There was a red bird outside my window this morning. I heard its chirping and stopped to listen. I pushed back from my desk, opened the shutters and stopped, captivated by its visit. Bright, confident, vibrantly bouncing around in the straw.
My mind moves lately from one to another thing, the bane of the multitasking and distracted life. It’s my current place in life, engaged daughter and youngest entering college.
Last night, planted next to the checkout at Target, a friend and I shared wisdom over the need to rest, to look away from the current inundation of horrific. We agreed that we’d be quite content to withdraw to our homes, to draw into and near to God. We wondered if this might be the only sound place of solace. We agreed we should and we could do this.
Let’s just stay in our quiet place; stay home, curl up on the couch, kneel down bedside. Avoid the news, the media, the social sucking in of our minds via handheld places of informative anguish. We might withdraw, we decided.
But wait, there’s a birthday coming up tomorrow, her daughter and “Lisa, you have your daughter’s wedding to plan, What fun!” she said. Our conversation and our faces changed as we shifted to the good, to the peace bringing, soul touching, warm smile bringing happy things.
Glancing towards my desk this morning, ready to begin my list of to do’s. I had committed in prayer to remain focused, to avoid distractions and to honor God in my work. I placed my yellow mug down next to my collection of peaceful things. The things that make me smile, a reminder note to “be still” and a mug, both gifts from my daughter. A perfectly hollowed out bird nest cushioning baby bluebird feathers and I thought “this little vignette is my happy way of life”. This is rest for my soul, pretty and peaceful in the impending and overwhelming now. I’m hoping God has planted a collection of joy on my friend’s path today and that she’s stopped to notice already.
My friend has had a hard year. She is thin. She is tired. Her eyes have an appearance of long, heavy nights. “It all caught up with me this year, Lisa.” she said. I asked, wondering “Like the empty nest is so much more empty than you thought it would be?”
She agreed, nodding without words, her eyes becoming watery and I wondered if these words were hard or just hard truth.
Her son, same age as mine, should be headed to college. He ended his life three years ago. I cherish the story of her son. I’ve heard it many times, no less difficult in the repetition. I am honored to be a listener of her cherished story.
I was there to shop for my son, entering college in three weeks. My dread of the coming Matriculation Day changed to an embracing of the gift now, of accomplishment and challenge.
I asked about her kind and quiet husband then, “I saw the mission trip pictures.” I said, adding “the one with the child looking up at him, he seemed so serene”. She smiled then and said her husband may have found peace in Africa. His journey has made a turn. His path seems more peaceful, she said. She turned a corner too, a hard road she saw him travel she’ll travel now, she hopes for not so long.
My sweet and wise cousin sent a photo the other day. She’d spent the day in Charleston and thought of sending a picture of the college campus soon to be my son’s home. She thought of me, she said as she drove past the gated entrance. She rethought the idea, suddenly though. Later, she says knew why. Her daily routine, out walking her dogs, a hot and dry day, eyes cast downward, she thought of me again and smiled.
Nestled in the brown, dry pine needles, crisp and crunchy leaves, she found a brilliant feather. She texted me: ” I saw this and thought of you. I love you.” I imagined her stopping to look, deciding which path to take and then pausing there, thinking this is for Lisa.
She texted: “Walking dogs , saw this pretty feather , thinking of you.”
Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, walk there, you’ll find rest for your soul. Jeremiah 6:16
I’m sharing my story in a link-up with other wise women who are most likely distracted, yet content.