Reflecting on Relentless….

Turning Time Upside Down by Michael Gerke May 2018
This year seems to be a never-ending series of health issues for me. I find it hard to complain about my concerns when others are facing heart conditions or cancer. Yet it feels like three bouts of bronchitis, a root canal and now a UTI are a bit more than I can handle in six months. It seems these minor health concerns have rolled in one after another, in a relentless wave of annoyances. So, I find myself drawn into this amazing art by my nephew Mike. Relentless is a word that can cut both ways, depending on what we apply it to. After the birth of a child, it is the only word to describe the care an infant requires. No matter what you have been told or how closely you tried to listen and understand, nothing prepares you for the constant care a single tiny human requires. At the same time, nothing prepares you for the overwhelming, all encompassing love you feel for that child. It is confusing, perplexing and difficult. At the same time, it is amazing, enchanting and miraculous. The only response you can offer is to be equally relentless. You quickly learn how to ask for help and trust when it seems impossible to trust, because this is a job you must get right, and you can’t do that alone. Before long, yet after forever, you seem to find a new normal, then the child grows and changes. If you are listening to that child and those who love and help you, you change and grow too. If you understand this child does not belong to you but is simply given into your care by the Holy of Holies, you soon find yourself in situations and circumstances that confound and delight you. Your world expands and becomes more than you could ever imagine. Time relentlessly marches on and before you know it, that tiny baby is an independent adult. And that is the stage of parenting I find myself in now, available rather than productive, advising rather than correcting, listening rather than speaking. Most of the time my heart swells with pride, but now and again, what seems like a tiny thing trips me up. Yesterday I removed our daughter from our car insurance, a simple administrative task, or is it? I find myself adrift in time, recalling a busy toddler, then a dancing five-year-old, then a curious ten-year-old. Time is tumbling through happy memories of the small child I miss while cherishing the young woman she has become. Make time today to soak in the wonders life bring to you. Stop to play with blocks, catch fireflies or cook with your child. Reach out to new parents and ask how you can make a difference. Listen rather than speaking. Follow rather than lead. Allow that child to draw you into their world, letting go of the relentless nonsense of being an adult. Be relentless about finding time for that child, and in the process for yourself, because it is time that is the most relentless. Text by Connie Chintall©2018, art entitled ‘Turning Time Upside Down’ by Mike Gerke©2018, used with his permission, All Rights Reserved.

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Reflecting on Pursuit….

The weather has been oppressive, with soaring temperatures and sky high humidity. Walking the dog is a chore, so forget about any sort of yard work. We badly need to clean up after the storms, but that will have to wait for a milder day. So I was drawn to this amazing photo by my friend Jeffrey, of an insect on the back of an American Kestrel. I love the intricate patterns and beautiful colors of the bird’s feathers, contrasted against the bright green of the insect. This Kestrel is no bigger than a Mourning Dove, yet to the bug I’m sure he looks enormous. This insect has perservered, and is almost to the top of the bird’s head. Persistence is a quality I did not appreciate as a young woman. I think back to my time in the military, days of drilling in the Texas heat, exercises in the Nevada desert. We would do the same thing again and again, until the pattern was indelibly imprinted in our subconscious. We could replicate our work drunk, asleep or terrified out of our minds. I hated the process, but came to love the result. I learned that working hard and mastering a skill was worth the pain it took to acquire it. Have we lost this quest for accomplishment? It seems we have become an instant society, wanting more and more, and wanting it right now, thank you very much. The idea of working toward a long term goal is lost in the quest for instant gratification. We want happiness without the pursuit, victory without struggle, joy without pain. Happiness has been reduced to simple satisfaction. We no longer willing to seek long term accomplishments, learned from our mistakes and missteps over time. The joy of cooking, music, or exercise rides on the crest of short term disappointments and unwelcome discoveries. Take time today to consider a skill you desire more than you crave your current comforts. Begin to work toward a long term goal, to further your profession or a personal interest. Consider a past time that brings you joy, even while striving to improve. Reach beyond your usual boundaries, praying for the Holy Spirit to work through you in a new way, to breathe creativity into your life. And remember, when you become discouraged or frustrated, even the tiniest insect can climb the largest mountain one step at a time. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘Hiking the Kestrel Mountain’ by Jeffrey Foltice ©2012, used with his permission. To see more of his work, go to http://photonatureblog.com/

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