Reflecting on the Center….

Being with Trees by Heidi Anne MorrisI sit in a chair that faces the window for my morning devotions. Our home is surrounded by trees, and I can view a large stand from that window. When there are no words for my prayers, I often feel the trees pray for me. Their roots penetrate into the strength of the earth, while their limbs reach for the heavens. So I was drawn to this haunting photo by my friend Heidi Anne, part of her ‘Being with Trees’ series. I love the muted colors and the delicate branches, enfolded in dense fog. All we can see is the trees – whatever lies beyond is shrouded in mystery. Lately my view has been a lot like this photo. Our morning fog has persisted throughout the day, making me wonder if we are living in England again, instead of Virginia. Yet perhaps I need to see that fog right now, to focus solely on what is in front of me, letting go of what lies beyond, trusting the God has hold of the rest. We are sorting through the mess left by the problems of a few weeks back, another medical test, another doctor appointment, another call to the insurance company. It’s easy to get lost in the details of life, to allow a totaled car or a nagging physical condition to steal your joy. So even when I’m overwhelmed, even when I’m so angry I can spit, I sit in that chair and look out on the trees. I pray the daily office of Morning Prayer aloud, until a word or phrase touches my heart and I fall silent. Then it’s just me and the trees. There are mornings when my feet feel rooted to the center of the earth, and my heart soars to the heavens. Other mornings are filled with silent tears, an aching heart, an angry groan. Then I notice that trees stand strong, swaying in the wind, reaching out to one another and to God. I recall others lift me in prayer, as I lift them in prayer. No matter what life brings, I am praying with all those who believe, united in the center, our roots inexplicably intertwined. Make time and space today for God. Seek out your center, letting go of what weighs down your heart. Pray for your own concerns and lift up the concerns of those you love, even those who annoy and trouble you. Believe in the prayer of others when you have no prayers of your own. And remember, no matter what life brings, when we make room for God, when we unite with all those who seek the Center, we find ourselves enfolded in go’o’d. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘Being with Trees’, Heidi Anne Morris ©2012, used with her permission, voted one of Google’s Top Ten. To see more of her work, go to http://www.heidiannemorris.com/

Reflecting on Infinity….

The first week of school is behind us, without any major problems or concerns. Tomorrow we will spend the day at the lake, probably our last swimming day out before the weather turns cold. As we spend more time indoors, I seem to turn inward, to spend more time pondering the things my mind alone cannot grasp. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Heidi Anne, a swirl of more colors that you can imagine, creating an abstract beauty. I am reminded of a rafting trip in Alaska, where the water was milky from volcanic ash. I look again and see summer squash in tangled vines, moss growing amidst decaying leaves, perhaps rose petals and day lilies. In one image, she offers us the bounty of creation, unfolding and changing before our eyes. The greatest truths of our world are like this image, deeper and more complex than we can begin to see with our eyes alone. The pursuit of truth and faith has unfolded over eons, as we seek the Author of Creation. We must approach the vastness of the Holy of Holies with love, loving God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength (Matthew 12:30). Christ took the first commandment and turned it into a rule of life, a way to open ourselves to the endless mercy and grace of God. We cannot fold ourselves around the infinite; we can only allow ourselves to be enfolded. I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control. I like to be in charge. Yet in this life the human solution offers so much less than what we are capable of through the Alpha and Omega. When we let go, and let God, life flows in a way we never thought possible. Healing light flows into us, then through us, love informs all we do. Take time today to ponder the vastness of creation. Join your heart and soul with your mind, then turn toward the Almighty with all your strength. Let go of whatever burdens you carry, allowing the vastness of God to make your load light. And always remember, when you feel painted into a corner, all you need to do is look up for a way out. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘ Infinite Color’ by Heidi Anne Morris ©2012, used with her permission. To see more of her work, go to http://www.heidiannemorris.com/

Reflecting on Fathers….

While the heat of the summer has arrived, the humidity is thankfully absent. I’m thankful we have such a beautiful day to celebrate our fathers. So I was drawn to this amazing photo by my friend Heidi Anne, of a small child walking with her Dad. I love how her hair is caught in the wind, how small and relaxed she appears. The father is wearing business clothes, and perhaps that’s what reminded me of my father. Daddy seldom wore anything other than long pants, and usually wore a tie. The only times I recall when he didn’t wear a tie were long summer days spent on Burlington Island, enjoying the cool breeze even on the hottest of days. Daddy would pack up the John boat with all manner of supplies, whatever my sisters and I thought we ‘needed’ for the day. We would fire up the Sears motor and head across the Delaware, landing between the two islands where we could safely swim. Sometimes we would wander off into the woods, or search for the soft, white clay that gathered in pockets beneath the shallow water. My sister loved that clay, and we brought home more of it than you can begin to imagine. One day, there was too much for one trip. Daddy took my Mom and sisters over, returning for me and the gear. On the way back, we hit something under the water and damaged the motor beyond repair. Daddy and I rowed back, side by side. I realize now how difficult that must have been. He was vastly stronger than I was, and had to adjust his stroke to mine. Yet he knew it was better to keep me occupied than to allow me to fret and feel helpless. Daddy was there for me, even if it meant taking twice as long to get there. And best of all, he laughed about the whole mess, from wrecking the motor to our hapless paddling home. Take time today to let your father know what he means to you, to remember a time when an accident turned into an adventure. Thank your father for the lessons you have learned from him, for the part he has played in the person you have grow to be. Honor him today by sharing a special memory, a silly story, or a favorite photo. And remember, even if your father has passed on, that while life may end, love never dies. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘One Life, One Love” by Heidi Anne Morris ©2012, used with her permission, to see more of her work, visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/heidiannemorris

Reflecting on Creation….


It’s a glorious, sunny day, a welcome change from yesterday’s damp, grey weather. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Heidi, part of her ‘Twirls’ series. At first glance, it seems she has warped a simple rainbow, twisting and turning the entire spectrum of color. Yet the longer I looked at her art, the more I thought of the beginning of the universe, the start of all time. Genesis offers the six day version – but what is a day in God’s time? An earth day of 24 hours, or a cosmic day that lasts eons? Science offers the big bang theory, where the entire universe is condensed into a zone called a singularity that infinitely and instantaneously expands. First there is nothing, then there is everything. Both science and religion agree there is a beginning, but we continue to argue over the how, and when, and why. My view is very simple. The singularity is the Holy of Holies, who was, and is and always will be. Our Creator existed before time began, and I imagine the start of our universe looked a lot more like Heidi’s twirls than an explosion. The universe unfolded, like a flower blooming in spring, opening across time and space in infinite and inconceivable beauty. Or to quote my young friend Colin:

Nothing is special, everything is. Another dichotomy of reality, we live in a universe too large to comprehend, specks of matter floating without aim through the domain of galaxies. Yet we are, and we continue to be. We are conscious, thinking beings with the capability to love and to grow and to learn. Both of these realities are important, we are both gears- pre-purposed parts of a universal machine, without the power to cause lasting change- and miracles- beings capable of understanding what is around us, part of the great performance of time and cognizant of its magnificence. Live as a miraculous gear, a cog that knows what time the clock keeps. – Colin Shea-Blymer

Take time today to ponder the miracle of creation. Pause to look at a snowflake, or flower, or the smile of a small child. Look up into the night sky and open your mind to the vastness of God’s universe. And remember to give thanks for each breath, for we receive the gift of life one breath at a time. Art by Heidi Anne Morris, used with her permission, to see more of her work, visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/heidiannemorris

Reflecting on Presence….

This morning I spent longer than usual outdoors, waiting for the school bus with my five year old friend Patrick. It’s delightful to see the world through his eyes, and allow myself to be a child again. So I was drawn to this stunning photo, part of a series called ‘Being with Trees’ by my new friend Heidi Anne. I love the colors of the sky as the sun filters through the trees. The branches remind me of feathers, delicate and lacey. This morning the sun was rising behind us as we stood near the road. Patrick wanted to throw rocks, and it would have been so easy to simply say no. Instead, I said yes and made a game out of it. We both turned around to face away from the road, and into the sun. While Patrick returned gravel lost in the lawn back onto the driveway, I took into the beautiful view. I don’t know about you, but being present is challenging. There are days when the cares and concerns of this life clamor for my attention, pulling me this way and that. I can so easily convince myself to rush from one task to another, hoping for a few quiet moments at the end of the day. Then there are days like today, when I find those quiet moments in the midst of the most mundane errands. A child doesn’t need scheduled activities or expensive toys – a few pieces of gravel can easily become a delightful matching game. The quiet we so vainly seek may be found in the joyful noise of a child, fully present to what life brings each moment, each and every day. Take time today to seek quiet contemplation amidst the busy-ness of life. Notice the sky and scenery, or perhaps the faces of those around you, allowing their voices to meld together and blend into the background. Seek to be present to all that life brings your way, without judgment as to what is or is not important. And remember, sometimes all it takes to be present is to say yes, and turn around. Photo by Heidi Anne Morris, used with her permission, to see more of her photos, visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/heidiannemorris

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