Photo Credit: David Clode, Unsplash
Sometimes life calls us to slow down a bit and step aside, to quiet the endless chatter of our minds and the demands of our outer world, and to become still.
We are invited to notice the Divine nature of everything around us. In that stillness, we come to acknowledge the beauty of song and the vulnerability of our wounds, the magic of the seeming insignificant and the terror of the unknown. We find grace to tend our needs and return to our center.
And once we have been renewed, we bring the message back to others who, in turn, can shake themselves awake and look at life in new ways – as if for the very first time.
It does not matter what brought you here, or which path stripped away your protective layers to leave you trembling before the awe of life. You are here now, and so I would like to share with you a vision of things that touch our hearts.
I want to gift you a glimpse of the intricate and miraculous web of life and watch the recognition light up your eyes. I want to share with you the grace of a few small things and stir the deep memory of endless opportunities to love despite the vastness of an incomprehensible universe.
Today, I awoke to the symphony of birds whose names I’ll never know and marveled at the incredible complexity of their harmonies as they exuberantly welcomed the arrival of a bright new day. It spoke to me of joy.
In the street, parents walked their children to the park, small hands swallowed up by theirs, smiling as they inclined their heads to hear stories bubbling from those rosy lips and downy cheeks, excited at the possibilities of a new day, and it spoke to me of hope.
I remembered the way the red hen hunched down and spread her wings so her baby chicks could find shelter from the rain as they huddled beneath her breast, and I felt love.
After the rain, the fern at the base of the stairs finally succeeded in breaking through the stony cracks to unfurl its tiny fronds to warm sunlight, and it reminds me of courage.
The way young people lean eagerly, expectantly into their future even when they don’t know what it holds, and it speaks of confidence.
And the way the old dog stretches out to let the morning sun warm its stiff joints, surrendering to each present moment.
And the way the car hesitates for a moment before the gear engages, reminding me of my own doubts.
And the way the grackles peck at the oranges in the trees, carefully grooming themselves with the oils and then announcing their gleaming handiwork with loud caws before flying off to what they do next. And I am reminded that self-nurture precedes all service.
And the way a sentence can leap right off the page to pierce your heart with its honesty and truth, so you need to stop for a minute to experience the awe and beauty of it.
And the way you sometimes glimpse someone in a vulnerable moment and see right inside them to the soul that’s there, and your heart wells with compassion and love for its innocence.
Yes, I know there is a lot of pain and suffering in our world. Good things end and bad things linger on, we fail and struggle and get hurt, hammered by loss and accident and tragedy until, someday, we are freed to slip away into the darkness beyond it all.
But I also know we carry awesome potential, and our experiences can make us kinder and more loving if we let them. I know we can choose how we respond to life: either dismissing dissonance as nonsense and huddling behind walls or embracing things that touch our hearts, even when we do not understand their full meaning.
Life speaks to us in a myriad of ways that cannot be measured or understood unless we listen carefully, and then are able to accept the messages of love, courage and hope. When we honor the grace of small things, life can be a beautiful dialogue with our souls.
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