all is calm. all is bright.
the sky is grey, but the snow on the ground gives a beautiful glow to my home. my empty home. i just vacuumed so there are still those gratifying streaks in the carpet. a basket of yarn sits on the couch. my planter of succulents still thrives somehow by the window. the wreath is up, the tree is lit.
i can not put into words how full i feel today, for the past number of weeks really. this season of resting has been sheer gift. it has given me the space to begin cultivating some amazing rhythms in my days. i get the kids off to school and then i sit with my coffee (sugar-free dairy-free, but somehow still delicious thanks to soy cream and xylitol). i journal. two pages of whatever is running through my mind. sometimes i start and think "there's nothing running through my mind" and then two pages later i have unearthed hopes and fears and longings and frustrations that i didn't know were there. and because i do this almost every day, it's like a daily brain purge, heart purge, soul purge. sometimes i write prayers, sometimes i write things i will never say out-loud - but the beauty of it is, because i've written it down, i don't need to! i put down my journal and pick up my Bible or my prayer guide. it is incredible how often the psalm or scripture or the prayer for the day directly correlates with what i've just spewed out in my journal. i mean, freaky incredible. like the God of the universe whispered words in a man's ear thousands of years ago for me to read... today.
and He did!
i am wondering how i will keep this morning rhythm when i stop the resting and start the working. i think, and i can't believe i'm writing this....i think i'll have to wake up early. i honestly have " i think i can i think i can" looping through my mind at the moment. waking up early is not my forte. it's not even my pianissimo. but there have already been a couple mornings where i've actually done it. a number of saturdays where i have actually left scott in the warm cozy bed and transferred my sleepy self to the couch with the coffee and journal.
this, my friends, is nothing short of miracle.
but as i'm lying there, hearing the kids bustling downstairs for their saturday morning hour of television (is someone out there judging that? really?!), contemplating whether to allow the sleepiness to pull me back under, i picture my journal, and the catharsis of writing. i think of how much healthier i'll feel throughout the day having taken the time to sit with myself and God. and, let's be honest, i think of coffee. and i magically arise!
for the past number of weeks i have sat with my pen and fresh piece of paper and have asked "how do i feel?". and i feel calm. i feel grounded. i feel health. i feel intense gratitude. i feel hope. and Brene Brown* is teaching me to sit in that, to open up my heart and breath deeply the incredibly joy that surrounds me, to understand the vulnerability of such joy, and the desire to protectively squelch it with a "it can't last" thought. i ignore fear and enjoy the moment. i enjoy the two pages.
i enjoy the day.
so, we'll see what is to come. i mean, truth is, the longing of my heart is that this season will lead me into a season of more of this season!! and who wouldn't want that. but i know that i'm called to more. i'm called to help with the financial burden of living in North Vancouver. i'm called to intentional relationships of mentoring and being mentored. it's possible, quite possible, that i'm called to a bookclub. i think i'm called to teach in some capacity. and i'm most definitely called to gathering and encouraging and collaborating with the artists in our church. what that all looks like? Lord only knows. but thankfully, He actually does - know.
my list of essentials is this - no matter what comes next: i need to daily spend time with God, i need to prioritize self-reflection, i need to exercise, i must continue to eat in a healthy manner, i must sabbath, i must be intrinsically involved in the lives of my children and husband, i must have time for deep friendship, and i must paint.
i think that's my recipe for health. no measurements needed, just eye-ball it.
i pray for calm and bright to be your experience today. that you would take time to look around and in, to practice reflection and gratitude, to recognize God's unyielding love and presence. may this advent season lead us all to a new birth in our dirty stable lives. amen.
*Brene Brown is the writer of "the Gifts of Imperfection" and "Daring Greatly". She is a sociologist who has studied the areas of shame, vulnerability, and whole-hearted living.