A Note from Lisa
Freed from the obligations of a retail store, I thought I would garden, cook and enjoy my family and friends. I anticipated feeling great joy and happiness…. instead, I ran head on into great despair. I struggled for an entire summer before I settled in to my new role of “just a mom”…”just a wife”…”just an ordinary woman.” I said to folks, “I have no marketable skills.” My friends and family told me I was wrong but I didn’t hear them. It was one of the most painful times in my life.
Well, one thing led to another. The paths were diverse: A faltering on again/off again volunteer stint at the local Ronald McDonald House led to a rewarding on-going experience of volunteering in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UK Children’s Hospital. A one-class seminary experience led to me finding a spiritual director. Seeking spiritual direction led to my now training as a spiritual director with Sycamore Spirituality Center. My sister in law’s insistence led to my Facebook account. Facebook led to “friending” Stanley Abell, a high school acquaintance, and friending Stanley eventually led to a weekly writing gig on the Bluevine Collective.
And now I find myself in the spring of 2011. Nearly every aspect of my life has changed. This past weekend I participated in the closing retreat for my year spent in “Contemplation in Everyday Life” with Sycamore Spirituality Center. At one point, I was invited to share what genuinely brings me joy and happiness. As I sat in our sacred circle, wondering what I might share, I had a distinct vision of a morning not very long ago.
Every year, in the spring, I begin to wake on my own earlier and earlier. I love to get up before my family. I wander the house, putting things in order. I do not hurry. I make coffee. I write in my journal. I meditate. I read. On this particular morning, I eventually made my way outside as the sun came up. I walked my garden. I took in the window boxes, the raised vegetable beds, the peonies nearly ready to open. I carried my coffee to the umbrella table. I opened the pop door on the hen house. I talked to my hens and fed them bits of grass. I sat down, sipped the coffee. I had nothing to do before driving my kids to school on my way to meet friends for a long walk in the arboretum.
I recalled the spring of 2008 when I would obsessively write about what my “ideal” life would look like. I remembered finding some of these journals not long ago and after reading them, asking myself, “Girl! What were you thinking??!!” That begged the question of how I would vision my ideal life today. The answer came quickly. My ideal life looked like then. That very moment. What a gift. I’m not sure I have ever felt that before.
All of which brings me back to the spring of 2011. I have been blessed in the past three years…blessed with many opportunities to learn and serve. Stanley and the Bluevine gave me a voice when, in all honesty, I didn’t know I had one worth sharing. You all have been so encouraging. I love this community. And yet, I feel an intense desire, a real need, to clear my plate. In spiritual direction, I am encouraged to take “a long, loving look at the Real.” This is not always comfortable. And so I find myself uncomfortably telling you that I need a summer sabbatical. I need some time to drink coffee in the early morning hours with little or no hurry for the day. I need to walk with my friends. I need to truly tend my garden instead of haphazardly watering it, on my way to some very important appointment, just to keep it hanging on, just to keep it alive.
I need to make sacred room for discernment. I want to intentionally listen to Spirit. Should I get a “real” job? What sort of job would I get? Should I keep writing here every week? Should I do something else? In spiritual direction I am encouraged to evaluate the difference between what is life giving and what is life taking. Sometimes the circumstances of life allow us no choices. We must simply put our heads down and plow through. But that is not the case for me now, in this moment, so I will take this summer as a time for discernment. I would welcome your prayers during this time.
In addition to garden tending, coffee drinking and chicken watching, I plan to thoroughly immerse myself in a growing stack of books, rather than hastily reading for sound bites that I might share with you here or in my church meditation group. First up, “Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian,” by Paul Knitter. That’s been at the top of my “to read” list for some time now.
I’d like to walk. I’d like to walk a lot. I’d like to walk the many different avenues Lexington provides. And maybe go back to a yoga practice. I haven’t regularly exercised in nearly a year.
I’d like to learn every possible way there is to cook with eggs.
I’d like to try my hand at pickle making, again.
I’d like to pick berries for a whole day, at least once. As a child, when I would visit my father every summer, I often picked blackberries. I’d like to do this again.
I’d like to fully engage my hobby of photography. I thought I might take lessons but it was suggested to me that perhaps I should read my camera manual. I’m going to try that. I’m going to be a photographer for the sake of my photography, rather than the other way around.
I’d like to ride my bike.
I intend on writing but in a more organic, personal and intimate way. I’ll be posting (or not) on my solo blog, www.readinclover.com.
When summer ends, perhaps I will have a clearer understanding of God’s plan for me.
The peace of Christ be with you,