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.
There has been much grief in my life and my church community’s life recently. Many people’s hearts have been filled with sorrow. Therefore, I thought I would share some special words about this poignant emotion that we all have to deal with at sometime in our lives. None of us escapes the passing of family members or dear friends. Death is the one absolute certainty in our lives and rarely do we die without experiencing the grief of loss.
One of my favorite pieces of poetry is titled simply “Grief”. It was written by Ruth Harms Calkin who, through her poetry shares her on-going private conversation with God, thus revealing the intimate relationship she has with Him.
Lord, you who permit my grief
Are the only One
Who can assuage it.
I wonder –
Do you permit grief
That I might learn
To be content
With nothing less
Than the comfort of God?
Whatever the reason
One thing I am learning:
You make useful to me
All that you permit.
So, dear God
Though a great ache
Wells within my heart
I ask you to grip my life.
Empower me to go
From depth to depth with You
Until I am a “wounded healer”
Bringing Your comfort to others
As You are now comforting me.
And my beloved Kahlil Gibran writes of sorrow:
“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow’, and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when on sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep on your bed.”
Personally I find that both of these pieces of writing invite us into comfort and encourage us into serenity. I hope that any of you dealing with grief right now, or who will be dealing with grief and sorrow in the future, can find some solace in these few words.