A Whole Hour @ My Desk By the Teal Wall

I packed a backpack yesterday. I love my winter bag, with its beads and detail but the reality of 7 round trips to schools not only put some snags in the bag’s future but the time in the car meant – well, that I needed some gear.

I started writing a devotion series this week. I invited two friends to invest some time (3 come February) in learning alongside me as I study the planets and apply ancient text to their meaning. I chose to start off with “Generous Jupiter” and already am having some fun finding insights into Jupiter’s placement in my natal chart, the way generosity jives and does not jive in my life, and related scripture.

In yoga, there is this term for self study and for study of ancient text, “Svādhyāya”. That’s basically what this is.

I started out this post with a whole hour to write when a girlfriend of mine called me up. She is one of my oldest adult friends (about 15 years running). She moved away a couple of years ago and our Tuesday nights (when I went to her house after yoga, hung with her and her husband and kids, helped clean up kitchen, processed life, had a good time) came to an end and – with that – we stopped talking as much. Naturally, I stopped what I was doing to hear her voice and laugh about whatever BS was going on.

We talked a little bit about looking like our moms and our grandmothers and how it was both terrifying and sweet at the same time.

I shared with her about a story I wrote yesterday about two flowers: one ancient and leathery and eternal, growing more flexible with time and the other young, perky and fierce, growing stronger each day.

The ancient flower grows more flexible with each storm or beating from the sun, learning to fold and tuck and curl. The younger flower grows stronger with each storm or beating; muscling the sun and water into stem and learning to use its roots.

In the story, there are two passersby and the ancient flower hears the one passerby say to the other, “look at that young flower, doesn’t it look like that ancient one?”

In hearing this, the ancient flower folds and bows is reverence; humbled and moved in the heart. See, the ancient flower adored the young one, marveled at its youth and just thought it was absolutely beautiful. To hear somebody think that the young flower looked like it, was one of the purest deepest compliments it had ever received.

I shared with my friend that it was a story I wrote in reflecting on my own awe of my daughter, Lucy. Sometimes I look at her and am amazed at her beauty and the brightness of her smile. I am blown away by it. When I hear people say, “she looks like you” I feel so deeply complimented and, in some ways – in most ways – I do not believe it.

I told my friend I wanted to capture this somehow in a story. The fascinating honor to have your beautiful children be called to look like you. Even for people like my sister, whose daughter is adopted, right? See? It’s something in the weathering… in the expression… its an element in and of itself.

“Wow, dude, that’s deep”, she chuckled.

I sent a call to voicemail while on with her so, naturally, checked for that after we hung up.

The missed call was from a Webster friend dropping off a wedding gift and “something I found in my basement that made me think of you”.

We chatted briefly on my front porch, next to the twenty some odd odds and ends that are being held there while life inside gets sorted out. The thing in her basement was a fountain, which the cats will love. I shared with about the Jupiter devotions and she gave me my favorite of her “that sure is something” looks. “Yeah man,” she said, “you know, you’re my most out there friend. Like you’re not like scientologist out there, but – for sure – you’re pretty out there.” I smiled.

If only people knew half of everything I have in my brain. David is at like 1/3 of knowing what’s going on in there… he calls me “special”.

So – here we are now – that whole hour is past but somehow I still got what I wanted into this post: the flower story I wrote yesterday and start a little thing about my backpack. More on that another time….

In closing, these two interactions with friends are very cooly connected with how I feel having heard from a co-worker from Enterprise yesterday. She reached out, left a voicemail and then texted again and I’m SO glad she did. I was busy (911 call on Monday night, shower wouldn’t turn off yesterday, the driving… the driving… ) and her reaching out a couple times kept her top of mind.

We exchanged today and it was really nice. She shared a picture of her cactus and work space. We texted easily and naturally, though never having connected via that medium before. It reminded me of a woman named Lisa from my work that wanted to stay in touch… “need more strong women in my life” she said.

In writing this all now, it is reminding me of my last week at work. As folks said goodbye and asked to stay in touch “about yoga”… “about God”… “I like this spiritual Erin I did not know you were”… “let’s write”…. “let’s hike”…. “would love to talk about kids”…. “curious your recipes, can’t wait to share mine”… I remember feeling like OH YEAH I TALK ABOUT OTHER THINGS WITH THESE PEOPLE.

I remember feeling like FOR SURE these people I enjoy at work are people I would enjoy outside of work.

The richness of friendship is where I love to give my energy: in relationships, in conversation, in experience.

So, that’s a neat “first real week after retiring and the holidays” gusto. I don’t know if my old co-worker who texted me about gardening, betta fish and cacti realized that she did the Lord’s work in reaching out. But she did. She helped connect the dots.

And now, on to my Adobe Procreate online tutorial on animation. Fingers crossed that my flower / plant story is a little Apple Tree Magic video soon…. Man, I want to know how to animate SO BAD.

More on that and my backpack again soon….

The end. Enjoy one of my favorite pictures of Lucy. Flying back from LA after her 10 y/o “mom and me” birthday trip.

May Current. My Tide of Wondering.

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Waiting for a flow waiting for a flow

(Three Days Later)

I wonder sometimes if I will always remember this season of my life. Mugs of coffee, walking Ranger in my North Webster neighborhood where there is both litter and progress on the streets, family and friends nearby.

I wonder if the feeling I have in my heart when I contemplate where I go to church, feel gratitude to who helps and prays for my family and scan my life for new paths I have to help and pray for others will stay or if the feeling (it feels like newness and curiosity mixed with patience and acknowledgement) will evolve into maybe some wise old woman type heart.

You know – like the kind of woman who knows how to cut and trim the herbs just right and what kind of Psalm to sing to her roses to keep them from getting brittle.

Is that a stretch?

I wonder, of all the friends in my active circle, who is the one with the next thing to teach me.

I wonder, of all the people I haven’t met yet but will meet in the future, who will validate the choices I am making now. In my near 37 years, there is always the validating stranger who comes in and says “yeah – that’s great – that’s like what they do in <name region of the world> to <name thing that I was also trying to get to>” and then they usually add something “you should read” or “you might like” or offer a deeper reason for said thing they are validating which helps me understand how a prayer was answered in my decision to do something.

The Pastor at AME Blackwell Church said “Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

“Don’t look for what you think the thing you asked God for looks like, look for the thing you asked God for – period.”

Like the people that will come in and validate, there will be the storms that come in and expose me. My vulnerabilities, what is unhealthy about the things I do. I wonder when that next storm will be. And then I wonder and survey my life and see if there is any obvious place to reinforce, any obvious tool I need, any obvious gaps to close.

I wonder that about my emotional and spiritual life like I do about my house, my land, my motherhood.

I wonder how many times I will be afraid for the lives of my children and pray for a shield over them and how many times I will still – even after experiencing relief from this fear – I will be hit in the head with the practical wisdom of Proverbs and prayers of Psalms to remind me how much more power good has over evil. How my words matter. How my time matters. How the stories I tell my daughters matter. How the food I cook them matters. How the way I filter guilt and shame and speak in clear language matters. How my listening to them matters. How my hugs matter, my patience matters, my certainty and servant heart matter.

I saw the mint expanding today in its golden yellow pot (which I will likely have to move once it gets taller than the roses) and thought “I’m not going to move the pot yet”. This awareness of timing is something that has matured in my heart. The patience. The willingness to see how it goes but the proximity to be the right kind of proactive; there when the next step is ripe.

I offer all of this – a journal of today – in hopes and in prayer that we all recognize the seasons of our life, the way the day feels – and get some power from knowing it is all a part of the process.

XO, Erin