No surface is safe, corks and beads line the window sill like the tiny pyramids of snow stretching for miles down the silent power lines, aching to be pulled and snapped clean.
But like the high power lines, cleanliness always seems just out of reach.
Sort, toss, recycle, box for Goodwill... Repeat until the kids get home from school, carrying school work, art, lists...
I can hear the scrape of the snow shovel on concrete, feel the shovel lighten as the piles grow on either side of the sidewalk. Shoulders burning, fingers numb, nose and eyes frozen wet, watching the shovel cut the snow through thick clouds of my own breath.
And then, it happens. I reach the end of the sidewalk and slowly turn...
Is it just me, or does everyone hear a full orchestra in their heads as their eyes fill with the sight of that beautiful gray boulevard, lined with majestic white mountains? That beautiful sight leading to warmth and coffee and slippers warming on the radiator?
I feel so utterly full of myself when I finish shoveling snow, even on those days when it's already white again when I turn around. Even on this day, when the 'snow' is clutter and the weather is warm and rainy outside.
Tonight, as I sit in my little condo by the sea, our new home; I focus on the beautiful brown expanse of an empty dining room table leading to a wide open space of clean kitchen counter. How can empty be so satisfying? But it is.
I see the clouds gathering under the moon, and I know there's another clutter flurry in tomorrow's forecast. But I am surprised to find I am filled with a peaceful calm. Of all that life is filled with right now- in my family, community, our world; it is powerfully reassuring that I know I am capable of handling this one little slice of my life. I feel empowered in the midst of the flurries of life.
May your winter be filled with sturdy shovels and warm slippers.
Together, let us reach out and bind the wounds of one another.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer:
God of all of us,
Remind us that you are with us when we have no words. Sit beside us while we cry, or while we sit dumbfounded, too shocked for tears.
Fanatics have misunderstood, and twisted the words of the Koran, lashing out at the innocent again. They have taken your name in vain. In Beirut, in Paris, in Baghdad, your children mourn the loss of your children. And still they flee Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, the list goes on, it’s too overwhelming to wrap our heads around.
Instead of lashing out to retaliate, to try and conquer those that are other, give us courage for much harder work; give us the strength to conquer the anger and fear that lives in each of us, the anger and fear that drives us to do more harm, to ostracize others, to store up for ourselves and do little for those in need.
It’s a scary world right now, God, but you are still the God of our ancestors, you are still the God of our children, you are still our God.
Give us courage, when we feel alone, to remember you. Some of us are feeling alone because a partner or friend is no longer in our lives. Some of us feel alone sitting right beside someone we love. Small misunderstandings can build big walls.
Help us to see you in the eyes of those we disagree with. Help us to see you when we look in the mirror. Your love lives within each of us, no matter what.
The singing bowl stands silent, collecting dust and receipts and longing to sing the hurricane into peaceful water once again. Acid churns in my stomach, pushing me slowly down the list that will. not. end.
There are simply too many options for what to fit into this day to possibly make a choice and get started. There are too many mundane tasks that must be completed that hold no sense of satisfaction and therefore no allure. And yet the lights get turned off if you don’t pay the bill and no one gets dressed if you don’t do the laundry.
But the allure that lies in the large tasks, is so large it seems insurmountable. Planning a retreat for 35 amazing women, writing a sermon for the first time to a congregation that raised me and is so hopeful for my leadership, yearning for that next song to fill my soul and pour out of me, to fill and heal me and those around me.
Some days there is just too much potential in the day it is stupefying. I resent the tiny stumbling baby steps that seem to be my only mode of transportation these days. But I am also reminded that those tiny, bumbling baby steps are precisely what have brought me to this moment, in this life, and it’s actually not such a bad place to be. It’s exquisite, truth be told.
Gotta go, off to empty the dishwasher, and the singing bowl.