First thought…

image

I wake up in the morning asking myself
what can I do today,
how can I help the world today.

JULIA BUTTERFLY HILL

(a network of grateful living)

Morning’s first thoughts. As the sun crests the skyline – do we awaken thinking of ourselves or do we reach beyond, praying for open eyes and softened hearts?

The world calls us to greet each day ready to reach out with compassion for all beings. 

How we lead and how we follow…

As I write this entry I am in my third day of retirement.  Unexpected as it is, I’m grateful for the time to focus on rest and healing. It is often said ‘we make plans and God laughs’! For over a year I have listened closely to understand where my ministry was being directed.  Even though I was certain what the next step would look like, I continued to be drawn to quiet places where normal ways of processing were conveniently removed.

There is much to be said for the comfort of companions along life’s journey. My assist dog, Lilly, has been such a companion for over eight years. We have certainly learned the importance of paying attention to one another and I have often found her quiet presence to be a strength and comfort. With all the emotions brought on by change, this patient friend has been by my side. The picture I share speaks to that relationship.

The labyrinth is a symbol of the turns we meet as we dare walk the road of faith. By my side, Lilly pays close attention to my turns while I ‘walk’ this path and soon she finds her own path next to mine. Trusting in our ability to sense one another’s movement, we journey to the center and return to our beginning point – spirits settled and trust strengthened.

This is about how we lead and how we follow. Nothing is simple  when it comes to change yet the Companion’s gift to be near and compassionate helps to uphold us during transition. This is my experience – I welcome hearing about yours!

the Rocky Path to follow…

I am that which is highest. I am that which is lowest. I am that which is All.  (“I Am” by Julian of Norwich)


Grateful for the inspiration from the ‘Art Blog’ at Episcopal Café — I find myself reflecting on this picture as an image of preparation. Labyrinths provide  journeys that are often filled with emotion and insight. I have many personal stories of my experience rolling on labyrinths. Alone or with another, these journeys open the way for a more personal relationship with God. On this evening I am reminded of  the song, ‘By my side’,  from the musical Godspell:

Where are you going?
Where are you going?
Can you take me with you?
For my hand is cold
And needs warmth
Where are you going?

Far beyond where the horizon lies
Where the horizon lies
And the land sinks into mellow blueness
Oh please, take me with you

Let me skip the road with you
I can dare myself
I’ll put a pebble in my shoe
And watch me walk
I can walk and walk!

I shall call the pebble Dare
We will talk, we will talk about walking
Dare shall be carried
And when we both have had enough
I will take him from my shoe, singing:
“Meet your new road!”
Then I’ll take your hand
Finally glad
That you are here
By my side ( adapted)

 

Stretched out before us is a “walk” with Dare. May the twists and turns  of these next three days bring all of us to that moment when we can, meet our new road — finally glad that God is here by our side.

Image above: “Labyrinth at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico,” by Christine Valters Paintner OblSB, PhD, REACE