing and climbing an uphill route with no idea what you’ll find when you get to the top and can finally glimpse the next leg of your journey. Sometimes when you get to the top, you’re no more enlightened: you may find yourself standing at the top of the hill looking down at a fog-filled valley, unyielding and inscrutable.
The curve balls (lessons?) along the way can be jarring and disorienting, making it hard to keep one’s footing and stay on the path—especially the big ones, like divorce or the loss of a job, the ones that really turn your life on its ear and make you wonder, How the hell am I going to get through this, and what is my life going to look like when I do? Continue reading
You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly in absentia for the last month or so. It’s been quite the series of events, and I’m still getting my footing, but here I am, with some beginning thoughts on recent events.
The condensed version is that I’d had a persistent cough for a while and had begun to be short of breath doing things like walking up the basement steps. (I might not be dancing full-time anymore, but I walk the trails regularly with my dog, and I still choreograph the occasional musical theatre production, so I’m in relatively good shape, so this was not not normal.) I finally went to an Urgent Care, where they took an X-ray and saw a bunch of stuff in my lungs that shouldn’t be there. The thing was, no one could agree on what it was. Fast forward…again, condensed version…it took three weeks, a lung biopsy, and a week in the hospital to finally diagnose me: Continue reading
Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson
There’s a quote that’s been around for years, something along the lines of “growing old ain’t for sissies.” I’d like to propose that living your life by following (or trying to follow) spiritual guidance ain’t for sissies, either.
That stepping out in faith thing? A lot of the time it’s like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which he comes upon an impossibly wide bottomless abyss that he has to cross to continue his quest—only there’s no bridge or Tarzan swing or anything that might help him do that. His only option is to take a step out over the abyss and hope like hell something will happen to help him across. When he finally does step out (spoiler alert!), his foot lands on something solid—invisible, but solid. So he takes another step, and he makes it all the way across on an invisible bridge that never would have shown itself if he hadn’t taken that first trusting step.
For five or six years now, I’ve been feeling as though I’m being led to and prepared for some…purpose…and yet the specifics of that purpose remain elusive. Continue reading
Some days, just getting through the day is like slogging through molasses. Sometimes, even when you can list a thousand things for which you are immensely grateful, and point to many things that are going well, the wet blanket of all-that’s-wrong/all-that’s-lacking/all-that-could-go-wrong covers everything, even the good stuff, in a heavy, grey, cloudy mass. Eventually, you reach a point where trying to throw off the blanket seems like so. much. work.
How do you get out of those periods? How do you scrabble your way up through the murk to the light again? I don’t think there’s one way that’s right for everyone. However, I do think there is a truth inherent in such periods of darkness. This truth is that, just as the body signals disease with physical symptoms, these periods of dark discomfort let us know there is something that needs our attention, something that needs to be looked at more closely, something that we’ve been sweeping under the rug, hiding behind the door, shutting away in a closet.
This is where I’ve been in recent months. First, I swept because I was busy. Then I hid because I was exhausted and not ready to look. Then I shut because it had become too painful. Continue reading