I find myself wondering whether this springtime is among the most luscious of all my life or my eyes and heart are simply more open than ever before. Everything feels new, but more than new; everything has a wet, trembling quality, and it feels like more than just the abundance of rainfall.
When seeds germinate and break through the topsoil lately, they seem to do so with music playing. When the chicks run across their flight pen, they return the other direction a full size bigger. And have you heard the news that one of our young hens has learned to quack, no doubt by living with two ducks? The skies are probably the same colors as before, but more crystalline, more kinetic. The pine trees are growing arms and fingers and reaching for brand new ideas, learning new languages I think. Walking around the farm, you can smell fresh energy like it’s incense or very good cookies and bread baking.
Old thought patterns are falling apart like charred wood, burned (I believe) by truth. And I can leave them where they fall or sweep them up and replace them with better thoughts, stronger ones, more loving ones, more exciting ideas about life and God and all of our complex human relationships. Fear is almost fully edged out now, and the Worry Door has not cracked open in so long.
A new friend recently loaned me her treasured paperback copy of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Somehow this author had been completely foreign to me, and now I want time to stop so I can gobble up all of his work, because his term “Christian spirituality” is right on target for my life. Here are a couple of passages that have struck me beautifully this past week:
I believe the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather to have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man’s mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.”
I love that. And it speaks straight to me, because I am such a creature of habit. I thrive on not only physical daily routines but also meditative practices, which certainly have value. But when little interruptions ruffle my feathers or when I am so cemented in habits that I am wasting time, it all has a kind of soundproofing effect between God and me. Don’t get me started on excessive volunteering or millions of obligatory social connections.
Okay, and then this:
Passion is tricky, though. because it can point to nothing as easily as it points to something.
Somewhere around that sentence in the book, Miller describes his thought process around what he would die for and what he is living for. It’s all kind of the front burner for me now. The moments when we might be asked to die for someone or something may come rarely, if ever, but every hour of every day we are actively or passively exchanging both our time and our life force, our God given human energy for something else. We give ourselves away in pieces, big and small, over and over again, and I wonder how many of those transactions are beneath us, how much of it is waste. A lot, you know? Maybe unintentionally? But so very much is exchanged for good, too, for strong, solid, worthwhile purposes. We trade our time and energy and human life force for love of family and friends, for personal passions that are linked directly to some aspect of our creation that leads us right back to God. How thrilling to see that our intrinsic passions can be connections to God and thereby pipelines for more abundant life. I love that we are all created in such unique ways and that He can draw us near and put us to work based on our passions. I want to find more ways to facilitate exactly that.
So. The farm. All of these nine acres are pure joy to me. The creatures who live here, even when they frustrate me, the plants, the wildness, the work and creativity, our romance and our human fabric, all of it. It has become my home and sanctuary, classroom and temple. And for all of the physical, sensory pleasures here, I know in my bones that the real magic is unseen. The real magic and power and drama can easily be extracted and reinvested elsewhere, should that time ever come. This is just the stage.
This is how I know the shimmer and pulse of our current season is owed to more than the mild Oklahoma springtime; God is doing something here with us that brings it all into focus for me. The old fears and worries are burned up and crumbling; worldly distractions are falling back and losing their noisy power in favor of birdsong in the morning and frog symphonies at night. More beauty than I have ever seen is front and center, both for the physical senses and for that part of me that can’t find the words. Hope, joy, belief in the power of Love, compassion for the weird things we all need and chase, patience, silliness, healing. Lots of healing. So much more.
I’ll take the flowers and the vegetables and even the snakes. I’ll take the skies changing and the air tasting like candy, as temporary as it all is. They are outward proof of an unseen Power. For me, this is something worth living for, day after day. Our lives are filled with more goodness than we can manage, despite our efforts to soak it in. And the shifting details just press me to live attentively, to find balance in movement too. It’s all constantly changing and never-ending. Such magic!
Thank you for introducing me to Donald Miller, Stefanie. My mind is churning from it all. Happy weekend, friends. I wish you magic and Love and clear vision.
“You have found the life underneath your life situation.”
~Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now