The spring is a season of much celebration and delight in our tribe. Between the middle of March and the end of June this year, we recognized and feted 10+ major events–birthdays, a Big One; anniversaries, a Big One; two graduations, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Easter. I love to honor, remember and focus on each family member and his and her particular gifts and features. However, this year, I felt weighted with trying to be imaginative, loving and economical for each event. I am reveling in the fact that I can coast from thinking/shopping/wrapping for occasions, and just live in Ordinary Time.
To begin with, I had to calm down, let my adrenaline levels and my thinking cap adjust themselves to summer’s pace. The days are not so full, save for the regular appointments to keep body and soul moving in the right direction. People come and go out of town, appearing and disappearing, sometimes without notice, so some usual connections are postponed or added on a dime. Then I began to notice whether or not there was indeed a template, an outline by which I live out most of my days. I do have a rhythm, a kind of routine–awaking, feeding the dog, checking communications on computer, reading the Times, making myself eat breakfast (my least favorite meal!), and then staking out time and place for my quiet practices: brief journal of daily events, gratitude list, reflecting on sacred text, commenting and praying. It is here that the rest of the day takes shape. Often my question is “What do you have for me to do today, O Holy One?”
It is at this juncture that I notice the breadth and length of this sacred space. The day can be wide open–to surprise, to a U-Turn, to an unexpected voice, to a knock, to a trajectory of mind and heart that has been prompted by what has gone before. It also invites me to follow my body–what does it need to maintain wholeness at this stage of my life? And to follow my heart–who has come into my remebrance and imagination that would welcome a touch, a note, a prayer?
Most of all, this spacious time is allowing me to reflect and ponder things that have been left behind, forgotten, slipped through the cracks. I have finished reading the powerful book, Joy Unspeakable, by Barbara Holmes, a journey into contemplative practices of the Black Church. Connections were made for me, new insights challenges me, like lights going off! From many sources I am being introduced to the opportunity of gathering up the pieces of me own life, trying to make sense of them, and see what can be passed on to a next generation of loved ones. I was given a weekly subscription to Storyworth online , in which I am asked a question about my growing up sent by me daughter to be shared with the family. I also have enrolled in an online course in writing an ethical will, another chance to remember and articulate what has bee and is important in shaping the choices I made and the faithfulness of God.
More than anything else, however, I can reflect from the time I wake up and throughout the day with gratitude for this life, recognize how deeply privileged I have been and still am, grateful for the people I have been given, the work I have done, the part I have had in helping others find their calling, and learning all along what is beautiful, true and worthy of my attention and love. Savoring as I remember, letting go of awkward failures and ill-conceived moves that were mistakes, I can open up room for the next thing I am invited to do by the Holy One–“what do you have for me to do today?” I ask. And I feel invited to notice more acutely–the unflagging wall of iris in the front yard, the scampering of the squirrels around the perimeter of the yard and house, the incremental steps of growth in each grandchild, the spirit of a new team coming together at the church I attend, the real time/life suffering of those in my ken, the changes in the neighborhood–all of them places where the Holy resides, to be honored, cared and prayed for in this Ordinary Time.
The Psalmist writes: My times are in Your hands!
Savoring the moments!
Elizabeth Friend – thank you! Point on. Just what I needed for this day.
What a beautiful celebration of ordinary time! thank you (I’m moving in the next three weeks … not far but after 29 years in one place, so I need all the centering I can have.) and I loved the year I wrote Storyworth pieces (though I often took the option to write a different question when I thought something important to me was not touched or the automatic question didn’t refer to me … for example I don’t have siblings. I hope you enjoy it.
Elizabeth Nordquist said:
I will be holding you in my prayerfuf heart as you make this move. We have been in our house over 30 years, and the thought of readying it for whatever is next fills me with overwhelm. I so appreciate your hospitable spirit across the miles. “What do you have for me to so today, O Holy One?” my prayer and yours