As many of you know, its been a rough winter here in the meadow. But heck, it has been rough across the land. My complaints have been more to the personal meadow issues than the mere cataloging of inches of snow, and days below freezing or without sun.
I’ve tread water a good deal of the time, putting one foot in front of the other as it were, and not much more. I’ve been sustained in part by the good wishes and commiserating thoughts of so many of you.
It is not until, as my good friend Ruth, over at Visions and Revisions, pointed out, she felt the first bubblings of “hope” returning, that I was able to truly “see” what was going on in my life. I said at the time, that I had not yet had that feeling, but I can relate, that today, I have.
Yesterday, a friend said in words to this effect: “How do I answer my non-believing friends that my faith has logic and sense to it?” One of our clergy replied, “Somethings are not of the mind, but are truth as seen from the heart.” And what follows surely is understandable by the believer and will be dismissed by those who do not believe as so much “wishful” thinking or some such dismissive remark.
For, today, I stand fully aware of the special graces given me during this Lenten period. Graces that have allowed me to persevere in the face of sometimes onerous calamities. As is often the case, grace reveals itself in the people we come in contact with. It certainly expressed that way for me.
Jan at Yearning for God, sent me a wonderful Lenten practice that I’ve been doing on being sensitive to our “carbon footprint” and being mindful of our consumerism. Ellen, a truly gifted and dedicated friend from church, pointed me in the direction of a site called “Journey to the Cross, which has been a daily source of inspiration. It speaks to me so clearly some days, saying just what I most need to hear. Tim, from Straight-Friendly has been unfailingly supportive and offerer of gems of wisdom that bespeak a very very old soul indeed.
It is in one sense deeply unfair to single out only these four, for indeed there are many, almost too numerous to mention who have been there at the exact time I needed them to be, with words of wisdom, offerings of help, or simple empathetic understanding.
It all broke open for me yesterday, when at last I was able to return to church. To gather for education hour and enjoy and benefit from the amazing gifts of so many was inspiring. To talk about and meditate on “the NOW” with such rich gifts as the members of my parish is grace indeed. To worship together in love and commitment, with sincerity and joy, is inspiring indeed. I came away refreshed, renewed and full of, yes indeed, hope.
Hope bubbled up once more, just as Ruth describes it in her posting of a couple of days ago. Urged forth by the warm welcome I received by so many, and the ease with which I slipped back into familiar but meaningful patterns of prayer and worship, hope returned in the bright sun of a Sunday afternoon.
It was truly not that things were so bad, for truly they were not. Most of the crises I suffered were over fairly soon, within hours some times, within a day or so on others. But the cabin fever mentality is wearing. Those who know depression know what I mean. You awaken with the sigh of another day doing the same old same old, and it seems almost not worth the effort of getting up. The rut of sameness looms large. Just getting out among others helps, changes one’s perspective.
I felt, as I left the church building, the gurgling of a spring within my chest. The birds twittered, my step was more lively. I smiled at strangers, and shared a laugh at the design of shopping carts. I chatted with the young man checking my groceries. I fell back in love with the world again.
I saw, finally the deep grace God has offered me, in the people and places I was able to access. I was reminded of the deep blessing of Carolyn and Karen and Barbara and so many others who checked in with me, and offered words of comfort. God works that way a lot. Through the willingly open person who offers himself as conduit for Grace.
We are urged always to seek to put on the mind of Christ. I am blessed, for I have seen that mind mirrored to me again and again during these past weeks. I didn’t always see it at the time, but I do now. I see the fine tapestry of interwoven lives that encompass me and uphold me. I am grateful. I am blessed. I thank all of you, named and unnamed.