It’s harder than usual to write these days. I had lots of work waiting for me when I returned. I also came home to a daughter glad to see me and who is doing well after a couple of very rough weeks right after I left to go on my retreat. She wants to spend lots of time with me and I am revelling in her company. Sherod’s back is a mess and the medical system an even bigger mess–he has good insurance and even then, it’s taken two months to get to the point where maybe, in another week, he will have all the test results the neurosurgeon needs to make a diagnosis and do whatever is needed. Because that pain he’s in has actually become crippling. I have some new responsibilities as we accomodate the pain in our household these days.
But mainly, it is hard to write these days because the proverbial “winds of change” are blowing. Some of what that means is getting clearer, though other parts will take a few more weeks to sort themselves out. I need to abide in the change right now without trying to name it and thus define its outcome. My retreat was life changing in more ways than I dared imagine it could be. I had often heard about the skies of the West, how much bigger and bold they are. As I think about my time in Tahoe, it is the sky I keep remembering, the endless deep blue, the way it did not obscure or hide anything, it just stretched on and on and on–somehow an invitation to me that I had been needing for a long time.
In a paradoxical way, this is a time to stretch beyond what is and stay still and quiet right here, right now. I wonder if others who have made the 30-day retreat exprience something like this? I have been doing the minimal Christmas shopping I enjoy and I am almost finished with that part of the work. I’m making the presents for my far-away family–knitting for my brothers and dad, sewing matching flannel pajamas for my niece, sister-in-law and daughter. I want to wrap up this part of the holiday preparations by the end of the month because I will need to mail out gifts in time for them to get to their destinations by Christmas, and because I want an uncluttered Advent. On Facebook right now, many of my buddies are putting up a daily post about one thing they are grateful for. I am moved reading their posts. It feels like each stitch, knit or sewn, is a prayer of gratitude for me too and I am perhaps most grateful for another way to express my sense of being graced beyond measure.
I am glad to be alive…