A Day Away: Paths Part 1

Yesterday I spent the morning participating in a silent retreat at Fatima Retreat Center in Indianapolis. The grounds were fantastic... in the midst of the urban landscape I found 13 acres of wooded wonder. After a quick introduction and overview of the options available to us, I quickly headed out to see what was beyond the paved parking lot. Not sure where to begin I found a path that lead me away from the structure and confinement of the buildings and the other people.

The birds were singing -- they too had found this sanctuary a midst the concrete and pavement of the city. Their own secret place! As I walked along the path I came to a "T" -- my first decision. Which way should I go?

Up the path to the left or down the path to the right. I chose left -- making my way up the path. To the right of the path I discovered a gorge, a natural path carved through the hills. Years of rain and run off created this natural path cascading down and through the hills. At some points I could see the the source and path by which the water came while at other points there was no indication of the origin of the water. What was the source of this type of current -- causing the earth to erode?

Although my curiosity called for more exploration -- I kept thinking how could that be? If we look long enough or search hard enough isn't it possible to find the cause / the source? Can't we find the reason -- and if we can find the reason or cause -- then surely there is a solution.

As I continued on my journey, the evidence of the water and run off could not be mistaken. Although the various source of this power eluded me. Yet, when I looked closer and began to notice the path and the rich, depth of the landscape I was no longer compelled to seek out the source of the erosion.

The sides of the ravine displayed exposed roots, stretching into the rich soil, holding some trees in place. Gripping the sides, clinging to the earth's stability. Enormous boulders were left behind in the now almost dry creek. Tree trunks that had lost their footing were strewn throughout the path -- left, wedged between standing trees, pushed up against the steep ascent of the banks.

Today it was dry so everything seemed to be sturdy and strong. No pressure or current to fight against, just a trickling sounds of the flow of a slight stream. A pause. A respite from the spring and summer rains -- allowing the roots of the trees to dig deeper into the earth, adjusting their footing, resting, strengthing. Preparing for what lies ahead.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. GOD

found in Jeremiah 31:25

Today I rest and receive.
Today I take hold of those things I know.
Today I adjust my feet and dig deeper into the strength and stability of my God.

Walking the Path Before Us

On my birthday back in January my mind and heart was anticipating what was ahead. If you look back to that post -- you'll see the questions that were swirling around:

Who do I want to be?
What do I dream will come true?
How do I want to be remembered?
How will I spend my time and energy?
What mark do I want to leave on the world?

I set out with two things on my heart:

I wanted to laugh more and enjoy the journey. (I can be a bit too serious!) AND

I wanted to celebrate those I love by pointing out the unique contributions they make in the world!

Funny, how I thought I would set out to accomplish these things. I'd make plans and begin working toward intentional acts of celebration and find moments where laughter came freely. In response to follow scripture the scripture:

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

So much for planning and arranging intentional acts -- what has transpired is being responsive and present in what life brings my way each day. Although some of the things I thought I would accomplish haven't come to pass -- I have adapted and adjusted to what life has brought my way. In the midst of some of the unexpected turns and twists, I've found opportunities to celebrate some of the people I love the most -- AND I've laughed with great abandon many times. So, I will attempt to set out daily, watching for God and doing my best to be present!

The Making of a Life

I've been wondering lately about what makes a life. Sure, it is the memories we make along the way with our families and our friends. It's the decisions we make and the promises we keep. This year I've officiated both weddings and funerals. I've stood beside a bride and groom -- and felt the anticipation and excitement of what lies ahead as they begin their journey as a married couple. I've also stood beside a casket of a dear aunt -- and felt the sadness at the loss of a treasured woman.

A wedding is a time and ceremony set aside for making vows and commitments in front of friends and family filled with anticipation and joy surrounding the possibilities of this union. A funeral, on the other hand, is a time and ceremony set aside for remembering and commemorating the life of a loved one. Funerals propel our hearts and minds to consider the life that has been lived. To look back and review the past often with a new perspective that helps us discern what we value most. In some ways, our feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one helps us define what is truly important. We hear people say things like: I wish I had done more of.... OR I wish I had done less of... These phrases are clues to what we value and what we deem as important.

So, I am wondering how our lives would be different if we took the time to look forward (like we do at a wedding) 10, 20 or 50 years and declared what we want to be true of our life when our friends and family gather to remember and commemorate our life.

What stories will be shared of who you were?
When others describe you what words will they use?
What will the world be missing when you are gone?

The Making of Life happens whether we are intentional or not -- it is happening right now. Make it the BEST LIFE you possibly can.

Perspective - through the eyes of children

Yesterday, I spent an hour fishing with a "little" friend of mine. What I thought was just an opporunity to visit with my friend, Maggy and her mom was so much more. Off we went headed down the hill to a neighborhood pond with fishing poles and worms in hand. Luckily, Maggy's mom had all the tools we needed included a pair of gloves so we didn't have to touch the fish. She told us that it was best for the fish... but I am not convinced it was really more for me than the fish.

We tossed our lines in the water and literally in a minute or two we had our first bite. Wow! As we "wooed" the fish in -- calling them toward the bait, we giggled and told stories. We "screamed" as the fish flopped around wanting to be put back in their warm, murky water. We giggled like little girls. Maybe that was the point... laughing, giggling, and for me "acting" like these were the first fish I had ever seen or caught.

As I drove home, I smiled realizing that many things that had held wonder and laughter when I was a little girl... well unfortunately I now missed way too often because I am busy and productive. I forgot what it was like the first time I touched a wiggly, sticky worm. I forget to just enjoy the moment and savor the experiences of living!

Thanks Maggy for this fishing outing and allowing me to see the world through your eyes!