Monday, October 27, 2008

End of Sabbatical Reflection, October 27

What can I say at the end of this sabbatical time except, thank you.

I say these simple words with humble gratitude that my need for rest found open hearts and minds.

As these Sabbath days reverberate within me I find that monastic rhythm of reading, physical work, and silence during the day filled me with a gentle knowing:
  • the energy of God seeks expression in the world;
  • human beings struggle to attend the deep yearnings of the soul toward God;
  • God’s love surrounds us and will fill us given the slightest opening;
  • loving ourselves, loving our neighbors, and loving God just might be the purpose of our lives.

I am filled with gratitude.

I am ready to come back.

I missed you deeply and look forward to seeing you Sunday, November 2.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Sabbatical Reflection, October 13

Last week, following concerts in Tacoma and Olympia and preparing to attend the Turner Lectures in Yakima, I missed my Monday morning writing time.

In the meantime I caught a cold and have spent some amount of time desperately trying not to cough while singing! I’m recovering and am grateful that this past concert series has concluded.

After this week at home, Barb and I fly to New Mexico on Saturday for a week of traveling with dear friends around the land we so love. We’ll be staying in Espanola, about half-way between Santa Fe and Taos. It will be the last opportunity to stay in the casitas owned by Jan Hart, my beloved watercolor teacher, who moved there some time ago.

One of the things I most appreciate about Jan is her capacity to flow with the intentions of the universe for her life (I’m not sure she would use the word God, but she might). Jan was trained as an architect at the University of Washington and taught there. At the same time she began a weekly watercolor class at a small studio just off Stone Way between Wallingford and Fremont.

I had become intrigued with painting while taking, oddly enough, a color theory class for weavers. As part of the class we mixed colors using poster paint. While I like color theory, I learned I really liked using a paint brush!

I found Jan’s flyer tacked to the announcement board at Daniel Smith, a local art supply store. I loved Jan’s class and kept at for a few years until Jan “knew” she needed to move to New Mexico. At the time she had been making frequent trips from Seattle to New Mexico to paint the desert landscape and always came home refreshed and renewed.

What I know, what we all know at some level, is that guidance comes to us in surprising ways. This is Jan’s story as I remember it. One day, a long time ago, Jan was in a drugstore. She picked up a paperback novel. She opened it at random and read these words, Heart, someday you will be a famous artist. She quickly closed the book and put it back on the shelf!

At that point, while she may have harbored artistic ambitions I believe they felt pretty far out of reach. But painting by painting she worked on her craft and her art so much so that she is indeed an accomplished artist who has shown her art work in Santa Fe art galleries and who recently published a beautiful book on watercolor technique.

Over the last few years, while living in Espanola and continuing to teach painting, she also began taking folks on painting trips to Costa Rica. Last year she “knew” it was time to move again. She purchased property in Costa Rica and in the new year will be moving once again.

What I love about this kind of “knowing” is that it incorporates head and heart, it gives energy to vision that allows one to “keep on, keeping on” in spite of setbacks and unexpected obstacles.

While attending the Turner Lectures last week, Sandy Messick (acting pastor during my sabbatical) and I shared a meal together. We talked some about the church and the work you have accomplished while I’ve been on sabbatical. As she talked I found my heart leaping for joy.

I love the emerging directions you are in the process of considering. I’m looking forward to nurturing a collective sense of “knowing” that offers helps us name our purpose and gives us extra energy to pursue God’s dream for us.

I am just about ready to return: two more weeks that will fly by, and then, I so look forward to basking in your presence. You are a beloved community.

blessings + peace,