I like looking at things that are tall. When I walk, I look at the treetops (which is sometimes hazardous to my feet), and I look at the mountains. Though I love them both, the mountains provide the best food for thought. There is mystery there. In spite of all the expert climbers who have ever climbed, I am convinced there are places that no human foot has touched. I imagine treasures there, known only to the birds — a rare blossom rising from a crag in the rocks, a hidden cave that glistens with veins of gold, a hidden spring, a strange creature never previously seen.
Beyond their physical mystery, mountains remind me that there is so much more to life than I am able to discover or grasp. There is so much more in this world that I will never know. This is a source of abiding joy for me. Life is inexhaustible. There is always more. There is always hope. There is always God.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I’m thinking of all the people who will be alone during the upcoming holidays. After I was orphaned as a teenager, I was alone for many years, even when I was surrounded by people. I know how it feels to be alone. Holidays were the worst.
Whoever you are, and wherever you are, I will be praying for you. If hope eludes you, please know that I will be hoping on your behalf.
If you believe in God, I encourage you to pray for yourself and others. If you don’t believe in God, I encourage you to pray as if youdid.
St. Teresa of Avila’s Bookmark:
Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
The one who has God
God alone suffices.
The Rio Grande passes quietly through the valley where we live in Southern New Mexico. In spite of the current, the surface of the river remains calm because the water flows over a smooth, sandy river bed. To cool off on hot summer weekends, families with children wade or sit in the shallow water near the banks. They stay close to the edges of the river. There can be quicksand near the center.
I’ve been thinking about serenity and peace lately. If I wish to remain outwardly serene, I need to be at peace beneath the surface.
For the most part, I am at peace with myself. Yet, from time to time I find a submerged rock or tree branch that disturbs the surface. Then, there is turbulence for a while, until I figure out what to do with it.
This time at home has given me an opportunity to reflect on the past. I suspect many others have been doing the same.
Looking back on my life, I have to admit that I made a few wrong turns. Fortunately, God is very much like GPS. He knows the address of the final destination. Every time I take a wrong turn, He simply recalculates.
Outside, my garden is growing. I water it, and God does the rest. Inside, I have discovered a garden of unfinished projects that need my attention.
So far, I have completed a crocheted shoulder wrap that doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern. Yet, it’s wearable. Pictured above is my unfinished embroidered pillow case. I neglected it for so many years that I forgot how to do the back stitch. (It was much harder doing the stitch forward before my memory kicked in.)
Waiting in the wings is the velveteen fabric destined for living room chair cushions. And for over a year, an unfinished red shawl has gathered dust on my triangular loom. It only needs a few more rows and the fringe.
A few days ago on our morning walk, my husband and I came across an interesting herd of sheep (we think). At first we thought they were goats, but there was something sheep-like about them. They were doing important work – keeping the weeds at bay under the pecan trees.
I guess these sheep are a little like people. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which ones are the sheep and which ones are the goats.
Ever since my conversion to Catholicism, I have been fascinated by the mystery of the Incarnation, regardless of the time of year. Christ among us as true God and true man – this mystery seems completely illogical, and at the same time, a stroke of Godly genius. How else could we, who had lost our original connection to God, find him again unless we had a human person, who was also God, to bridge the gap.
One Christmas morning a few years ago, I had a startling realization. Prior to that, I had unconsciously believed that God gave us his Son in the Incarnation, only to take him back in the Ascension. That morning, I suddenly realized that God gave Jesus to be our very own forever. How can I understand the magnitude of this gift? Now my prayer is that God will give me to Jesus to be his very own forever.
In Southern New Mexico we have two summer seasons. From the end of May to mid-July it is hot and dry. Then, sometime in July, the monsoon season begins. The days are slightly cooler. In the afternoons, tall, white cumulous clouds form in the sky. Then in the evenings, if we are lucky, it begins to rain. If we are really lucky, it pours.
The duality of our summers reminds me of the perplexing experience of contemplative prayer. There can be long periods of dryness, when prayer is difficult and unenjoyable. Then, when we least expect it, God pours down an abundance of grace, and prayer becomes delightful again. The dry periods purge us of our arrogance and self-satisfaction. The blessings remind us of God’s marvelous forgiveness and love.
This morning as I walked in the mountains, I was enjoying the scent of the pines and the cool morning breeze. It took awhile before I began to notice the blossoming weeds that periodically graced the edges of the path. How often do I miss the small treasures in life because I am focused on the big picture? I have a feeling that each little blossom is as cherished by God as the towering Ponderosa.