Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Quiet, Tears, and Acorns

In the past year, I've been seeking the quiet life. I have felt drawn to it. No TV, occasional Netflix viewing, but mostly open windows, so I can hear the cicadas and birds. I am really fond of the quiet. Better quality thinking and grieving happen in quiet. (They also happen when I listen to the beautiful sounds of The Avett Brothers, but I digress...)

Mondays don't tend to be a thing to me. I don't subscribe to the idea that just because it's Monday, it's going to be terrible. There's a bit of that “You find what you focus on” in believing that Mondays always stink. But yesterday. Sigh. Yesterday, I just didn't want to go to work. I wanted to stay at home, write my own stuff, and feel blue on my own.

Responsibility stepped in and I got myself to work. And then things happened, and I was out of sorts. I took a lot of deep breaths and remembered to focus on the present moment and breathed my way moment by moment through the day. Some messages from friends buoyed me. I had lunch with a friend by the fountains near work and that helped too.

I had an hour-and-a-half to pass between leaving work and attending book club. My new favorite labyrinth rests between points A and B. In the quiet, I could hear that the time would be best spent at the labyrinth. I took the scenic, off-the-highway drive and parked my car.

The weeping began before I stepped on the path leading to the labyrinth. It felt so good to let it out. With bare feet, I stepped onto the acorn-strewn path. I've been on enough of these labyrinths to know what's going to happen. I come with expectation now: in my soul's quiet, I will hear words that I have come to understand are not mine. They will present themselves as wisdom from God that I need that particular day. I trust this process implicitly. That's what I've cultivated in this practice of being quiet. I feel differently when the words are mine versus the words come from Spirit.

I wept the entire way into the labyrinth. I exhaled deeply, audibly. And those deep sighs triggered more tears. The labyrinth supports my vulnerability. I feel so safe on that path. I heard myself say, “These tears are just grief. Just feel it. The world is not crumbling. You're just grieving. Let it out, girl.” And I did. The path wound, my feet stepped on acorns, brushed them aside and kept moving.

I made it to the center of the labyrinth where the pulse of God feels stronger. I sat down and cried some more. I took my “made it to the center” photos. I love marking each visit to a labyrinth. No matter where I am or who I am with.

The labyrinth is situated off a frontage road from a major highway. The hums and whooshes of traffic created ambient noise. I thought of being in a womb, safe and surrounded, and the traffic was the muffled sounds of the outside world.

The weeping continued and I listened for what message would come to me on this visit. Suddenly, I began thinking about those tiny acorns that I kept stumbling over on my path. There is metaphor in that tiny seed. I was reminded that my life and my future are like that acorn. Right now it feels tiny and insignificant, but at this very moment, there is a mighty oak tree waiting to make its way into the world. All of that spectacular potential is already inside of me, and it's my job to sit quietly, do my work, and wait for the mighty oak to grow into my life on nature's schedule—not my own.

I chose an acorn for me and for a friend who I thought might appreciate the mighty oak inside us message and held them tight in my palm. I laid down on my side weary from the weeping and wanting to rest. To soak in the notion of this mighty oak potentiality inside my little acorn self.

I rested for a few minutes. I noted that the weeping had naturally stopped and I felt ready to unwind the path back to my life. The quiet has also taught me about life's cycles and that I can trust that the way I'm feeling right now will certainly not last forever, but maybe not even for the hour or the day.

I stood up and walked out of the labyrinth just as I had walked in. Only stronger. And with two acorns in my hands as a reminder that there's good reason to look forward to what the future has in store.


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