The Blessing of the Interim

“Sunset Glow over Leifeng Pagoda.” Photo by Hu Xiaoyang

I’m sharing a poem today that Tee, one of my besties, sent to me two weeks ago. “In the Interim Time,” written by Irish priest-poet-philosopher John O’Donohue (1956-2008), carries a timely message.

Corona times are challenging in one way or another, and many of us want to get past these moments so we can get on with our “normal lives.” But what if we can’t or, more importantly, shouldn’t return to our normals?

We fight and fret trying to hang on to what is old when something new is being born. Donohue’s poem shows us there’s something we need in the “interim,” something hopeful, and something that prepares us for the new.

In the Interim Time
John O’Donohue

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here in your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

from To Bless the Space Between Us (2008)


About the image: The postcard above was sent to me in 2011 from Jiayi, a postcrosser in China. The card shows a view of the West Lake in Hangzhou.

Sunset: Stillness and Dreams

“Sunrise” by Lisa C.

Out of Sunset’s Red
William Stanley Braithwaite

Out of the sunset’s red
Into the blushing sea,
The winds of day drop dead
And dreams come home to me. —
The sea is still,— and apart
Is a stillness in my heart.

The night comes up the beach,
The dark steals over all,
Though silence has no speech
I hear the sea-dreams call
To my heart; — and in reply
It answers with a sigh.


About the Image: Today’s post features a photo by my Love Notes friend, Lisa C of Chasing the Sun. Lisa shoots gorgeous sunrises and sunsets as evident in this photo. This is a sunrise photo, but for some reason it makes me think of  William Stanley Braithwaite’s poem [above]. You can read a few more of his poems here: Poems by Braithwaite.

NaBloPoMo Note: November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and I’ve been figuring out how to squeeze in daily posting with all the general madness of end-of-semester and my “more serious” writing projects. I need the daily moment away from the madness, so for the fourth year in a row, I’m in! Besides, my “to be blogged” bin overflows and NaBloPoMo will [hopefully] give me a chance to empty it a bit. Most posts will be “short and sweet,” but I plan to be here every day, so I hope you’ll check in every now and then and cheer me on! 🙂

Snapshots from an Early Evening Walk

As I mentioned in the previous post, my guys and I took an evening walk some days ago in a nearby nature preserve to see if we could spot the recently released rabbits that were under our care. We didn’t find the bunnies, but we found nature being her wild best.

We love walking in this park. We encounter beauty with each step, whether on the open trail which frames the pond, or the covered trails where we’re more likely to encounter the creatures that make the park their home.

Though much of the brilliance of summer has faded, there’s still so much to enjoy: Unloved flowers showcasing their beauty for those who have learned to see it.

Bugs that feast on the flowers. [Look closely]

Sun-kissed clouds floating above the trees, making way for night.

Random splashes of color.

Feasts for birds…

and the smallest animals.

Remains of fallen trees that continue to give life.

A surprise gift–a moth waiting patiently to be photographed.

A brightly colored flower captured as we exited a trail.

The final gift of the evening.

I hope you take some time this weekend to sit [or walk] quietly in nature, find strength, heal your soul, connect with the Divine.

Escape.

“Maui’s Exotic Skies.” Photo by D. Cornwell

As the day draws to a close, sit back and enjoy the peace and tranquility as the sun dramatically sets in Hawaiian skies. –from the postcard back.

I “closed the book” on Fall 2018–a long and stressful semester–but a lengthy to-do list mocks me, reminding me that there’s so much more to be done. No matter. I’ve already planned my mental escape. I’m “on my way” to Maui as I type.

To escape and sit quietly on the beach–that’s my idea of paradise. –Emilia Wickstead

Shades of Night: Early Evening Sky Shots

Although I had at least a dozen blog posts semi-drafted for the week, no matter how simple or complex they were, I could not find the words to complete any of them. All week long I’ve been admiring the sky. Then, as I was returning home from errands early this evening, I took the opportunity to pause and appreciate the sunset and the sky’s early transition to night. Such beauty needs no words.

The sky grew darker

painted blue on blue

one stroke at a time

into deeper and deeper

shades of night.


THE SKY GREW DARKER, PAINTED BLUE ON BLUE, ONE STROKE AT A TIME, INTO DEEPER AND DEEPER SHADES OF NIGHT.
HARUKI MURAKAMI, DANCE DANCE DANCE

Full Vent

I’ve been angry lately. Justifiably so. About many things.

Normally, my anger dissipates rather quickly, but this anger has been simmering for some time and is now a full-blown blaze which I can’t easily extinguish.

As I was walking through campus a few days ago alone with my thoughts, the anger flared and I felt it with everything in me. Just as I was beginning to appease myself and reel it in, I was given Divine permission to be angry and to give my anger full vent.

Scripture tells us to “be angry, but do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). People generally get so caught up in the “do not sin” part that they forget that anger is a natural response to life’s injustices. Scripture validates our emotional response to the wrongs committed against us and humanity in general, the altered circumstances when everything was “just fine,” the disruptions in life that are unpleasant, uncomfortable, and plain unfair.

Be angry.

Grammatically speaking, God invites us to be–to welcome anger as a state of [our] being. There is something in the scripture that urges us to feel what we feel fully and to let it momentarily become part of who we are—without apology. Such full in the face immersion in the anger diminishes the magnitude, the awfulness of the thing and we can move toward reconciliation and healing.

I’m generally not a ranter. I don’t get angry enough to cause alarm. I don’t yell (too loudly). I don’t throw things. I don’t threaten and I certainly don’t hit. I’ve been trying to put words (and actions) to what it means for me to give full expression to my anger.

As I figure this out, I’m noting that the biblical parameters give me a lot of room to vent…as long as I do no harm to others or myself. As long as anger is a temporary state of being, resolved by “sundown.”

Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]. –Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP

 

Rest. Reflect. Reset.

I lived all week for this moment, for this period of contemplation and rest.

We run ourselves ragged by going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny, but all aspects of our health require that we pause, that we tune out all the noise and allow ourselves to repair from the daily wear and tear of the week past.

For the next several hours, I am pausing to…rest, reflect, and reset.  Maybe, you’d like to join me.

Keep Swimming…

Today’s Live-Laugh-Love post features a photo postcard from Lisa C.

“Live, Laugh, Love on the Beach” by Lisa C.

Lisa’s beach scene reminds me how much I miss living near water.

Her simple wisdom, printed on the back, captures the swap theme and the message of the ocean:

Live where you feel a sense of belonging…
Love bravely…
Laugh often…
Keep swimming when times are difficult…
Soar when life is a breeze…

The message reminds me of Dory (as in Finding Nemo), and since we have swiftly reached “midterm madness” this semester and (far too soon) the end of my energy, the advice to “keep swimming” is timely.  Dory’s message of fortitude and grit will be my mantra for the next several weeks.

Are you, too, struggling to keep afloat with all that’s going on in your life?  Maybe, Dory’s counsel will help you too.  Just keep swimming…

More Postcard Love!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did receive a number of extra postcards from Love Notes participants.  The great thing about the Love Notes community is that the connections to other individuals are not just about getting postcards.  Participants enjoy reaching out in their own way to other participants. Some make cards and notecards. Some purchase them, but all seem to use snail mail to brighten someone’s day and to get to know each other better.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received my first unsolicited Love Notes and now I look forward to the occasional happy mail in my P.O. Box.

Here are the extra love notes from October 2016. From Christine B.:

Paris France Arc: De Tiomphe De L'ecole

Paris, France Arc: De Tiomphe De L’ecole

“Don’t forget to remember:

  • You deserve the very best.
  • Be sure to love yourself.
  • Pay yourself a compliment.
  • Continue to make art and look at nature.”
Sunset, Pto. Lobos, Mexico, photo by Christine B.

Sunset, Pto. Lobos, Mexico, photo by Christine B.

“Imagine…No hate. No judgment. No suffering. Just peace and love.”

“People with Courage,” art by Christine B.

“Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway…”

From Lorelei (whose name I love):

“3-D Pumpkin Love,” made by Lorelei C.

“Don’t forget to remember…

  • to enjoy a pumpkin latte or muffin or both
  • to treat the kiddies to best treats ever
  • to enjoy the gorgeous colors of the season
  • to unplug and read a good book
  • to enjoy friendships old and new”
The Duquesne Incline was once a practical mode of transport for Pittsburgh's citizens, providing safe and gelable public transportation. The hisser rail care, which began operating in 1877, is now a popular attraction for tourists. With is 400-foot rise up Mt. Washington, the Incline provides sa scenic view of the Pittsburgh skyline. Photo by Blair Seitz

The Duquesne Incline was once a practical mode of transport for Pittsburgh’s citizens, providing safe and reliable public transportation. The historic rail car, which began operating in 1877, is now a popular attraction for tourists. With its 400-foot rise up Mt. Washington, the Incline provides a scenic view of the Pittsburgh skyline. Photo by Blair Seitz

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.  –Albert Einstein

“Can you imagine using this as transportation to work, shops, churches, or schools? And with kids, packages, bad weather?  Oh, my!”

From Jacki W., a new Love Notes friend, who resides in the U.K.:

Weeping Window from the installation

Weeping Window from the installation “Blood Swept Lands and Seas Red.” Poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins. Installation designed by Tom Piper

“Don’t forget to remember that life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it.  Nobody said it would be easy. They just promised it would most likely be worth it.”

“The Beguiling of Merlin,” Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898). Lady Lever Art Gallery. National Museums Liverpool

Sent with a nice long note with lots of love.

That’s it for now.  Hope to see you in January for Love Notes 2017!

Nature Photo Challenge: Pacific Sunset

We’ve reached the final day of the nature photo challenge.  I’m a bit proud of myself.  Seven blog posts in seven days! I applaud those of you who blog daily, but blogging every day for a week was quite a feat for me.

I had a little trouble deciding on today’s photo.  A moon shot?  A tree lined path? Another flower? A rainbow peeking out from the clouds? Far too many choices.

Today, I leave you with a sunset, an appropriate end to the challenge.

"Pacific Sunset," July 2005

“Pacific Sunset,” July 2005

This is another photo from Maui. Hubby and I were on a yacht (with others) on an evening tour around the islands of Maui and Oahu before ending at the Maui Ocean Center.  We were graced with this beautiful scene before everything became pitch black over the waters.

The weekend is mere hours away, and I’m dreaming of sunset Friday and a period of rest.

You can find other photos posted for the challenge by clicking the links below:

Until next time…