Reflecting on Time Apart….

by Connie Chintall

Eastern Point of South Bass Island, Put in Bay, OH

It’s a rainy morning on South Bass Island in Put in Bay, Ohio. I am visiting a friend I’ve known for years, visiting and enjoying a break from my daily routine. My car, and my cares, are safely tucked away in a parking lot on the mainland. I boarded the ferry with just enough for the week, crossing the channel to a time and place apart on this delightful little island. Most folks have left for the season, or are in the process of packing up to depart. The restaurants take turns offering dinner, rather than compete for the business of those who remain through the winter. Life slows down as the weather cools and the wind roars across the water. The island is small enough to traverse by golf cart, so Mary and her dog Gabriel have been taking me to the out of the way corners of the island. On Eastern Point, we found a spit of land often covered by water. There are no tides on Lake Erie, so the strong wind I lamented on arrival extended the shoreline and offered us this beautiful view. I chose this photo not because it was the most picturesque, but because it captures the feel of this place the best. The vastness of the water and sky seem at odds with the intricate details of rocks and broken shells. Waves and waves of seaweed have been gracefully sculpted by the harsh weather. Then right smack in the middle, there is a block of concrete, a symbol of our meager human efforts as compared to the vastness and unending power of the Divine. I was overwhelmed with a sense of being apart, of stepping aside, of emptying of self to make room for the grace and mercy of the Almighty. I don’t know about you, but too often my life can become a constant drain, an endless list of things to do, a drudgery rather than a joy. I forget to fill myself first, to listen before I speak, to rush ahead before discerning a clear direction. After the Sermon on the Mount and the feeding of the 5000, our Lord boarded a boat with his disciples. He drew away from press of the crowd, rather than rushing on to the next in a series of miraculous good works. If the God Incarnate required time apart to rest and refresh, how much more do we need to make time apart? Perhaps we need to board a ferry and separate ourselves long enough to plant a seed of peace. Perhaps we simply need to make time in our daily lives for prayer and reflection. Perhaps it’s a little of both. We may take home what we learned while away, nurturing a newfound sense of a God that abides, a steadfast love without beginning or end, a healing that leads to wholeness in this life or the next. Make time today to be filled with the power and grace and mercy of the Almighty. Allow the Alpha and Omega to soothe your soul. Rest in the Cradle of Life, letting go of what weighs you down with each breath out, drawing in the Well of Healing Light with every breath in. And always remember, as we plunge headlong in to the busy-ness of this life, our God is ever present, waiting patiently for us to rest, to reflect, and to renew our weary souls. Text and photo entitled ‘Wind Swept Glory’ by Connie Chintall ©2013

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Reflecting on Anchors….

How Did the Anchor Become so Rusty by RabiriusIt’s a mild autumn morning with a hint of rain in the air. Showers may be on the way, but for now I can enjoy my second cup of coffee on a deck covered in leaves. It seems this time of year is more about endings than beginnings, about loss instead of gain. So I was drawn to this intriguing photo of a rusted anchor by my friend Rabirius. I love the stark contrast between the layers upon layers of rust and the smooth blues in the background. I can almost see the flakes about to fall, to feel the disintegration of the heavy iron. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to feel rusty this time of year. I recall the loss of beloved family and friends, people who prayed over me and made sure I found my way back when life tempted me from the straight and narrow. Sometimes it seems so many have gone before me that every falling leave is another soul in heaven. At times like these, my morning prayers become more important than food and water. My burdens are more than this frail human frame can bear, but light work for the same Lord who conquered sin and death on the cross. So I empty myself to make room for God, to look beyond the corroded surface of this life to see the rock solid promise of the Eternal. I drop my rusty anchor into the depths of my soul, letting go of the good, and the bad and the ugly. I pray in front of an open window on the second floor, looking out over the century old oaks in my backyard. By the end of my morning devotions, I can see more than the falling leaves. I take a closer look at the empty branches, where the buds of new life are already formed. The resurrection is present in the midst of death, new beginnings in the midst of loss, abundant love in the midst of grief. Make time today to leave your burdens at the foot of the cross. Let go of your ways and your thoughts, trusting instead in the ways and thoughts of the Alpha and Omega. Pray without words, offering an uplifted eye, a heartfelt sigh, a single tear. Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, depending on the mystery of God to make up where we all fall short. And always remember, no matter how rusty you get, you can trust in the solid, steadfast love of God, who remains patiently waiting for your return. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo entitled ‘How Did the Anchor Become So Rusty?’ by Rabirius ©2012, to see more of his work, go to his blog http://rabirius.wordpress.com

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