Sunday, September 24, 2006
My husband and I just returned from a long weekend of complete retreat! We headed to Bainbridge Island via highway 3. It was a gorgeous weekend. One of the highlights was watching an eagle arrive for breakfast each morning. He'd swoop in on the bay and grab a fish from the water then perch on the top of a huge fir and eat. The first morning, an eaglet joined him... although pops wasn't very good about sharing! We also spent several hours at the Bloedel Reserve, an amazing acreage dedicated to personal restoration through nature. Being true to their mission, they even limit the number of people allowed into the reserve, maintaining the sense of tranquility and oneness with the beautiful outdoors. It helped that the sun was shining every minute and that we left the computer at home! I think if I'd relaxed any more, I would have quit breathing. What beauty. And all of this was a gift from our son and daughter-in-law. They are teaching us about taking time to retreat and reconnect. I think I'm a quick study for this life-lesson! I'm ready to go again, anytime! What blessing...
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I attended a family reunion of sorts this weekend. My mother and I drove 5 hours to Pendleton, Oregon for my cousin's funeral. Three of my four brothers arrived later in the evening. We joined my aunt, cousins, and people we had never met, to mourn the passing of a man who was only 57 years old. I remember him as a child. He told ghost stories, always scaring me half out of my wits so I had to call my mother to take me home. He was dearly loved by his wife, mother, siblings, and daughter, and many others. The Word says we're like the grass, the wind passes over, and we're gone. Gone from this earth but not from life. I've always believed in heaven but as I have aged, heard personal experiences of those who've "almost" left this world for the next, I've become more and more convinced that our souls, our spirits do live on. As I once tried to explain this to my granddaughter, I asked her if she "knew that voice in her head" and her response was a rather intense "yes!" as though a light had been illuminated in her own mind. That voice doesn't change much. The voice in my head is as identifiable to me now in my 50s as it was when I was a young teen. It is more honest that I tend to be. It has real depth and sensitivity. And I am the only one, other than God, who knows that voice. It is mine alone. I do believe that this internal expression of my spirit lives on. As for its future geographical location, that I'm not so sure of. I believe in heaven but I'm not sure where it is. I believe in the gathering of spiritual beings, centered around God: Father, Jesus, the Spirit, united in true worship and fellowship. Each funeral, each passing year, each birth gives me pause to think, to ponder my own existence, purpose, and ultimate destination. In the meantime, we are here on this earth and absolutely everything we do makes a difference. The old "ripples in the pond" analogy is right on point. We have such possibility to love, to build, to nurture, to encourage, to edify those around us. At my cousin's funeral, I commited myself yet again to be one who did all I could to help others and leave a positive influence in this world. I know I am not personally capable of doing this day after day on my own. I need divine guidance and strength that only comes from my relationship with Christ, from His Spirit living life through me. But I have commited myself to that life and I am trusting God to make up for my own inabilities, to make a difference in me, so I can make a difference for others. I wonder what our world would be like if we all made this commitment. Quite different, I'm sure. So I'm listening to the voice in my head that tells me to get moving, to interact with living souls not a computer. So here I go into my world... God help me!