Reflecting on Rhythm….

The March wind is roaring outside my office window. It’s what Winnie the Pooh would call a blustery day. Even the majestic oaks are dancing in the wind, yet it’s the tiny branches of our poplar that caught my eye. So I was drawn to this magical photograph by my friend Luis, part of his series called ‘The Secret Life of Plants’. I am always amazing at how plants can be incredibly strong, yet still remain supple. Even the tiniest branches sway in their own peculiar rhythm, twisting and turning in response to the wind. We must let go of the specifics to detect this rhythm, looking at the same branch over time, until each particular image blurs together. At first, it may seem we have lost more than we gain, until patterns begin to emerge. We notice the graceful arch of a single branch is echoed in the scene all around us, the curve of the treetops reminds us of the shapes of passing clouds, the same colors appear all around us, popping up in the most unexpected places. The same Creator who blessed us with life calls out to us through the bounty and blessings of nature. Whatever name you give the Author of the Universe, whatever faith tradition you call your own, we all recognize the unity of our world. The same shapes and rhythms sing across the galaxy, from the tiny subatomic particles being discovered each day, to the far reaches of outer space. Take time today to see and hear the rhythm of creation. Pause to soak in the beauty of a single bloom, or to gaze at the stars. Listen to the sound of water splashing on rocks, or birds singing in the trees. And remember when we let go of our human perception, when it all begins to blur together, the rhythm of the Almighty will shine through, showing us more beauty than we ever can imagine. Photo by Luis Gonzalez, part of a series called ‘The Secret Life of Plants’

Reflecting on Balance….

It’s a wet, dreary day, far too warm for December. Chores are waiting to be done, not to mention Christmas preparations. Yet I’m lingering over another cup of coffee, delaying the start of the day. So I was drawn to this photo of a flamingo taken by my friend Carole. I love how this odd looking bird can fold into itself, often perching on one foot. Instead of ‘taking to the bed’, this elegant creature can curl up and take a rest in place, before moving on to the next challenge. Perhaps the flamingo has something to teach us about the natural rhythm of life. We make lists and more lists, seeking a sense of accomplishment in what we did or did not do by the end of the day. We rush around to get things done, often undoing relationships in the process. We run roughshod over others, neglecting common courtesy and forgetting the value of patience. Everything has to happen right now, just the way we want it. Yet we most value what takes the most work, or time, or sacrifice. When we force an immediate answer, we sell ourselves and others short, rather than allow the best solution to unfold. We must pause to consider the best path for all, rather than the best answer for us alone. By alternating between active work and quiet reflection, we find a better path than we could imagine, or even hope for. Take time today to find and maintain balance, to consider your needs as well as the needs of others. Look for new and creative ways to work and play, to enjoy the gift of life, here and now. Make time and space for the Holy Spirit to guard and guide, recharging your soul for the challenges ahead. And remember, even when you seem to be curled up doing nothing, God is balancing you on one leg. Photo by Carole Buckwalter © 2011, used with her permission

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