i feel well fed.
not just because i made a killer potato salad for dinner tonight - with avocado and shrimp and a lime-dijon dressing - no, i mean more than physical hunger.
we've had thunderstorms here, and monsoon rains. lots of humidity and excitement in the air - i love the tension of a thunderstorm, the sound, the light, and the warm rains are incredible. today however, the rains have stopped and given us the gift of blue sky, long grass, happy gardens and green. so, i'm environmentally fed.
on saturday i went to a silent prayer retreat, hosted by the women's ministry coordinator of our church, and held at a catholic retreat center in the heart of the city of saskatoon. it's an incredible place, lush gardens, sprawling trees, walks down to the river, statues placed in tiled alcoves, fountains and artwork and rooms with prayer benches and signs marked 'silent'. i loved it. surprised? i'm sure many don't think of the word silent when they think of me, but it is a testimony to God's work in my life that the words "silent prayer retreat" didn't make me want to run for the hills screaming. and it felt truly miraculous that i enjoyed two hours of just me and my Maker. i used to put the timer on for 10 minutes of prayer and start looking at the clock after 4 minutes thinking "really?!".
i feel like God is bringing me to a place of trusting Him in a new way, in a way of letting my heart unfold in front of Him without too much fear of the results. i've been asking the question "what is my deepest hearts desire? what motivates me at my core?" (a question i was encouraged to ask in the book "sacred rhythms" by Ruth Haley-Barton). it's an interesting question that initially made me feel nervous - what if i come to see that my deepest desires are not being met? what will that mean? but in the asking and revealing God has shown me that he has formed that deepest deep within, for His purposes and in His likeness. so, now to live it out! now to shelter my desire, to protect it from my own twistings, and to use it for God's glory.
i know i'm being a bit cryptic here but i hope you're following me. i've had some spiritual food, and feel beautifully full for the moment.
also while i was on the retreat i went for a walk out in the misty rain and was breathing deeply and marveling at creation (and the catholic church! where are Protestant retreat centers with this much attention to the arts and beauty?). i stepped in a mud puddle and fell on my butt. it was actually one of the more graceful falls of my life, one foot up in the air, and straight down - it had the sensation of slow motion. i sat on the ground laughing at the thought of how many silent witnesses there might be. people on their own prayer retreats, looking out their windows, deep in contemplation, seeing a young woman out for a stroll...wait a minute...she's down! did anyone else see that?!!! she looked like a graceful rock. how old is she? maybe she's not so young....
i had to ice my hip and take pain killers to get to sleep that night. how old am i?!
i bought a bright pink bike yesterday at walmart. i know, i know. but i'm not the best bicyclist so why spend the money? this bike seems to be calling to me from the garage. i can't wait to take it out and feel the wind in my hair and sit up straight with my head back, laughing. i'll be flavia de luce! i'll travel my children all over this fair city like the von trapps in curtains. i need to give my bike a name. maybe flavia will do.
it is past my bedtime but i would like to leave you with a prayer. this was read to begin the prayer retreat and as soon as i heard it i wanted to give it to as many people as possible. so, a gift. for you.
a morning offering
i bless the night that nourished my heart
to set the ghosts of longing free
into the flow and figure of dream
that went to harvest from the dark
bread for the hunger no one sees.
all that is eternal in me
welcomes the wonder of this day,
the field of brightness it creates
offering time for each thing
to arise and illuminate.
i place on the alter of dawn:
the quiet loyalty of breath,
the tent of thought where i shelter,
waves of desire i am shore to
and all beauty drawn to the eye.
may my mind come alive today
to the invisible geography
that invites me to new frontiers,
to break the dead shell of yesterdays,
to risk being disturbed and changed.
may i have the courage today
to live the life that I would love,
to postpone my dream no longer
but do at last what i came here for
and waste my heart on fear no more.