i was feeling a little un-centered today (is that i word? it should be; you know not centered, off center, out of focus …) it has been a week of burden bearing. walking alongside friends as they trudge through the deep sludge of life. my soul feet feel heavy and my spiritual breaths short and labored. gray clouds, snow, rain, and chilly temperatures have done nothing but increase the oppression of the week. (i’m greatly affected by the weather- why is it? i probably shouldn’t be so fickle, but warm rays of sunshine make my heart happy everyday- maybe i should move to california?)
this morning the sun has come sneaking through the somber clouds, and i decide i need a walk. not a, put on my yoga pants arm pumping kind of walk, a soul walk. i need to do it more; take a walk; remind myself how grateful i am to live here; see my creator: in the smooth rocks, the sun rays over the mountain, and the mountain flowers peeking up. i need to gaze on the horizon and remember there is more astir then what i see. as my feet step over brush and stride across an open field; i need to feel peace and calm.
rocks lie in the hay field; little disturbances to life. the hay will still grow, but not as well, not quite as much unless the rocks are removed. all i need do is pick them up; pile them along the fence. it’s a tiny task; it will go unnoticed by farmer seated on his tractor. but i will know; i will know that a few more sprouts will surface because they have been freed- they have space to grow. i will pick up smooth stones and know that they have weathered some time in the field, but the time has come for them to move. i will see that hearts need stirring, and rocks need moving. growth is inevitable; growth is tough. sometimes i can reach in and move stones; sometimes i can help. sometimes i can’t.
my soul thirsts for this; for walking and remembering. for picking up stones knowing that new days will come, that hearts will heal and grow. i can breath deep and exhale; i can take soul steps.
my boys are explorers! i’m convinced that if there were still unknown territories in the world they would be begging us to pioneer into uncharted waters! they love to “look around” “go adventuring” “explore” all the places.
i am so thankful for our house at apple flats where they have space to roam and wander. i’m tempted to always take off with them; i want to join in on their expeditions. a few days ago, after i’d packed a backpack and water bottle for my youngest and secured it on his back; i sat in the kitchen gazing out the window as they marched off. i wanted to follow, but i knew that mommy presence might spoil the fun.
i know that the bond my boys have is tight and strong, in some part due to the freedom i give them to explore on their own. they’ve returned from exploring- oldest carrying the youngest; helping each other tote their found treasures; all ablaze of excitement to share what they’ve discovered. i do not doubt that my presence on such trips would void some of that brotherly care and joy. i’ve a nack for spoiling the fun. i’d have limited the number of dry cattails they stuck in their pockets, or warned against wading through the frigid creek water. i’d have spied a safer route or a better way and directed them far too much.
i’ll admit i’m a bit jealous sometimes; like last week when they returned eyes sparkling, beckoning me to come and see what treasure they’d found. a huge set of elk antlers set in our yard; i mean huge! and boys were all a jumble of voices and words to tell me about the fantastic find. part of me feels like i’m missing out on the adventure! part of me wouldn’t trade their independent little boy adventures for the world. because that is exactly what i’m after- hearts that yearn for excitement; minds that are never satisfied with what they’ve read but want the experience; souls that know deeply that their Maker has great things in store for them, if they take the time to explore!
my mom and i went shopping at my favorite thrift store last year on my birthday. we took all four boys with us; which means a little bit of crazy. thrift shopping is awesome and at HOPE thrift (in richmond, va) where they have $1 clothes week i stock up. so i went to the register with an arm load of clothes; my mom checked out ahead of me. after the cashier had rung up my pile; a lady in line behind me tapped me on the shoulder. “i would like to pay for your purchase” she said. instantly my mind went defensive and selfish-how haggard do i look for this women to feel the need to pay for my thrift store clothes? my kids must have done it- she feels sorry for the poor mom with 4, out of control, boys. “oh you don’t have to do that” i said. “i would like to; God has greatly blessed me and i would like to bless you” she said. and smack, i got hit in the face with God’s goodness and my pride. my face went hot and my eyes welled with tears. “it’s my birthday today” i blubbered and hugged the godly stranger lady. “thank you”. the woman behind the counter held back tears as she handed me my bag and i rushed out the door to my mom and boys to share my birthday story.
that was last year’s birthday. this year i’m in a new place- physically, emotionally, spiritually. God has heaped blessings upon me. i’m going shopping at my new thrift store. we’ll see what happens; maybe i will pay for the person in line in front of me.
happy birthday to me.
(on a ridiculous side note: i took the boys to a winter survival homeschool coop yesterday. we went hiking in the “backcountry” -what does that even mean? we rushed out the door at the last minute -surprise, surprise- and i didn’t even think to take sunscreen. i’m 35 years old; i have 4 kiddos, we are outside all the time! but you’d think i was a newbie! today we all have glowing red faces (mine’s the worst) and i’m slathering on aloe. when am i gonna grow up?)
this morning i’m seeking to find harmony with dreaming and contentment. how much wanting more is good; and when do i need to rest in what i have this moment. knowing that this world is so much more than what my physical eye can see; and that the Lord has far greater things to offer me when my hand is extended. blessings upon blessings and grace upon grace are here for my taking. and yet i need to live in the here, in the now, and in the grace for today; not always looking toward the moon and the sun rising new. i want to see the gifts for today, and find a sweet balance in my hopes for the future. because i am a dreamer; i am a storyteller; and my mind can run away with tales of new places and greater things and lose sight of earth and moments. and i want to live with eternity in mind, but not miss steps and words and tokens of love in the day.
rain hangs over the valley today and mist rises cold from the mountains. all is dreary and dark and the earth says- tuck in today, cuddle under heavy blankets with warm mugs. but i have to walk the dogs; so i bundle up head down fighting the sting of wet cold. yellow aspen leaves litter the ground all fallen from the wind and rain. soft yellow leaves with pearls of rain against the dark hard pavement. i see them because my chin is pressed hard against my chest. whimsical ethereal little golden platforms for a dozen tiny pools. i know i long for more; and it is good. in my longing i see more of this world and the next.
check out this song by andrew peterson.