Friday, July 20, 2012

Alone

It is a rare thing for a mother to be completely alone for any significant period of time. (Insert your own version of a communal-bathroom-use story here.)

Most Fridays, while my children are in the capable and loving hands of a family friend, I plan to rest and renew my spirit.

I start in study and prayer with a cherished circle of friends.

Feeling refreshed and renewed, I throw myself into the day, rushing forward, one task after the next, hoping to complete them all with enough time left to scratch out a few solitary minutes just being.

Run to the grocery store,
a few things at Target,
deposits at the bank,
check in on a friend,
home to do some work planning,
pay bills,
work on budget,
and on and on it goes.

When the clock strikes four and it is time to retrieve my precious children, I feel a bit defeated by the day.

It has been a great luxury to accomplish all this without tending to children, but at what cost?

I did it differently today, and I had an incredible day.

After coffee and prayer with friends I returned home and breathed in the simple peace of solitude.

Watering flowers in the cool morning breeze.

Sitting beneath the umbrella on the back deck, surrounded by books, pen and paper, entering the contemplative journey.

Pausing in the fullness of the moment to inhale the Spirit and feel her healing power as I still to her presence. At once, air conditioner blades stop, the breeze cools, and I am offered a glimpse of heaven.

My studies took me to Ecclesiastes:

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

5 Fools fold their hands 
    and ruin themselves.
6 Better one handful with tranquillity
    than two handfuls with toil 
    and chasing after the wind.
       
 Ecclesiastes 4:4-6 

I have been a restless spirit this summer.

It is a time of planning and preparation for the coming year of confirmation ministry, and I have not been eager to accept this time of hibernation - to cease the DO-ing and let things go dormant to allow for the rest and renewal of my soul.

I have felt lonely.

Longing for the joy of pouring into others and the elation of watching as they sprout and grow.

And yet, in the subtle longings of my heart, this is where God has been gently leading me, begging me to be present with him as he continues the steady work of shaping my spirit, pouring into me, so that I might be his love poured out to the world.

And the trees?
They stand alone for one short season
but they are at peace,
waiting for another mystery
to enfold them
with its presence.

Macrina Wiederkehr, Season of Your Heart