EIGHT WEEK THURSDAY: PEACE LINKS TO GRACE


This is the promised Part Three of my QUIET-PEACE-GRACE set of essays.

So I just listened to a cloud and held my breath and smiled at a stranger.  Then he smiled at someone during their rudeness to him, and the rude one flew to a far country and smiled and someone about to pick up a rocket launcher listened to a cloud.  So now we have peace, just like that?  Well, yes and no.  Yes,  I and the stranger driving by my roses and the rude clerk and the farway fighter do now have a connection in peace.  No, not all the other neighbors nor all the other customers treated rudely nor all the other soldiers in that far way camp instantly experience peace.  BUT……..

All the other neighbors and all the other customers and all the other soldiers now stand right beside a presence of QUIET and PEACE.  QUIET and PEACE radiating outward from just one single person in each time and place form an aura, an almost-halo, a CLOUD, if you will, of prescient GRACE.  Yes, GRACE: that which makes spiritual growth possible.  And is not spiritual growth totally essential to build an environment for PEACE?

Why is GRACE necessary for spiritual growth?  It is necessary just as a seed is necessary to a plant, just as water and air and light and proper soil are necessary to a plant.  But can the plant survive, much less grow, if it is stepped upon in haste?  No, the plant must be allowed to be still, be “quiet” within its space in order to experience the peace necessary for fruitful growth.  WE must allow ourselves quiet and peace before we can receive enough water and light and air and nutrients to soak into ourselves to grow, to thrive.  And is this not one of the forms of GRACE?  And if carrying GRACE inside us, would we not then be fostering PEACE just by our very presence?  Would we not then be links in a chain of peace?

Now, are we simply dropped into little spaces of quiet and peace?  No, we surely are not.  Therefore, we must just stop, hold a breath, slow our seeking hearts, empty our searching minds, and become like Gandhi and Solzhynitsn and Jesus of Nazareth before Pilate.  Like them, we must just be quiet both with our mouths and within our very souls.

May GRACE abound!

 

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EIGHTH WEEK WEDNESDAY: TINY QUIET MOMENTS HOOK TOGETHER FOR LONG CHAINS OF PEACE


 

 

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.

EIGHTH WEEK TUESDAY: ABOUT-TO-BE ESSAY ON PEACEFUL GRATITUDE


What I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving season is the dawning realization that the most long-lasting blessings, the brightest truths, and the sweetest-tasting peace resides in a very QUIET PLACE!  Some of the quiet places bringing such blessings are the ones I least expected to find as being QUIET!  For example, the utter quiet when you are lying downwind of the turkey flock in the woods, one-split second before you hear that first scratch in the acorns or that first gabble.  Another example is the quiet between heartbeats when you are conciously slowing your own heart to calm a terrified, abandoned dog by the roadside.  Another quiet place is found in your own throat just before you gulp in amazement at the Monarch butterfly lighting on the lip of your abandoned coffee cup.  And has anyone given proper gratitude for that split-second of quiet at the bottom of a crescendo, either in a musical concert or in lovemaking?

I am so very grateful for these split-second hushes of awe simply because they are filled with awe.  Being graced with the ability to stretch our souls wide into AWE is such a priceless blessing for which to be grateful.  My sainted maternal grandfather used to tip-toe in to remind us grandchildren sleeping on pallets after Thanksgiving Day was over that “Now is the part of the day for which you REALLY ought to give thanks.  This is the time for remembrance.  This is the time for storing up your treasure where no one can break in and steal it.  Now is the time for dreaming.  Now is the time for thinking how much love waits for you here in the morning.”  PawPaw, I know you are reading this as I write it, from your specially assigned light beam.  I am so gratefully peaceful in these memories of you.  I am so peacefully grateful that you were, and are, my dear PawPaw.  You always amazed us how quietly you could tiptoe.

I am giving thanks for the quiet of my children’s breaths when preparing to greet me.  I am filled with peace and gratefulness at the quiet in my soul when I view each new set of grandchildren’s photos posted on their parents’ websites.  They are so quiet in their expectations just before their shouts of glee!  Truly, it is the quietness in those brief moments of anticipation for which I give thanks.  These brief moments ride on the faster-than-light particles from my heart to theirs.  From them I have learned to hold my breath and just BE.  The little ones in city, field, and forest know the secret of breath-held peace in preparation for whatever the day brings.  The little ones know the necessity of the held breath.  Without a held breath, a slowed heart, a focused mind, a directed soul, the long-awaited/soon-expected never quite happens fully.

My invitation to you all is to hold your breath, to watch, to focus just a split-second here and there through the happy bustle of this holiday.  The micro-second of utter quiet within yourself will provide its very own “Horn of Plenty”, dear pilgrim.

FOURTH WEEK SATURDAY: SIXTH MINIPOST,MINIRHYTHMS OF QUIET


First, allow me to correct yesterday’s post listing other websites I follow/like/blog on:

Besides http://hahousewife.wordpress.com, I also am “hooked up” with:

http://aboutzen.wordpress.com  (who has a very popular post called “Whispering Trees”)

and

http://talkingleaves.wordpress.com (which has a lot to do with listing to nature)

I am celebrating today the following:

1)sunrise on frost

2)early birds in my pathways

3)my dogs teaching me so many benefits of quiet walking

4)all of the above sharpening my creative focus and almost pre-selecting my words for me

All of the above are so nourishing for my soul that I am renewed constantly as I write, even when editing and being interrupted with the detritus left over from a day of pushing all that “busy-stuff” onto the back burner of my life!

Hooray for quiet spirits gathering all around me.  Thank you, one and all!

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