Are you where you want to be?


OASES: Places of Rest

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.

Spiritual Growth: My Quiet Time

My quiet time in the morning is totally sacred to me.  I come out into my screened room with my books of reflective thoughts and I sit with God.  This is the most important part of my day.  It helps to set the tone of my heart, soul, and mind and prepares me for the day ahead.

When I am in my screened room I am surrounded by nature.  There is my garden, which I tend to in the best fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants fashion, with its green grass and beds full of bright nodding flowers.  The old WalMart gazebo wrought-iron frame sits over the central flower bed with hanging wind chimes and colorful hummingbird feeders as well as Confederate Jasmine and Trumpet Vine climbing up each corner post. And a statue of Quan (Kuan) Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassionate loving kindness nestles below at the base of a Magnolia shrub. 

The large flower bed to the left is dedicated to many green plants and shrubs. A statue of St. Francis of Assisi peeks out from a widespread clump of tall Mexican Petunias.  This bed also holds a beautiful Roserie de l’Hay, a rose bush that carries deep pink, almost purple blooms that my sister gave us because of the family name (Hay).  There is also a small lemon tree that my son Marco gifted to us on a visit a few years ago. 

The flower bed in the right hand corner of the garden has large prosperous Chinese Privets, a Cassis tree, and a Chaste tree.  The highlight of this bed is a concrete circle that I have installed with a small bird bath in the centre.  Surrounding the bird bath are many different shallow ceramic, pottery, and glass containers full of stones, crystals and shells from all over the world.  Larger stones and small rocks stand freely between the containers.  This is my way of bringing the world together in harmony.

Behind the back fence we are blessed with a small pine wood.  This is a source of continuous delight for me.  It is full of wild life.  Squirrels play in the tree tops and we have an abundance of bird life: cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, blue birds, tit mice, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, kingbirds, wrens, vireos, warblers, sparrows, crows, and hawks.  How can I not feel close to God in such surroundings?  With such beauty all around me how can I not find inner peace and solace no matter what may be troubling my heart?

And so I come each morning to quiet my body and just sit still, to quiet my mind ridding it of all worldly pressures and stresses, and to quiet my heart and make any burden less important than God’s presence.  If I can shake the noise of the world, the better I can hear God’s voice.  If I can silence the busyness that the world creates for me then I stand a chance of creating an inner sanctuary where I find rest and restoration.

God is waiting for me to create this space so that He can enter in and bless me.  It is In this silence, in this space of peace, that I can enter into intimacy with God and create and grow a wonderful relationship with Him.  It is through this relationship that I can then bless all the other relationships in my life. 

It has taken me many years to give this gift of quiet time to myself.  For those of you who follow my writings you will remember “Sabbath With Georgina”.  That is when and where  I had my first real taste of “quiet time”. I have often struggled with the “demon voices” that told me “this is a waste of time”, “you need to get on with (whatever)”, “you have nothing to gain and life is passing you by”, “what’s the point? Who’s listening to you?”. 

Today I allow nothing and no one to interfere with my precious quiet time. Whatever my first “outside” appointment of the day may be, I allow at least two hours prior to that for me and my God. This is how I feed my soul and develop my spiritual life.  This is where I begin the joy that fills my day.