Before you start shouting “spelling”, let me explain. The word “oases” is the plural for the word “oasis”. And just what is an oasis you might ask. Well, the New Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines oasis as “a fertile or green area in an arid region”.
I’m sure you can all conjure up an illustration from some book you have read or a movie you have seen at some time in your past. A vast stretch of yellow desert seeming never to end, unfolding under the scorching midday sun. A straggling line of over-burdened camels plodding through the heat, ridden by dark-skinned men in their long robes and traditional keffiyeh (headdresses). I feel thirsty just thinking about it.
Then, suddenly, there is a splash of vivid green. A half a dozen palm trees and a small patch of luxurious green surrounding a natural waterhole appear on the horizon. There is refreshment, rest, and restoration; a small sanctuary in that land of never-ending parched sand.
The first thirty five years of my life were very arid in many places for long stretches of time, especially the period from age twenty to thirty five. However, as I look back over the years from today’s vantage point, I can see that there were many oases along the way that literally saved my life and refreshed and restored my soul, even though I did not recognize them for what they were at the time.
I am sure if you look back over your life you will be able to recognize similar oases that helped you through the tough times of your journey. Sometimes these oases present themselves as people, special angels that cross your path and help to lighten the load of the burdens you are carrying at that time. People who listen to you, offer you their broad shoulders to cry on, and encourage you to become the person God intended you to be.
In other moments these oases may be in the form of a special place. Somewhere that is full of peace which offers you comfort and solace. A place that allows you to retreat from the world and all its distractions and difficulties. A sanctuary that offers you the opportunity to regroup, to relax, to find solutions. A moment in time to come home to yourself, to grieve, to cry, and then to find the strength to carry on.
I am grateful for the oases that God placed on my path. Those places of peace and restfulness, those people who supported and restored me and offered me a haven of of safety in the midst of trouble, danger, or difficulty. In some measure they have all lead me to the place of joy that is my life today.
I feel like a Mamma Bear in the middle of the great hibernation. I have no desire to stir out of my warm cave. I have no desire to get up, go out, do anything at all. I just want to stay curled up where it’s nice and warm and be cozy.
Much of the country may be under snow right now. Thank God Florida isn’t. But that still doesn’t change the fact that it is freezing cold – by Floridian standards. We have had heavier frost the last two nights than we have had all winter. I almost can’t believe I’m referring to winter, freezing temperatures, and Florida all in the same paragraph. But for whatever reason, we are experiencing a true winter season in the sunny south this year.
I could make it all about me and say that perhaps I need yet another lesson in gratitude; gratitude that we don’t get this kind of weather every year. Or perhaps I needed to learn once again not to take things for granted. Humility would be attached to that one. But, because it’s NOT all about me, I guess we’re just having an abnormally cold winter.
The reason this is such a big deal for me is because it affects my whole temperament. I plain don’t like the cold. It makes me grumpy and keeps me locked inside. Not that I don’t go out; I get my errands done and meet all my commitments. There’s just no joy to it, and if I can stay home, I do.
It’s most definitely put a crimp in my outdoors style. Haven’t been able to get outside to do much gardening, and the bad weather has affected the garden big time this year. On those odd few days that it has been warm enough to get out there, I have hacked away a lot of frost-burned plants and trees. Damage control has been the main name of the game.
The other major area that has been impacted is my writing. I really don’t like to sit in front of the computer for any length of time indoors. Even if it is cold outside that somehow doesn’t make it enjoyable to be writing indoors. So I have done very little writing and that is an irritation in and of itself. And what has frustrated me even more is that some days the sun has been shining, the sky is blue, and it has all the makings of a “come hither” look outside, but the thermometer has hovered in the low fifties:-(.
But this morning, four of my readings really got into my heart. Two were on the topic of “now"/the present moment”, and two were about “commitment” – my commitment to life and God, and God’s commitment to me. One of the “now” readings was headed by a quotation from Buddha:
”There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.”
Only Buddha could have said that! The short reflections following the quotation said: “Even with our eyes open, we sometimes go through our days as if we were sleepwalking. these are the only days we have; we need to be aware of them.” (From the Daily Book Of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone.)
Both the quotation and the reflection really tugged at my heart, and I realized that even though it is good to have “down days”, days when I am not busy doing, it is probably not good to have too many of them in row. And that is what I have been doing in my great hibernation. I have enjoyed some great books, I have caught up on some Tivo, but I have also been “sleepwalking” through a lot of my days.
I have done a little writing but it’s been my “other writing”, the stuff I hope to turn into a book. But I have been thinking that there is no reason that I shouldn’t share some of that here in this forum. Each short chapter is a self-contained story unto itself and can stand alone. So keep your eyes open for articles under a new topic: Oases. See you on the pages!!