I am excited to participate in a blog link up with blogger Heather Gerwing. The last Monday of each month, Heather invites other bloggers to share their “Four Somethings”. These should include Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned, Something Read. These are four great topics to think about! You can check out the March Somethings here. If you are a blogger, you may post your Four Somethings too!
Every March I search for signs of the coming season. I love seeing the first crocus, hearing the first spring peepers (tree frogs), and feeling the first thin warmth of the sun hit my back when I am sitting on our deck. I can hear downy woodpeckers drumming from the deck in March, their way of attracting a mate. I am a runner, so I love the beginning of the spring racing season. I have issued myself a challenge this spring, to try to run a 5k each month faster than the month before. I got my baseline race completed in March. I love the promise of fecundity in spring. I love the delicate green of new leaves and the fragility of newborn lambs and goats in fields near where I live. March in southeastern Pennsylvania is all about anticipation, and I love to anticipate a treat. As a kid, I loved Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day.
I read an intriguing quote earlier this month from evangelist Beth Moore “Something down the road depends on our present stretch of pavement.” As a runner, how could I not love that quote? Ms. Moore meant it in a spiritual context, but I have found it relevant for other areas of life too. If I want to run across 26.2 miles of pavement tomorrow, I had better train to go long distances today. I am a firm believer that what we do today counts. What we do today lays the foundation for our tomorrows. If we are undisciplined today, we may not be able to accomplish our goals in the future. I love this quote. I wish I had it emblazoned on a poster so that I could look at it and remember, but I it is now written on my heart.
I love the concept of mindfulness, of being in the present. This idea is often associated with meditation and Buddhism, but this month I learned that there also is a Christian tradition of mindfulness. One of the Christian Desert Fathers, the monk Evagrius Ponticus taught the concept of emptying one’s mind for contemplation without the confusing swirl of thoughts that typically distract us. This is the basis for what later became contemplative prayer. Christian mystics such as Meister Eckhart tell us that when we empty ourselves of selfish conceits such as fear and self-importance, we allow room for God in our lives.
I just finished a fantastic book by Kerry Egan, a hospice chaplain, called On Living. I was hesitant to read it, fearing that it would be a morbid, depressing book. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a book that I heartily recommend. It is easy to read and full of humor, courage and wisdom. It is not a book about dying, it is a book about living. Ms. Egan writes several vignettes about patients she has encountered over the course of her career, then goes on to describe what she has learned from her interaction with each patient. It is uplifting, educational and honest, full of love and joy. I hated to read the last page.
Thanks to Heather Gerwind for the opportunity and inspiration to reflect on four significant subjects!