Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Mother-Daughter Journey

Hannah and I left on her Rite of Passage, Saturday, July 28th, heading for Puerto Rico, and more specifically the Rainforest here. It was a whirlwind day of travel, to say the least.

Although I am journaling our experience every single day, and will share more later, for now I wanted to send off this much. Hope you find a little something worth holding on to......

Journal Entry, July 29th:  "I'm beginning to feel my heartbeat fall into rhythm with the heartbeat of the rainforest. My soul is sitting cross-legged and happy at the edge of a place called Peace."

Peace be yours today and always,

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Winter's Journey

(A piece written several years ago, when I was going through a difficult time and was in a difficult place).

I took a walk through the January woods the other day, in search of winter’s beauty.  It was to be the first step on my journey to revive and reclaim my faith, which had become battered and sorely bruised.  My heart had quietly whispered to me that in the beauty of winter, I would once again see the face of God.  However, as I began my journey on the snow-covered path, I didn’t see the face of God at all.  I saw only the deadness that winter had to offer.
     The trees were stripped bare of their beautiful fall garments, and their bark was as dry and brittle as my faith had become.  Nothing moved except winter’s cold wind that stung my cheeks and burned my lungs.  Even the branches overhead appeared as gnarly, bent fingers clawing at each other in some imaginary struggle.  “There is no beauty here,” my mind scolded my breaking heart.  “You won’t find your faith in such a desolate place.”  My heart, weak as it was, pleaded that I continue on.  So I trudged deeper into the winter woods.
     Four dead leaves halted my search for faith in its snowy tracks.  These four dead leaves clung lifelessly to a dead, barren branch and my withering heart could stand no more.  A half-crazy laugh bubbled beneath the surface of my being, as I felt myself slip off the edge of hope.  Dead leaves dangling from a dead branch!  You’ve got to be kidding!  “You’re dead!” my mind screamed.  “Give up the fight!  You have nothing left to offer!  Just let go!”  My mind then quieted and spoke once again to my heart.  “There is no beauty here.  Only dead leaves, dead branches, and a faith to match.”
     It was then, when both my feet and my search had stopped, that I caught my first sight of winter’s true beauty that day.  A deer in the distance lifted her head, alerted to my strange and new scent.  With my thoughts interrupted and my feet no longer moving through the crusted snow, my heart heard a faint voice whisper, “Be still.”  The deer darted deeper into the safety of the thicket, but my feet remained firmly planted on the snowy path.  “Be still,” the whisper came again, and my mind obeyed.  The words rustled once more through the four dead leaves dangling from the branch above my head.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  I breathed the words in deeply, and as I did, they seeped into the cracks and crevices of both my heart and mind.  I closed my eyes, and allowed my heart to pull in all that was around me.  I heard the pecking of a bird on a limb high above in the treetops.  I smelled the beauty of winter in my prickling, cold nose.  And I felt the hand of God upon my shoulder.  “Be still and know that I am God.”
     Slowly opening my eyes, I was no longer standing in the same winter woods in which I began my journey.  There were sights and smells and touches of life all around me.  I was afraid to move, for the spell of faith being restored I feared to break.  As I tilted my head upward, in search of the pecking bird, the warm, whispering voice washed down upon my face.  “You are my beloved.”  Tears welled up within my eyes, and the guilt in my heart protested.  “Me? No, there must be some mistake.”  For really, how can one who has lost the sight and touch of their faith ever be considered “beloved?”  But the voice would not be silenced, and as it chanted again, the beauty of winter seeped into my being, and together my heart and mind offered up one single response.  “Thank you.”
     “Be still.”  I wrote these words into the untouched snow beside my path, and into the untouched cavity of my faith-searching heart.  It is only in being still that we can see what really lies before us and within us.  In my search, I discovered my faith was never truly lost.  It was only hidden, like the forest floor beneath the snowy blanket of white.  And the face of God was never absent from my view.  I had just forgotten what it could look like.  The face of a deer, a bird in flight high overhead, and even four dead leaves dangling from a tree branch.  Yes, even the leaves were now a symbol of faith for me.  My eyes and heart had opened to see them for what they truly were—a reminder for that tree—that living tree—of what it used to be and what it would be again in the coming spring.  Those leaves didn’t abandon the tree.  They stayed, even through some of the most harshest and coldest of days that tree had to face.  We all have someone who stays with us through our harshest and coldest of days.  God never leaves us or abandons us, even when we feel we have lost our faith.  Like the four leaves, He stays.  That is the beauty of winter, and in turn, the face of God.

Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran