It has been too long since I've written. Sometimes God nudges us by shifting our priorities for a time and giving us unpredicted and mysterious renewal. In mid-June, my grandmother, my kindred spirit, passed away and I flew to Ontario for her funeral and to spend time with my family. I found that, even though it was a time of parting from my grandmother, it was a much-needed time of reconnection with my family, especially with my brothers and their children. It was also a time of spiritual renewal through leisurely walks, soaking in the solitary joy of the rural landscape - the breeze tickling the treetops, the wildflowers raising their vociferous faces from the dry ditches, the call of birds in communion with one another, the flight of the butterfly, the carefree babbling of the hidden brook. This symphony lifted my soul and filled me with praise and poetry.
Solitude is a rare and treasured experience. Sure, sometimes we can be alone at home, in our office, in our car, but especially for a city dweller, it is nearly impossible to be truly, fully alone. Yet this time of retreat is something Jesus modeled for us. Sometimes I feel guilty about craving solitude because our culture has come to put much emphasis on being busy. The over-achiever, the super-mom syndrome, burning the midnight oil, the pioneer spirit. We admire people who are "go-getters." We rarely hear praise like, "She really knows how to slow down." Or "I admire him for taking time off." To confess, I feel guilty for slowing down, for not taking on just one more thing. When I feel like this, I think of the time when Jesus had been preaching and teaching the crowds all day and he really needed to get away, so he set out across the water. I also think of his chosen solitude in Gethsemane, his time of communion with the Father. On my unexpected trip back to Ontario, God reminded me of this kind of quietness, and I am thankful for it.
Here is a draft of a poem that I composed on the way back home. The timing of my flight, shortly after 9:00 pm, was such that I could watch the sun set constantly, as we crossed over each province. It was spectacular.
Your sunset stretches on and on
it is without an end
painted brilliant, bold, burned-sugar
tongues of fire touch
strokes of frailty touch
at the same time
sweet caress, somber creed
spinning and still