Manna Meditations

what grace looks like …

Manna Meditations, Day 5

Honest words?  Yesterday, my heart was heavy.

I was thinking about a few dear friends who are suffering, quietly and without much support, and the things I knew — the hurt I was carrying for them — hummed behind my eyes like a headache.

It wasn’t a good day for walking or climbing or wandering — the cold felt like it could crack bone — and so I felt trapped indoors with the weight of the hurt… No place to go.

But.

After church, T took the wheel.  He steered the car into the blue hills, the unbroken forests, going nowhere in particular … just aiming toward the quiet.

And the quiet was there.

After awhile, I blinked back tears and saw sun — so much sun! The world was bathed in the warmest, thickest, woolen-blanket kind of light, and its sparks caught in the treetops, flickering and winking in the highest twigs. The road ahead of us gleamed wetly with it, even though the air was bone-dry.

I leaned my face against the cool of the window, and suddenly I felt my soul settle into the comfort of just … being.  Not working.  Not making — no hands on the wheel.  Just … looking.  Letting in the light.

And it struck me, how precious it was, to be in a place safe enough to just be. To lay back and receive the day’s goodness, not as reward for effort, but simply as a gift.

Manna.

I let the landscape flash past, and then after awhile I held my phone to the window and snapped without looking, believing that I was in the presence of so much wonder that any of it would have been beautiful … any of it would have been enough.

And you know what?  It was.

💛

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Manna Meditations

quiet …

Manna Meditations, Day 2

Blue Ridge Parkway. Black ribbon of road:

I let the car swoop and dive through the curves, trying not to look at the vistas.

The views: it’s why people come here, you know. There are overlooks every few miles where you can pull your car off the road and stand in awe. The valleys unroll before you, cloudswept, for fifty miles or more.

But this is not what I have come for.

There was a time in my life when I feared winter. It closed over me every year like a black curtain, walling off the light. Suddenly I’d find myself in a small dark room, with a darker presence hunching in the corner.

In those winters, all I could see was ugliness. Shade after shade of dark.

But now, I stop at the overlooks and scuff around in the weeds, my soul flooded with wonder.

I am not looking at the vistas. I’m looking at tufts of long winter grass, waving like soft pale feathers against the sky. I’m marveling at the still-brilliant green of the moss. Finding elegant lines, cracked into boulders, or water-carved into soil.

Something has changed in me. That I have eyes to see all this?  I call it Miracle.

On an overlook, my iPhone dies, so I cannot take more photos. That’s all right, I think. I breathe in the frozen air, and with it, the initimacy of this moment… just the mountains, the Maker, and me. I walk down the slope, looking toward Poages Mill. Stretch out a hand and clutch a frozen stalk of frost-killed Daisy Fleabane, its once-white petals now crystallized into tiny copper stars. A constellation in miniature. And suddenly I am overcome by the idea that this dry dead stalk is just as lovely as the flower in full bloom.

Yes.

Yes.

A different kind of beauty. Subtle as a whisper. Pale as winter light.

God, I think, give me new eyes and ears, out here in the quiet.

I climb the hill to the car. Fire the engine. I trace the Parkway back the way I’ve come, not looking at the peaks, but listening to the wind around the car as I swish and swerve down the spine of the mountain.

Quiet.

Quiet.

Ah, Lord. Sometimes your voice is nothing but a whisper… And it is good

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What Happens Next

A Backward Glance, in Black & White …

The New Year comes in cold:  the air brittle and white.  Empty.

And perhaps it sounds strange, but for now, I like the emptiness, and I’m in no hurry to fill it.  

My friends rush back and forth announcing resolutions — buying sneakers and juicers and gym memberships.  And hear me:  those things are beautiful, too. This week, though, I don’t want to make too many commitments, or hammer my goals into hard-edged words.  Instead, I want to sit still and quiet and let the lingering gratitude for 2015 sink into me.  

I want to understand where I came from — the hard and the messy and the frightening and the beautiful — so I can know what comes next.

So for now, as I spend this week in quiet contemplation, I thought I would share with you a few favorite snapshots from the previous year:  a quiet look back, in black and white:

 

riverstones3

windrock5

windrock1

green2

garstmill4

elmwood4

windrock7

mountainview3

thirty4

thirty30

florida7

florida2

florida9

florida12

florida18

IMG_7771-0

morninglight

potomaccreek1

potomaccreek4

afterthestorm

water

cobweb

image

spiderweb9

light3

dayfive

sweater

Much love to you, friends.  I’m believing that the best sort of magic is ahead, for us both. ❤

 

 

 

 

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Everyday Wonder

On pomegranates … & quiet pleasure

 

pomegranate2

Early evening.

I sit out on the back steps, letting the last of the Autumn light run down over my shoulders.  In the yard, under the canopy of the old oak, bronze leaves come loose from the branches.  Float and spin down slow.

A mixing bowl of cool water rests between my knees, and under the surface, wrist-deep, I break open the husk of a pomegranate and watch the bright red bleed out:

Ruby arils.

White pith.

pomegranate3

 

And I suppose there’s some quiet truth I could puzzle out here, if I wanted — something about brokenness and beauty.  The way the most precious part lies hidden beneath the skin, glittering in the dark, waiting for the peeling back of the layers.

But today, for now, I don’t want to pin the meaning down into words.

So instead I sit very still and soak in this last warm sun on my skin.

I sweep the white pith from the surface.

Throw it out.

Cup the arils like tiny rubies in my palm.

*

This moment, I tell myself:  This.

*

I lift my hand to my lips…

 

Eat.

pomegranate4

For today, this moment is enough. ❤

 

 

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