that moment came again – SOLSC Tuesday

Every time we go out on our boat – every single time – there is a moment when I have a tremendous feeling of serenity.

Knowing that this is right where I need to be.

Realizing that it is but one tiny moment in time.

Accepting that it may never come again.

Rejoicing that it is here right now.

My heart is full and my soul breathes a deep sigh – of contentment, and of peace.

This past weekend we went out on the boat for the first time this season. The days at the cabin had been a bit more hectic. The passengers were not the usual crowd. The weather was not the best.

At one point our granddaughter and I were sitting alone together in the back of the boat, watching the wake and taking in the water and the sky. It was her first boat ride, and she was sitting in my lap.

And then there was that moment, as always, when joy overtook me. I let go of me and realized how glorious this world is and how precious its Creator is to me.

Madison settled in. I believe she felt it too.

Madison and her mom, our daughter Beth

Madison and her mom, our daughter Beth

in his pocket – SOLSC Tuesday

Last year we went with our children to a retirement picnic for three of their favorite high school teachers. As we were visiting with friends there, we were introduced to another retired teacher. He had taught at the school several years before our children attended, so we did not know him.

“I am surprised you have never met,” said our friends. “Mr. Brown goes to our church. And he lives near you, out on the main road near your subdivision entrance.”

It was a joy to meet Mr. Brown that day. He was quite conversational in his own quiet, mannerly way. We had several common acquaintances and experiences. Visiting with him was a delight.

Early on in our conversation he pulled from his shirt pocket a photo of a beautiful, smiling blonde lady. “This is my wife,” he said. “I miss her every day.”

I do not know how long ago Mrs. Brown died, or how long they were married, or how many children they had, or if she was a good cook. I do not know if he carried her picture there before she passed away, or just since she has been gone.

What I do know, I saw in Mr. Brown’s face that day – he was still very much in love with her.

Soon afterwards we saw Mr. Brown in the hallway at church. After we greeted each other and moved on, my husband said, “I wonder if he has Mrs. Brown’s picture in his pocket today?”

Then we read in our church newsletter that Mr. Brown was in the hospital. We never knew exactly why – some kind of heart issue – but we both imagined that Mrs. Brown’s picture was there in the hospital beside him. Thankfully he didn’t have to stay very long.

Not long after that we saw Mr. Brown as we were on the way home, riding his lawnmower, cutting his yard. He had on a straw hat with a good shady brim. “I wonder if Mrs. Brown got that hat for him.” I commented. “And I wonder if her picture is in his pocket right now.”

There are so many things I would like to talk further about with Mr. Brown. But even if I never get the chance, he has still made a lasting impression on me. I will never forget Mrs. Brown’s picture in his pocket, and his showing it to us the day we met.

And I know she is still – in every way – very close to his heart.

time

I can almost officially say I have been retired for a year now. And during this past year I have been blessed with so many gifts – and challenged by a few – that the time has simply flown.

The most surprising thing to me is how little I have missed teaching. The educational environment had changed so much that I was dismayed by what the expectations and measures of success had become. My memories of better days sustain me. I have never looked back.

Another surprise, barely in second place, is my current relationship with time. I thought I would have more of it.

There have been plenty of opportunities to spend my time in helpful, productive ways. A new house for our daughter and her husband – and then a new baby. A wedding for our son and our sweet new daughter-in-law. Working on community foundations and nonprofits.

People have asked me if I have developed a routine. I just smile. There have been too many directions to head towards. And besides, my whole life before now revolved around a routine. Not any more.

But I am still trying to figure out where the time goes. Time is a precious commodity.

Recently I read a book that is fabulous for so many reasons. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts tells the story of a man who found himself in federal prison – and learned his most important lessons about life there. As he is getting ready to be released, he realizes how valuable time has become to him, and how his relationship with time will change in the outside world:

… but as much as anything else I would miss time.  Time to daydream.  Time to walk. Time to pay attention. Time to plan adventures for my new life, a new life with my children. Time to remember that great doesn’t always mean big… Where I was headed, I didn’t imagine I would see many men simply passing the time.

Yes, we all have the same 24 hours in each day. Each tick of the clock is a gift. I need to embrace what time there is for us all and plan better for it. To live it fully. To make each moment count.

I hope to pass the time in meaningful, joy-filled ways.

spring perspective

Several weeks ago I took this picture. It was a cold day.

(I was looking down into the water at the edge of the lake – the photo shows a bit of the shore but mostly a reflection in the water of what is above.)

The clouds were thin enough to let a little sunshine through. There was a bit of birdsong in the air.

This picture filled my heart with hope. Spring was on the way.

spring reflection

 

Now when I view it, the photo seems cold and lonely. There is a feeling of emptiness and finality. Bare branches, fallen leaves, filtered sun. Even the criss-crossed twigs act as a barrier, pushing away warmth.

Interesting how our perspectives color our thinking.

When I was longing for warmer days, the bit of green I spied encouraged and enticed my thinking. Now that we are surrounded by thousands of verdant shades and tints, this pales in comparison.

How often we take for granted the beauty that surrounds us, whatever the season in our lives.