As I held a “wow” gasp for an extra second this morning over my roses exploding all over themselves as they invited themselves to the Thanksgiving table, I “heard” a cloud overhead wish for more space and light, more freedom. I started to tell myself myself it was my white-hair bordered ears straining for words from that parallel universe. But, no, I held another breath and sighed and resolved to just continue “hearing” the clouds. I knew they had much to tell me of space and light and freedom and peacefulness. I knew, if I just stayed very quiet long enough, just a few more moments, I would “hear” cloud-breaths telling me of their high-up delights and their views of how all down below could become more peaceful. For, you see, this Thanksgiving week, I am extra-prayerful for peace amongst us here on Earth. The meditation-time song I played last Sunday evening at vespers was “Let There Be Peace On Earth”. And, you know, it ends with these words: “…and let it begin with me.”
Now walking past the exuberant roses just clamoring to feast with us, I walked as softly as I could remember PawPaw tip-toeing to tell us goodnight and GodBless and I love you on Thanksgiving night so long ago. As this memory drilled from my heart down into my toes, I felt I was floating, like that “talking” cloud. The uplift came from the quiet concentration of meditating upon–and requesting–peace within myself that would be so filled with light that it would radiate outwards to connect with the tiniest sub-particles of peace in the hearts of all people I would encounter over the next few days. I came to understand in these few moments beside the roses that I was already filled with peace because I stood in absolutely still acceptance of the roses and the “talking cloud” and myself inbetween.
Then a dear neighbor passed with a molasses-slow wave and nod in his “older” pickup truck, sharing whispers of stray out of the tail-gate. Some of the older cousins of these very whisps were already sheltering my rose roots from the chills of late autumn. Now, if you yourself were to stand anyway along my street in early morning; you, too, would receive this slow wave and nod: no stranger you–just because. See? THIS is one of the peace links I pray for; and I have just received one and picture YOU receiving one as you read these words. Of course, you could well miss receiving the slow wave and nod if you were not very still, very quiet. This dear neighbor does not wave and nod to the noisy, the hasty. He knows such gestures would never be perceived by such “busy” folk.
Sighing, and then holding my breath, and then very silently sipping my coffee and silently patting my large dog’s head, then holding my breath again, I understood why I was being “told” by that cloud not to be in a hurry to get “busy” this day. I understood why it was the cloud, and not a tree or a bird, assigned to tell me this. The cloud knows it billows up into ever greater beauty, holding every more succour for the earth below, if it floats gently, almost still, allowing the updrafts to feed it precious drops and then HOLD that life-giving moisture for a while. The cloud, being higher than a treetop or a bird in flight, could see further, could “imagine” further, just had more to “tell” me of the needs for peace in many more places far away and near at hand. Naturally, those exuberant roses could not wait to remind me that their cloud friend was to be given proper credit for their own beauty and exuberance!
Now, the rising sun gleams on several new links in my chain of peace, extending a little further and little further towards the horizon. However, I instantly knew that if I became un-quiet, breathed heavier, stepped less care-fully, I would mist over the shining links, scatter dust and debris over the precious metal of those peace-links, triggering the decline into rust and dis-use of those very links, so newly molded and polished in this early morning cloudtalk/neighbornod/rosewhisper/Pawpawtiptoe of discovery.
My prayers are being answered and will connect with your prayers for peace and connect you to yet others and others and others……..shu—uu–h!
May you hover in a silent gasp under your very own high cloud, with a rosepetal on your fingertip ready to float off to a nodding neighbor of your own.
Guess what? That nodding neighbor might have a surname originating on the far side of the globe. That nodding neighbor might twitter your smile to places your held breath and your rosepetal cannot reach, at least for now. That nodding neighbor may not understand why he holds his own breath, then smiles, at a rude clerk when he stops for gas. That smiled-upon rude clerk may be flying off tomorrow to a place five miles down a trail from a camp inhabited by followers of teachings you never heard of when your own bedtime was blessed as a small child. Someone in that camp might stretch and yawn at sunrise to hold their breath at a cloud talking to them.
“And I shall lead you by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.” This was a promise to the father of the three major religions of this world when he was leading his people in flight from un-peace towards the promise of peace.
NOTE: Please check back in here in about 36 hours for the third and final essay in this Thanksgiving Week of 2011 set of essays on quiet, gratitude, peace, and grace.