In the last few weeks leading up to the change of clocks, I would go out to my lanai and claim my God-time. One day I realized, that even though I had gone out at the same time as usual – about seven o’clock – the morning light had changed. In fact it was not fully light but rather that eerie time of in between when the sun has not quite risen but there is a pallor about the sky.
That was the first time I allowed myself to even consider that summer was ending and autumn was pushing through the door. I sat and watched, and listened. There was absolute silence. Normally as I go out there in the morning, squirrels are rustling through the trees and the birds are beginning to awaken with soft twitters and small trills. But on this morning I noticed the total quiet.
Although I accept the changing of the seasons, after all there’s very little that I can do to stop them changing, I do not like it. In sixty six years, however, I have learned that lesson. I think much of my non-acceptance stems from my British upbringing. In England, once whatever precious little summer that we got was over, then we were always assured of grey cold autumn coming in, followed by an even greyer and colder winter. Grey dooms my heart and soul. I get de-pressed and sad, and I’m just not my usual bright sunny self.
So even though I live in Florida now and the summer blurs into autumn, and winter usually is not so cold (let’s forget about last winter,shall we!!!) and definitely not so grey, I still have an imbedded expectation around this particular change of season, that the grey is about to descend upon me. I am grateful to be living here because I soon realize that autumn-into-winter is not synonymous with grey and cold. In fact, in the almost seven years that I have been here, I remember sunbathing frequently in the “winter” months and reveling in the fact.
So, as I was saying, in these past few weeks I have watched the morning light grow dimmer each day, even though I have gone out there at about the same time. Then, suddenly, about ten days ago I realized that there was barely a glimmer of light. I sat there and had to squint my eyes to make out shapes and forms in the un-light. But then I had the unexpected pleasure of watching the dawn light creep across the sky and in those pre-sunrise moments I began to make out smaller shapes and forms, and the details of leaves, flowers, trees, gazebo, slowly filled themselves in.
Then, in one glorious instant, a shaft of bright light came across the side garden fence and illuminated a slice of the picture in front of me. The trunk of a tree, a few branches, a small angle of the top of the gazebo, all became as clear as if in a naif painting. Moment by moment, my back yard and the woods beyond were suddenly lit up like the opening scene in a live theater. Almost immediately the rustling, the soft twitters, and the small chirps began until there was a full-throated burst of bird song.
Thank you God for the joy and the beauty of your creation. No matter what the season, there is always something wonderful, something awesome, to see and marvel over. I hope I always keep my open eyes and my open heart to appreciate the glory that is our world.
The other day I was reading a small reflection about how we are all part of the tapestry of life. The reflection said that we are all unique threads in the great tapestry of life, each with our own subtle texture and color. It lead to to think about my own life and to see how that is a unique tapestry of its own. The events that have taken place, the people that have crossed my path, and my response or reaction to both of these, have all contributed to the rich cloth that has been woven.
I also think of my life as representative of the seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Some of the threads are black and grey and dark brown and these form the winter scenes. Others are bright yellow and light green and various hews of light blue creating renewal of life spring scenes. Bright gold, vivid red and brilliant greens and blues form the summer, and then there are the gorgeous burnt tones of autumn – orange, ochre yellows, rich rusty browns and deep reds and purples.
As I thought more about this particular view of life I had a sudden memory of “photo tapestries”. This type of art form came onto the scene maybe ten or fifteen years ago. The artist would take thousands of photos of human faces. Then he or she would render them as miniature pictures and lay them out to create one large unique image of a specific face, usually someone famous such as the Mona Lisa.
And so I thought of God as the artist creating each of us and then allowing us to co-create our life tapestry/photo through our behavior choices and responses to life events. He would then take each completed photo and lay it out with all the others to form a complete photo-tapestry of the whole world from start to finish.
Just imagine, we are each a tiny, unique, infinitesimal yet very important part of the whole. We are each a wonderful creation of God with possibilities and opportunities to create a grand self portrait. Then he, the Grand Master Artist, gets to take our individual portraits – our works of art – to blend them together to create his work of art – the human history of the world.
As I thought this all through it made me want to make the rest of my life as beautiful and as interesting as possible. I want my life to represent joy and love and laughter. I know I have created many winter scenes, but I have also managed to weave in to my own personal tapestry/life portrait much of spring and summer and the glorious tones of autumn.
Then, when it is time, I will lay my gift at the feet of the Master. Only he knows where my creative work shall be placed in the bigger scheme of things. Only he knows the unique offering that I have made to the whole. Only he knows and can appreciate the bigger picture. And when the time is right I am sure he will allow me to share that too.
I have been in a “dry spell” again:-(. And yet I have so much I want to write about. So many things running around my head. But it all seems stuck inside and I haven’t been able to release it. It is so frustrating. So let me start somewhere and see if I can unblock something.
So much has happened in my life in the last couple of months. Oh nothing monumental or earth-shattering – just life. But it has been so much more than the various bouts of sickness that I have had to contend with. Towards the end of February we had an amazing Lenten Mission at our church. A man fired with the Holy Spirit, Fr. Jim Curtin from Wisconsin, came and woke up a new spirit in our parish. I will eventually write a full posting about that.
One morning in March (fortunately in one of my healthy periods!!), my husband suddenly experienced chest pains and was hospitalized. I discovered through that experience that I have a weird way of dealing with unexpected shocking news when it involves my loved ones. That’s another posting too.
Easter and the celebration of the risen Lord came around again. With each year I become more and more aware of the passing of the seasons and the special church and State feast days and festivals. And each one seems to come around faster and faster. I am sure that this has something to do with what happens internally to us as we get older. Food for another posting.
At the end of March we had the joy of a fleeting visit from my eldest son Marco. He was flown from Naples, Italy to DC for a conference. That was a chance not to pass up and so he came a couple of days early and we flew him down to Florida so we could snatch some time with him. It was a happy time, yet tinged with sadness: his ten year relationship with the love of his life is seemingly at an end. The culprit? Words – those said in anger and those left unsaid. I know in my heart that I can write something about that.
And then came my birthday. Thank God by then I was done with being sick and I was able to celebrate with joy. Dinner with friends one day. Lunch with “the girls” another day. Cards and telephone calls from family across the sea as well as those close by. And wonderful gifts that showed just how much people cared. Beautiful flowers from my husband.
Celebration followed celebration as Mother’s Day came just a week after my birthday. What a day of bitter-sweet emotions. Mother’s Day this year occurred on the fourteenth anniversary of the passing of my own mother. I miss her so much. I still have times when I want to telephone her to share a special moment. I often think how she would have enjoyed a visit to my home here in America.
Again I received calls from my sons overseas. My husband showered me with more flowers and a lovely card. And of course my “baby”, my beautiful daughter Melissa, also telephoned. I was out in the garden and had just seen three butterflies in quick succession. They are my special connection to my mother but almost always cause the tears to flow.
I shared my memory of my mother with Melissa and we both cried some together. Between the tears she said, “I wish I could spend the day with you Mum”. But we both know that while she makes the choices that she makes today, that cannot be possible. And my heart is broken all over again. Sometimes being a mother just plains sucks!!
In the last few days I have realized that much of this being blocked, of my inability to write, is connected to this particular heartbreak. I have to put so much energy into staying upbeat, into not walking around looking miserable, that I have no energy left for play dates with my internal Muse. By the end of the day it leaves me totally exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So now I have to figure out a way to break through this situation so that I can reclaim my inspiration, my time with the Muse. Perhaps I have taken a small step in this direction this week. I have found a support group that may help me to walk through the difficulty in my relationship with my daughter. Then I hope to free myself and my energy and move back into daily regular writing.