Peace for your Path...

"peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." (unknown) http://www.labyrinthwellness.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

a beautiful journey

I am sentimental beyond belief over hand-written letters, my kid's art work, beach sea glass and old family photos. But regular "stuff" - not so much. That's why my grief over the decision to finally trade our thirteen-year-old car yesterday truly caught me completely off-guard.

Meet Black Beauty.


Our teenage son was not even walking when she first joined our family in the late 1990's. She faithfully carried him first in his car seat and then his booster seat on countless trips back and forth to preschool, kindergarten and elementary school. When he was finally big enough to ride without a booster seat, she promised me it would be OK. When I carpooled other friend's kids and drove on school field-trips, she promised me she would protect those children as well.


Much later, when our son was nearly as tall as me, she was there for our first, nervous side-by-side conversation on the way to middle school. And her air bag did NOT spontaneously or mysteriously deploy (thank you especially for this, old friend).


Our Black Beauty carried us on many, happy family vacations. We strapped a cargo carrier to her top when we moved our aging dogs with us from KY to FL, and she never once complained. Later, after both had moved on to Heaven, she drove us home again while our son cradled his brand-new puppy in his arms. She's hauled bicycles, surf boards, golf clubs, soccer gear, kayaks and so much more. Not one time did she ever leave me stranded alone and away from the house. If she had a flat tire or needed a battery, she always let me know while we were safely still in the driveway. Beauty helped me to avoid many potential accidents, and in all those years, we were never involved in even the tiniest fender-bender. 


The other day I had a nasty little exchange with an older woman driver in my neighborhood. I won't recount the details here, but I do understand now that part of my anger at this driver was related to my knowing that my days with Beauty were numbered. I felt this woman refused to see Beauty's true worth and instead saw only her 176,000 plus miles of weathered paint and dirt. Nor, could she seem to comprehend the preciousness of the cargo - my son and our dog - that Beauty was carrying for me at that moment. 


So, on Monday, I spent some unhurried, prayerful time telling Beauty thank you for myself. I removed the sea turtle, butterfly, dove, cross and love chimes that were draped around her rear view mirror. Afterwards, I stopped to look at the reflection of my own eyes for several moments, thinking of all the two of us had seen on Life's highway. Under the driver's seat, Beauty gave me one final gift - a tiny piece of amber sea glass. It must have dropped out of my pocket after one of our many trips to the beach. It's crescent moon shape found a perfect resting spot here beside me at my writing desk.


Afterwards, we headed off to car line pick-up, the grocery and then one final sunset together...


It's been a very Beautiful ride.












Thursday, January 19, 2012

a tiny contemplation from the Center



I had sort of a cruddy afternoon yesterday. My little temper tantrum was completely self-imposed, and I invited it to stretch far into the evening and this morning.

My son commented as we were turning out the lights late last night, "Mom, you were just looking for a fight today, weren't you?" I think I totally was.

Why is that? Why do I do look for trouble more times than I want to admit? What snaps within me that takes me from laughing one minute to wanted to claw someone's eyes out the next?

Hormones? History? Hysteria?

Whatever the cause, I totally know better. I've bitten the wormy hook of hate cast in my direction by others far too many times. I always seem to learn something whenever I allow misery to reel me in, and, thankfully, those lessons usually come while I still have a bit of breath left in me. Often, I learn them on the labyrinth.

After all our walkers were finished this morning, I removed my shoes and set out on the Path myself. I had much to ponder from yesterday's happenings and other concerns of the heart. Before I realized it, I was sitting within the Center's fifth petal feeling the sun's warmth upon my back. I intended to stay just a few moments, but remained there much, much longer. I simply did not want to leave that sacred and familiar space.

I walked in with all my questions. I was hoping - maybe even expecting - some definitive answers. I received none.

Instead, I watched an ant.

With a deep, contemplative awareness that I have been unable to attain since my retreat time at Advent, I watched this ant with my entire being. He crawled beneath my outstretched knees through the Center of the labyrinth and straight out the exit. After a few more minutes, I started to get up to follow him, thinking his exit might be a sign that it was far past time for me to leave. It was then that tragedy struck.

A Live Oak leaf blew right in front of him. He scrambled up it and teeter-tottered in the breeze for a few joyous seconds. When he climbed off, the leaf blew on top of him.

I thought nothing of this at first until he didn't move for over a minute. When I got up to investigate, I realized with despair that the leaf had actually sliced off one of his middle legs. Imagine being so incredibly delicate that a leaf becomes a deadly razor capable of ending your life...

The ant now crawled in an erratic pattern around the exterior of the labyrinth's center in apparent shock. The song "Fragile" by Sting started playing in my mind. I took a few, sad steps onto the Path. When I doubled-back to check on him, he was gone.

Vanished. Like the wind. Odd.

And I am left wondering, how is it that I can have more genuine compassion for an ant than for an angry human being?

And wondering, again, if the compassion that I lack for her or for him or for you or for them might be more deeply rooted in my own lack of compassion for -

me? 

I wonder.













Wednesday, January 18, 2012

walk the labyrinth with us tomorrow

Join us tomorrow, January 19th, between 10am and 12pm for THIRD THURSDAYS ON THE LABYRINTH at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. For more info visit http://www.goodsheponline.org

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TheMotherhood.com has a brand-new design TODAY!

Check out the brand-new look of TheMotherhood.com and be a part of the first Live Chat of the year beginning today at 1pm Eastern Time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012. May it be filled with Grace.

This tiny post is in response to someone else's which read:  "2012. May it be all you deserve."

God help us to receive not what we actually deserve, but rather please pour upon us Your divine Grace. Amen.