Driving along the rim of wild, navigating a backcountry road in Maine, I embrace the solitary. Content in the fellow-less firmament, holding hands with nature, I enjoy an awareness of simply being. Until …
A stranger walking the road ahead. Who is she? Why is she here? And the biggest question of all … do I stop to ask if she needs help? Fear would say no, but a greater faith speaks.
“Hello there. Are you okay? Would you like a ride?”
“A ride would be much appreciated.“
By the rim of the wild, I could not turn away from the tears in her eyes, so I left my fellow-less firmament to hold hands with a stranger that day.
“What’s your name?” (it seems the right thing to ask).
“Amy”, she replies (a name I know means beloved and dearly loved).
She tells me her story: a broken-down vehicle, miles to hike to her wilderness camp, eight passerby and not one willing to stop. A sad lament of rejection, loneliness and fallen faith in her fellow man; I cringe.
I silently entreat the light of God’s love to shine upon The Beloved’s discouraged heart, as we drive the distance to her rustic camp and deliver her safely at tent’s door.
Days later, in a serendipitous moment, we meet once again at the local town store.
“It’s you! I was just telling my family about the kindness you showed me.”
Amy the Beloved’s face shines with renewed faith and hope in her fellow man because of one small act of kindness.
Something happened that day in the wild, when I did not turn from the tears of another but made the decision to hold hands with a stranger.
Could it be that holding hands with nature, in the wrap-around presence of the loving Creator God, brings an awareness of a deeper spiritual connection we have with all of God’s creation? An awareness that empowers me to hold hands with strangers?
Holding hands with strangers is rarely comfortable, especially for an introvert like me. Yet I have to believe that the reward for doing so is exceedingly great.
Love & Peace,
I think we need to do some deep soul searching about what’s important in our lives and renew our spirit and our spiritual thinking, whether it’s through faith-based religion or just through loving nature or helping your fellowman.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
A walk in the wood. A rustic log bench. An invitation to take a seat upon nature’s pew, so I do.
The memory comes out of nowhere—and everywhere—at the same time. I’ve experienced it before, and acquiesce to the process.
The church pew feels hard and sticky against the back of her bare legs. The man up front is talking … a lot. He says that God gets angry when we do bad things.
The girl squirms. She wants desperately to pop her thumb into her mouth, to soothe herself from the uncomfortableness of it all, but the shame she’d feel if the others knew she still sucks her thumb keeps her tiny hand balled tightly against her side.
And besides, she doesn’t want God to get angry with her for doing “the bad thing”.
So instead, she wiggles next to her father and hides her face in the scratchy tweed of his Sunday-best. In the hidden place, she breathes in and sighs, or maybe it’s a yawn, or maybe a little of both.
Without a word between them, and as nimble-fingered as a stealthy pickpocket, her father quickly reaches into an inside pocket, silently unwraps the lolly and pops it into her mouth.
The memory lingers softly. There’s nothing sweeter and more satisfying than the taste of a father’s love.
My father was far from perfect, but he was kind. He rarely, if ever, raised his voice and never his hand. I did not doubt his love for me—ever. He helped form my view of God as a father in a positive way. For this I am grateful.
I realize others have a different story. Raised voices and heavy hands fill their memories. They weren’t loved in a healthy way. (I don’t pretend to understand.) Because of their experience, they may have a difficult time relating to God as father. For this I am sorry.
However, the essence of fatherhood springs from God, not man. The behaviors of our earthly fathers, no matter how good or bad, are not the standards by which God’s love can be measured.
God’s love transcends the borders of my life experiences into a wild wilderness I am longing to brave. It takes courage to go at it alone—a lonesome transformative journey of the heart that I’ll be navigating the rest of my life.
The first step is always the hardest, but the journey will take your breath away.
Love & Peace.
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!” 1 John 3:1-3 NKJ
Looking up from mopping the floor, I see my first-born at the door. Innocent child hands pressed close to the heart. Compassion tears pool at the brim of her lashes. I wonder what could be wrong.
Brows wrinkle, eyes squint; I look hard at the little brown fluff laying between hands and heart … and gasp. To my complete and utter horror, the little brown fluff is nothing more than a dead field mouse.
“Oh My God! Put that thing down—it’s dirty!” I shriek.
My solemn little girl says not a word (she knows me well by now), but only turns on her heels and out she goes with a bang of the wooden screen door.
I lean hard into the mop. The spotless floor shines casting dark shadows across my mind. When out of the shadows Wisdom speaks:
It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life.
And wouldn’t respect for life include both honoring its sacred beginning as well as its sacred end?
I drop the mop and run to the light—to the kitchen window of my soul. And through the pane, on bended knee with garden hose in hand, she carefully washes the “dirt” away from the little brown fluff she found.
In the moment, I am led by a child into greater heights of compassion and understanding.
Life — from the very moment it begins to its very last breath — is the pinnacle of God’s creative imagination and power. The sanctity of life, from womb to tomb, transcends all political rhetoric of our day.
Love & Peace,
“… And a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6
In the blink of an eye, I see it. I mean, I seeher. Lying there in the nursing home bed, a slip of a woman, a mere shadow of what once was … sadly alone. And I take notice. Is this why I’ve come here today?
A wellspring within me stirs and the words of my mouth are deep waters as I hear myself say, “Friend, you are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible … I see you.”
And she weeps.
Sawubona. An ancient greeting that means “I see you” in the Zulu community in South Africa.
Sawubona. All my attention is on you. I see you, you are important to me and I value you. I see your hopes, your dreams, your failures and your fears. You are right in front of my face. Face-to-Face.
I am present.
The ancient Prophet and Deliverer of Israel understood sawubona. “The Lord would speak with Moses face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend”, the Torah reveals. There is no Hebrew word for presence (as in the Presence of G-d), but only the word face. Yahweh, the great I AM, and Moses spoke to one another face-to-face.
I AM present.
Who do I know that doesn’t desire sawubona? To be seen; to be heard without judgment; fully known–the good, the bad and the ugly–and accepted. Yet, is sawubona even possible in today’s digital world where face-to-face is replaced by FaceBook and FaceTime?
I believe there is a God whose thoughts towards me—and you—are good. The music of His thoughts plays throughout the earth … in the gentle breeze, the bubbling brook, the chirping birds, the twinkling stars … “You are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible. I see you.“
You are right in front of my face, friend.
And with that, I enter into the sacred space of spiritualsawubona: Face-to-Face with the One who knows me best—and loves me anyway—free to join the conversation, as one speaks to a friend.
Love & Peace,
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, …”. John 15:15 KJV
Lost in the woods. Not lost as in, “Where am I?” Rather, lost in self. Blessed to lose myself for half an hour spending mindful time in the woods. Refreshed, renewed and reawakened in body, soul and spirit. The Japanese have known of it for years: Shinrin-Yoku; literally, forest bathing (being in the presence of trees). I like that.
Studies show that those who spend just two hours a week outdoors report substantially better health and psychological well-being. I believe it. In times of despair, the still small voice within me often whispers, “Daughter, go outside”; and I go.
Open-air therapy—it costs nothing and has no ill side effects.
Gazing over the countryside, I day-dream of the little writer’s studio, perfectly situated along the little creek bordering our property. It’s a dream I’ve had for quite some time—one yet to manifest. When suddenly ,,, shhh, quiet; it’s the whisper once again. “Daughter, look around you. This is your writer’s studio, perfectly designed with you in mind”. Blessed speechless.
I believe in the woods, and in the beaches, and in the fields and mountains. God’s sanctuary of healing, rest and peace. A place of absolute freedom, where creativity flows. A place perfectly designed with mankind in mind.
So, whether practicing social distancing, or in a Covid-19 self-quarantine, I’m spending time outside, wrapped securely in the loving arms of my Creator God. Surrounded by the Heavenly Cure.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau.
Bluebells speak to me in my heart language–a prophetic sign of better days ahead. My husband has given me a bouquet of first blooms every Spring since we were teenagers. We came across these little beauties on our walk yesterday. Hope springs eternal.
“Where sky and water meet,Where the waves grow sweet,Doubt not, Reepicheep,To find all you seek,There is the utter East.” ― C.S. Lewis
Mizrach – a Hebrew word for east. It literally means the place of the rising sun. I have no doubt that my eternal heart compass orients to the east—the place of the rising sun. How about yours?
Up before dawn, we dress in silence and head for the Explorer. We make our way up the winding Summit Road, to the top of Cadillac Mountain—the first place to view sunrise in the United States.
A rock invites me to have a seat (yes, rocks do speak, … well, sort of). So I do, and I wait, with eyes wide-open to sky’s still-dark border at the waters of Frenchman Bay.
Earlier in the week, a friend gives me a gift—a Hebrew tallit, named P’nai by the artisans who designed it. (I am told that the Hebrew word P’nai translates to “the blue points of light” in English.) I lay the tallit across my lap—heart engaged in prayerful meditation, in unison with the heavens above. I am lost in translation—drifting among the morning stars singing in chorus.
In a twinkling, I’m back, just in time to catch sight of the most magnificent fiery-red orb emerging. The tallit upon my lap literally absorbs the chaste white rays and mysteriously glows with the radiance of the sun.
And then, something extraordinary … with sky perfectly clear, and no clouds in sight, a rainbow appears behind me.
Reflected light before me; refracted light behind. I am surrounded in a prism of light: wrapped in Creation’s very own tallit … in Mizrach, the place of the rising sun.
One more mountaintop experience to add to my life journal. An experience not meant to teach but to transform.
Love & Peace,
” …The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:21
*The photo was taken by my husband, as I was otherwise engaged drifting among the stars and gazing into mysterious glows. He also caught the rainbow behind me, otherwise I would have missed it completely. Thank you, dear husband. You know me so well.