Dear Loved Ones,
The other day I took Gibbs out walking in some close by woods. It was the first time we had ventured there since the snow melted. The woods are quiet…. there is a noticeable difference when you turn from the path parallel to the road and drop into the woods proper! A deep sense of peace permeates this place, there are not many people around, there are several trails to follow and wildflowers popping up everywhere. And this is the prime time to go, before the mosquitos come out with a vengeance! Gibbs and I walked nearly 4 miles, through the forests, past streams and ponds and lakes, through heavily treed areas and marshland and meadows. We saw forest birds and waterfowl, butterflies and dragonflies, mushrooms and flowers and trees in blossom. And when we left that sacred place I felt restored and at peace with all that is.
But it caused me to reflect. Why had it taken me so long to get out there? I know what a treasure this place is, so why had I avoided it since the snow left? Sure, it’s a longer walk and I need to give her more time if I want to go on my favorite trails. And it means my to do list won’t get as done. Sure, it’s more up and down and Gibbs gets tired. But none of these thoughts felt true.
Later that day I went into town to meet up with a small team from church. We were delivering meals from a homeless shelter to families that were newly homeless and being housed in motels. We bagged 110 meals and set off in two teams to leave them outside of people’s motel room doors. The corridors were dingy, with low ceilings and lighting and a musty smell, and the doors we knocked on were insubstantial. Yet the people who opened them were grateful for this meal delivered to them.
As I sat with this day, the question returned. Why don’t I get out to these woods more? And the feeling arose that my feeling a sense of peace while the world is in turmoil is bad. Now, logically, I know this is the exact opposite of truth. But that feeling of the fear of entitlement arose in me. Why should I get to enjoy a long time in the woods when others where putting their lives at risk simply by going to work? Why should I have access to woods when so many are surrounded by concrete jungles? Why should I be blessed with the light filtering through the trees when others are holed up in dirty, dismal motels? What makes it so I can sink into this place of beauty and let my worries go when others are juggling kids and home schooling and sickness and homelessness and unemployment and……
I prayed with these feelings, allowing them to arise and be. And as I did I began to feel the peace of the woods once more. A voice began to whisper in my heart. “Go to the woods. Feel the peace. Sink into the beauty. When you meet others who can’t get there they will feel this emanating from you. The blessing you received gets passed on.” I also got the sense that because I questioned my right to this, I wasn’t falling too badly into that trap of entitlement. For I still believe and work for everyone to have access on many levels. And that I should soak in these woods before the bugs come, sharing the beauty, the sense of peace, the pictures of spring flowers, the groundedness and gratitude.
What has fed you recently that you can share with the world around you? Where are the places where your sense of entitlement is an invitation to search your heart? Where have you seen beauty?
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