Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Renewing a Right Spirit Within Me...
Forget not that the earth delights
to feel your bare feet and the winds
long to play with your hair.
Yesterday it was downright gorgeous. The sun was
out. Blue skies abounded. It was 61 degrees. A hint,
if you will, of times to comes. While it has been officially spring for awhile now, yesterday felt like
I couldn't get enough of it.
I got my hair cut. I got my car washed. And I started to get ready for our Easter egg hunt with myriads of grandchildren. Baskets everywhere.
And I went barefoot in our backyard, swung on the swing and let the sun bake my weary skin and soak it with some much needed Vitamin D.
For a moment, my soul was listening to Rudyard Kipling when he said,
"Delight in the little things."
I often fall short of doing just that... delighting in the small and precious things. The little things. The simple things that are right in front of me. Sometimes I don't feel renewed because I don't slow down long enough to let the little things nourish my soul.
My word for 2015 is RENEW and this word and I have struggled with each other for the first segment of this year. Big and little things have gotten in the way of renewal. I have let that happen.
As the song says,
"Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and
renew a right spirit within me."
That sounds great. That sounds easy. It hasn't been either great or easy for me.
My word for 2014 was "wholehearted." Now that was a word I could understand and wrap my arms around. That word felt like "home." That word had everything to do with how I already am.
Creating a clean heart and renewing a right spirit, not so homey. Not so much comfortable and easy.
In it's own way, "renew" is just perfect because it is
a huge challenge for me.
So what does all of this "word stuff" have to do with bare feet and winds blowing in your hair and delighting in the little things?
I've surmised that creating a clean heart and renewing a right spirit is tough to do when you are living life at mock speed.
Renewal is hard to come by when you are rushing from one thing to the next. It's easier to exist and harder to renew. It's easier for me to come off with an attitude of, "My heart is just fine, so back off of Your renewal and create in me a clean heart stuff, God. Thank you very much." All said with a bit of an
all-knowing, self-righteous attitude.
"Ahhhh...how she misses the point," said with a small smile and a twinkle in her eye.
Mock speed is the end of the quarter and unfathomable hours spent grading college papers.
Mock speed is only getting half the list done because there just aren't enough hours in the day.
This week I am on spring break. Spring break is about taking a "break" from all of the roller coaster rides and just stop. Stop. Take a break. Breathe. Stop. Take a break. Slow down. Stop and appreciate. Just...stop. Take a break.
After all, it's Lent with Easter on the horizon. A crucification and then a resurrection. Oh how my soul has needed a resurrection. A re-birth.
A renewal. There's that word again. And yes, a clean heart too.
Mother Teresa once said,
"We need to find God, and He cannot be found
in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence."
So yesterday, after doing some errands that felt renewing, I took my Jesus Calling book and sat
on the outdoor swing in our backyard. I rocked back and forth, read just a bit, closed my eyes and heard an occasional bird chirp. My eyes opened.
I closed my eyes again. I let the sunshine soak into my weary soul. I prayed...for Vicky, for Nolan, for Vicky's Mom, for Peggy, for Sharon, for Sarah, for all of my grandchildren. I prayed for my students who left and those who will be coming on Monday.
I asked God to cleanse my heart. To remove those things that keep me from being closer to Him.
I told Him that I know that we often have a crucifixion in our lives before we see the resurrection. I asked God to hold me and renew me and to cleanse my heart.
And when I took a long and slow breath and opened my eyes again, I could see my beloved Bert in his garden. Right there in that sunny backyard with me. Dusting the old fall leaves off of the new plants surging to come forth through the earth.
Spring plants, new growth...their unstoppable spirit...the audacious hope of things to come. Those small green plants that made it through snow and cold and just kept waiting for the right time to dig out from all that encumbered them and come forth. Just as natural as you please.
Those pushing and embracing plants, coming to the sunshine.
Just like me. Struggling. Coming into the "Son-shine."
In that sacred moment, my soul felt renewed.
As you wait on this Easter, may you too have a renewal of spirit and body and hope.
"If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." ...