On Just Such a Morning

On any given day, as a mother to a toddler, you will be pulled in a million different directions: unending tasks to attend to, stories to read, meals to cook/feed/clean up, diapers to change, boo-boo’s to kiss, and … you get the idea. Nap time is quite literally, sacred. In the last several weeks I have even attempted to make it more intentional by fasting from screens (Lent) and trying to build in habits of meditation and prayer. It has been challenging, but also rewarding. I was reading more than I had in a long time, journaling more intentionally, and listening to some amazing music that I hadn’t taken the time to enjoy in ages.

Come and listen…
Come and listen to what He has done. 

I also recently began a blog project where I attempted to complete one new craft/recipe/tip a day for 10 consecutive days. It was a generous goal because I have been stock-piling crafty supplies and ideas for a while now (hello, pinterest!). However, I did not take into consideration the competing activities during my toddler’s precious nap time. Not only was I trying to set aside more intentional time for refocusing and re-centering my life around God and the things He is doing, but it also turned out to be the most incredible week of spring weather that Ohio has ever seen! Needless to say, I have been BUSY and did not get to my pinterest projects this week – we will consider the “challenge” postponed until next week. 😉 Maybe…

The last several days have been filled with glorious outdoor activities: trips to the Zoo, walks at the park, and hours in garden. I have been slacking in my Lenten “practices” and was even beginning to feel the nudges of guilt. Then, blessedly, last night as I read from Phyllis Tickle’s Wisdom in the Waiting (Lenten Reflections) I heard the most encouraging Words.

Her reflections are basically short stories about her life raising 7 children on a farm in Tennessee. Each story is quiet, reflective and offers a glimpse into her life and spiritual journey (I highly recommend it!). In the first story I read last night, she talked about how the Lenten season not only represents a season of deep calm for the Church, but it also falls during the deep cold of winter – “[making] reflection, even penitence, a natural activity.” It marks a “final sanity” where body and land both rest. In the still, quiet, cold we can focus on self-denial, and fully experience the isolation of the wilderness leading up to Easter and the joyful resurrection. However, with this burst of warm weather we’ve been having, I have been experiencing the exact opposite! Instead of Lenten solitude and quiet reflection, my heart and mind have been buzzing with outdoor activities and plans for my blooming yard. Not only was I giving myself literal “projects” to keep me busy, but the earth itself seemed to be saying: “Wake up! It’s Spring! Get outside & enjoy the show!”

The second story I read last night spoke directly to my heart. She tells the story of a morning of quiet prayer where the spring activity in her yard keeps distracting her mind and heart: there is a rooster chasing a cat through the hedge, butterflies dancing around the yard, and the sun shining in through the kitchen window. She ends her story with this: “It was all too much for me, and I was at last seduced. I went out into the farmyard, adding, as I went, its frolic to my prayers. Of these things, too, is worship made.”

May you find time this week to be quiet… and get outside!


2 thoughts on “On Just Such a Morning

  1. Tickle’s perspective is interesting, concerning Lent, because the word “Lent” actually refers to the season of spring. Lent may be more about exactly what you’re doing–cleaning out the brush from the garden that you meant to clean last fall, and digging up the soil to be ready for new seeds (see where this is going? …cleaning out the brush of our spiritual lives and digging up the packed-down soil of our souls?). Perhaps Lent is about covenanting to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable to suffering than we are at other times during the year; our soil is exposed–bereft of the leaves that protected it during the winter, dug up and turned-over, but not yet planted. As we are more vulnerable, we are more dependent on God.
    (this is all completely stolen from Lauren Winner’s sermon at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Durham on Feb. 24, at the Women’s Lenten Quiet Day–i’ve been chewing on the sermon since then!)

    • Thanks Em!! “…our “soil” is exposed–bereft of the leaves that protected it during the winter, dug up and turned-over, but not yet planted. As we are more vulnerable, we are more dependent on God.”

      Love it!!

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