Choosing “Yes” In a Broken World

it is a serious thing / just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world– Mary Oliver

Meditations in Motion

Bill and I went trail running with our friend Al last week.

Following social distancing rules, we set off from the visitor’s center of a local wildlife refuge on a gravel road, then quickly turned onto a single-track trail and climbed, climbed, climbed.

The guys seemed to have the energy of men half their age. They bounded effortlessly up the hill, while I plodded morosely along, struggling to keep up and taking frequent walk breaks.

I may have allowed some self-pity to creep into my consciousness.

When we finally reached the summit and paused to look at the vista, I had to admit, it was gorgeous.

The delicate green of the newly-leafed forest contrasted with a heartbreakingly blue sky and the lake at the center of the refuge shimmered in the distance.

I drew the clear morning air into my lungs as my heart rate slowed. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, it was impossible to maintain the impressive funk I was in the process of accumulating.

Meditations in Motion
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Overhead, I heard the thin wheeze of a black and white warbler. A slight breeze ruffled my hair.

I may have smiled, reluctantly.

That the world is broken these days is undeniable, but the spring mornings are still fresh.

The sap rises in the trees, the birds pause to devour insects on their way north to their nesting grounds, the sun rises higher in the sky each day, bathing the forest in lambent light, and a pity party is hard to sustain.

The virus with a crown of spikes may hold sway in this land but, for those of us still breathing, time is ours.

Time comes barreling at us, fresh every second. We will get swept away by time; we have no option. That was the deal made for us when we were born. It’s a train traveling solely in one direction.

Now is the thinnest skin separating the future from the past, but it’s all we have.

We get to choose how to spend it.

And that is everything. We get to choose how to spend our “now“.

Our choices are not unlimited – we can’t travel, we can’t gather with a large group of our friends, we can’t go out to a restaurant for dinner, we can’t hug family members we don’t live with – but restrictions on our choices were always present.

Meditations in Motion

Even before the Coronavirus crisis, I couldn’t, for example, do a forward fold, I couldn’t solve Schrodinger’s Wave Equation, I couldn’t donate blood.

But I have learned slowly, over the course of my life, that I worship a God of “yes“, of abundance, of “can” and oh, what I can do!

I can go hiking with some of my grandchildren, exploring riverbanks, and climbing rocky ravines. I can video chat with another grandson, laughing at his silliness and marveling at his ingenuity and imagination.

I can visit each weekend with old friends (virtually, of course) and feel the comforting familiar rhythms that have developed over decades of togetherness.

I can solve crossword puzzles with my husband, laughing over obscure clues, both of us willing to cheat by Googling the answers that leave us stymied.

I can run on the roads around my small town and on the trails in the woods nearby. I can do yoga with an online instructor, feeling the stretch and release, the exertion followed by peace.

We can choose to be grateful, rather than sullen. We can choose to speak kindness, rather than spread hate. We can choose humility over arrogance. We can choose to celebrate our lighted days, rather than curse the darkness.

And we can choose to appreciate the ability to play in the woods on a beautiful day in May.

Which is what I (finally) did.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

83 comments

  1. Yes, though many choices have been stripped from us at the moment, choices still remain. We can embrace the moment, celebrating the things we can still do, or wallow in a pity-party. I’ve stood on the brink of that dark abyss, and stepped away. Life is too good to not give thanks.
    Blessings, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes to this…a resounding yes. Now is such a thin veil, but you’re right, it is all we have and being out in nature brings all the perspective rushing back. Mind you, I think I would have still been halfway up that hill looking for my lost lung…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This truly is a time to stretch our gratitude, as well as actual muscles, Laurie. I’m glad you’re doing both and encouraging us to do the same. It’s something I’m learning ever so slowly and feel like I’m finally making some progress to something of a beautiful summit in my own life. It’s the blessing that can only be found by hard work, difficulty and faith in God! Thanks for this reminder and kudos to you for staying so active!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your positivity and can-do attitude and, just enjoying the little, simple things that bring out the best in us all. 🌿I know I am feeling grateful for this quiet time with myself..and it’s great to see how easy life can be .if we let it.πŸ¦‹πŸ•ŠπŸ’š

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post about the choices we make. I agree there are many positives to find in life even during times of isolation #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Laurie – I’ve been tackling this time of lockdown by focusing on the positives too. There are so many blessings still available to us and the few setbacks are minor in comparison to those who have been hit hard. I’m so grateful that Australia has been so minimally affected and in our State they are starting to return things back to normal – with intra-State travel opening up in the next couple of weeks. I’m so excited that I’ll get to see the kids and grandgirls again, but even with that issue there was still the internet and videos and photos – life is good and we need to keep looking at the beauty and the blessings don’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Leanne – there are so many blessings available for us. I just have to remember that. Our area of the US was hard hit but we too are beginning to return to normal. It will be a long journey, though.

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  7. Thank you for the beautiful description of a spring morning in May. It is indeed a wonderful thing.
    Let’s be grateful for all things we have and can do (btw, I can’t do the forward fold either!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes. Those are some great choices and realization of all that we can still do. Wonderful line, “Now is the thinnest skin separating the future from the past, but it’s all we have.” Our choice to live in and enjoy the now is one of the most powerful things we have. This is a great way for me to start my week. Thank you!

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  9. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•
    Choose yes…
    Hard to do. But so worth it.
    I’m glad you got to go up there. Mountain tops are gorgeous …
    Have a great week
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie,
    You know, I never take the gift of being able to simply walk for granted. I had four major surgeries that had me laid up for months – not being able to even bear weight on a knee or foot let alone walk. Anytime I go for a walk, I always start with “Thank you, God.” Even the simplest gifts we take for granted. Like you, I am trying to choose to say “Yes” and “Thank you” for what IS instead of mourning what ISN’T. Great reminder this am!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes! Gratitude for what we can still do is sorely lacking and seeming to get worse around here the past few days. I can only hope all those who are “fighting” for “freedom” don’t cause more innocent people who are following the rules to get sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Tracy. You have hit on a sore spot with me. I have some very un-Christian thoughts about those people “fighting for freedom”, especially here in Lancaster County, where we have 50 new cases every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry, I’m sure my husband has voiced those un-Christian thoughts out loud in our home this weekend! It seems very hard to love our neighbors when our neighbors have skewed the meaning of freedom and made a national health crisis into a political fight. Is there nothing people won’t make political these days? It frustrates and saddens me. I don’t understand their logic… it’s not as if Governor Wolf is getting some benefit from keeping things closed longer than necessary, he’s trying to save lives!

        I’m not sure if you’ve heard but Round the Clock diner opened in York this weekend to patrons for dining in. The posts on their Facebook (Jason still has his account active) giving them props are just ridiculous to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great reminder to focus on what we can do in this season rather than what we cannot. It’s a shift in perspective that ushers in joy and contentment! I need to remind myself if this truth as my 8 month old is on his 6 tooth in three weeks and we are both sleep-deprived and emotional most days!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely words and the only thing that can calm me down is breathing in nature. The fact that you went trail running at all says volumes. I was thrilled when I got a bit off a paved walking path yesterday without twisting an ankle, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good for you, Laurie, to choose what you can do and keep on your positive thinking. I agree with Mary Oliver that it’s a serious thing just to be alive. Have a wonderful week! #senisal

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was thinking about this earlier – there’s a lot we can’t choose about our circumstances right now but we can choose our attitude. And, as of today, we’re not limited in outdoor exercise here. We still can’t meet with people, or sit outside and we have to keep our distance from others, but we can go out and walk as much as we like, so I’m choosing to be grateful for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Observing how nature is still continuing–the birds are nesting and singing, the Canada Geese are settling into their new ponds for the next 6 months, the trees are budding. Even though it seems like so much has stopped, nature reminds me that life is still moving, always. Yes, may we find the joy in all that we have now as nothing has really been taking away in a sense. It’s just a different way of exploring what is here. The sun still rises every day! Thanks for reminding me to always be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Laurie, we truly have so many choices, don’t we? We may not get to choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our response and our heart attitude. Choosing gratitude has been such a critical thing that’s helping me get through this time. Thank you for always being an uplifting voice in this blogosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh, yes, I need to read this. πŸ™‚ I need to stay focused on the things I can do instead of the things I can’t. Being sequestered at home hasn’t been hard for me except for when I want to go see the grandkids or be with friends. But even in that, I want to look for the “can’s” instead of the “cannots.” Thanks, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It is harder and harder to accept this new normal Laurie – I pray they find a safe vaccine and we can go on without the fear. I liked this sentence: “The virus with a crown of spikes may hold sway in this land but, for those of us still breathing, time is ours.”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Focusing on what we can do instead of what we cannot do, can dramatically change our perception of things! Thanks for the reminder. I was kind of having a pity party today for myself. It’s our anniversary and I don’t feel very celebratory

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can identify with your pity party. I have to jolt myself out of mine several times a week. Happy anniversary! Hope you and your hubby can find a way to celebrate!

      Like

  21. “We can choose to be grateful, rather than sullen. We can choose to speak kindness, rather than spread hate. We can choose humility over arrogance. We can choose to celebrate our lighted days, rather than curse the darkness.” These words right here πŸ˜‰ WE can hope that others will follow suit. Great post, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Well. I am hoping that soon you get some leeway and can meet up with family. This whole time does play on our minds and I reckon everyone is allowed to be sad and mad about it for a bit. These are extraordinary times. Be kind to you! Thanks so much for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is 20/51 Share Your Snaps #4. 18.5.2020 and I look forward to catching you linking up there too. Warm wishes, Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so too, Denyse. Our state has started to open up but not our region of the state. Our new case rate is still more than twice what it needs to be for us to reopen. That’s down from 5 times the rate! Thanks for hosting and see you next week.

      Like

  23. Beautifully stated. Sometimes, I do get caught up in the heaviness of the world’s situation, and I try to be aware that there are people who are simply unable to choose that happiness and yes. I’m lucky in that regard, though, and so I do try to keep perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wonderful post, it is great to remain positive and be thankful for what we have. I chose to be happy, enjoy the simple things. Going outside for a walk is also necessary for my mental health. I can’t run but I do enjoy a hike or walk. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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    • I am enjoying my weekend. I have spent a lot of time sitting on my deck this weekend. We saw bay breasted warblers (a pair) in the trees behind our house, along with scarlet tanagers, orioles, and indigo buntings.

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  25. Time β€œis a train traveling solely in one direction.” So true, Laurie. It reminds me of something my dad used to say: β€œThere’s only one alternative to growing older.” (Somehow, I think the two of you would have gotten along very well.) I appreciate your perspective here, and the path you took to get there.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is beautiful! The virus has not taken away our ability to love others and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. God is still in charge and when we have trouble catching our breath while running uphill, He is right there to breathe into our lungs. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. You’re so right. I’ve realized the other day that its best to go with the flow of the river rather than fighting the current. My girlfriend lives so close, but not with me. Since I’ve gone back to work last Monday we decided it be best if we take at least two weeks of social distancing just to be sure how it goes for me. So far so good. And being in present (or at least trying to be) has really helped. There are things that I can do with my time alone to get through this easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you for being responsible. the last thing you would want to do is pass along germs to someone you love. I love your image of going with the flow rather than fighting the current. Too easy to get swept away!

      Like

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