We need rain! Our grass is turning brown from intense heat and barely any rain the last several weeks. The grass was a beautiful green most of the summer, with showers almost daily, and then not much since mid-July. I have a friend who keeps me informed of their weather and they said its raining almost every day. I asked them to send some our way but that didn’t work. I mowed patches of grass and dirt last Friday and the lack of moisture was noticeable.
I’m curious how in some places they’ve had too much rain and its flooding, in other places like California forest fires rage and they are desperate for it. My friend who’s been getting rain almost every day reminded me of the Biblical statement; “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” That didn’t help because I don’t know if I’m doing something right or wrong but I’d be happy to change to receive the needed rain.
Like summer droughts our souls are at times parched, cracked from dryness, and we need nourishment to replenish us. A person facing a difficult time asked a question yesterday about burnout and I told them some of my symptoms a few years ago and pointed them to my writings from the last several years as one person’s experience of spiritual drought and emotional barrenness. I hope a post or a poem helps remind them what I have learned; the mountaintop highs and the valley lows are all part of this journey of life. Rain does indeed fall on the just and unjust. Don’t let your desperation for rain, for nourishment, convince you the healing will be quick or easy. Rest. Find peace in the dust and dirt. Trust that it will not be like this forever.
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Mind Made Up –
Today is April 5th. I mowed my grass today because springtime makes things grow. Usually, I mow grass on Friday or Saturday. The reason I mowed today is that rain is in the forecast tomorrow and it might snow on Saturday. Snow. Did I mention we’re in the month of April?
The weather cannot make up its mind. My mind has been made up. I’m ready for spring, all of it. Not a little, not touch and go, not warm one day and cold the next, sunny and then snow. The problem is my mind made up doesn’t impact the weather or the seasons. I don’t have that kind of power. I can be frustrated that I mowed grass in jacket and toboggan today. I can be wary of cool breezes and cold noses. However, my wariness doesn’t change things either. Sigh.
So, I accept what I cannot change, understand the finiteness of humankind and remember that gaining wisdom begins with humility.
The sun, which shone so brightly the last couple of days filling my spirit and mind with images of spring, is gone today, replaced by gray, gloomy clouds. My wife’s flu bug which bit her last week seems to have been squished and she’s on the mend. The weekend is winding down and soon a new week will start.
I commented to a friend today about a photograph taken about 4 years ago that; “sometimes it seems long ago and other times yesterday.” I think that’s life. When younger I was told; “time moves faster as you get older.” It didn’t make sense to me then but now, on the other side of the hill (midlife), it’s a boulder rolling faster and faster.
The present moment, where we long to continuously dwell, is the one place that brings thankfulness, humility, and acceptance. We are thankful because we are only “grass that whithers, blows away, and its place remembers it no more.” Every moment is precious, even the ones we’d rather not experience. We are humbled by the brevity of ourselves and the things around us. Nothing is permanent which we can touch, see, feel, hear, or taste. “All things are passing away.” By accepting this truth we can choose to consciously, deliberately, live leaving nothing unfinished, and embrace this flash of light we call being alive.
It is COLD today. Thankfully the sun is out and the icicles and patches are melting. The yard looks so brown and bland. I went to check the mail last night and the ice on the grass crunched under my feet. It’s winter and though I try not to have favorites this particular season isn’t in my top three.
It’s hard to see the green for all the brown but knowledge, wisdom and experience tell me that it won’t stay that way. Even today, in spite of the cold, seeds are germinating and sometime, hopefully soon, they will make themselves known. I anticipate that day but need to be patient. Long, cold, seasons have their place in our lives. True, they help us appreciate other seasons when they come but finding peace and acceptance in the barren times is an important discipline.
Too often we project our lives to a period in front of or behind us when we can discover life, real life, exactly where we are now.
I finished mowing the grass a few minutes ago. Last week’s rain did its work and the grass has exploded over the past 7 days.
This past fall, winter and spring, Beth and I added several objects to the back yard. Trees, bushes, grape-vine trellises, garden boxes, fire rings and more. While beautiful and adding character the yard they do make it more difficult to mow this year. There’s a lot bobbing and weaving, dodging and not quite being able to reach every spot of grass with the riding mower. As a result I have to also use a push mower, a weed eater and sometimes even my hands. After I’m finished I look over the yard and wonder if it’s worth all the extra effort?
Wisdom teaches us the more stuff we have in our lives the fuller they become and the harder they are to manage. While some things such as healthy relationships and productive hobbies are needed its prudent now and then to examine how much passion, energy and time all the extras take and if some need to be cut or trimmed out of our lives.
I know, but I often forget, that life keeps going no matter what is happening.
I mentioned to my Dad this past week that even on the day of the funeral it was just another day in so many ways with one major difference.
Even though it was different for us it wasn’t an odd occurrence. People die every day, others are born. The first breath we take is one less breath we have before we breathe our last, whenever that may be. So, what do we do in between the first and the last?
So far this summer I have officiated 2 funerals. One for my grandmother who was 92, one for an 11 month year old boy. Both weeks the grass grew, the sun shone, the wind blew and I was able to breathe.
This week I have reflected upon where I am between the two breaths, the first and the last. Which am I closer to? If we aren’t careful we can get distracted, disturbed by meditating on this question. There are times though to consider what “between the breaths” looks like…
A favorite quote of mine is from the country philosopher group “Alabama.”
“I’m in a hurry to get things done, I rush and rush until life’s no fun. All I’m going to do is live and die and I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
What if today we are just one day away from the last breath? Can a life that matters be found in one day? One moment? One breath? To live with an awareness that brings us mindfully, presently, into the reality of death and life moving on can change the way we see the world and each other.
Care to give it a try?
peace and light,