Tilting my head to one side as I walked across the overfull parking lot – weighed down by laptop, books, papers to grade, cell phone and all the other amenities which I pack around – parasites necessary for my current state of being.
I see what’s left of the sparse Fall colors here in northern California. The colors that, with one windy evening, have fallen and have already begun to dry, fading into one brittle, monotone layer which will with the next wind, be forgotten. The remnants of gold and red have already faded to rouge and mustard. I almost stop to take a picture, but realize how many things I’d need to set down and then need to re-sling over my shoulder, instead I continue walking….
Last night at church there was talk of futures planned not by us but held firm – directed, protected, by God. Talk of business and bustling – busy-ness which keeps us from balance. I sat quietly, knitting, thinking.
Busy I know.
I have known for a long time: full days, sometimes productive, sometimes full of hoops I know need to be jumped through in order to get to the next day – the future – trying to fulfill all of the plans – mine, family’s….God’s? Mine. I joked with a friend after church about the balance of work, school and family and the need to find balance. I said I was looking forward to balance – which requires only 2 of those things – laughing that I didn’t see how a balance could support three things without swaying to one side or the other.
He immediately stood on one leg – hands to the side, one leg back – and gracefully corrected my idea of balance.
I do not remember which passage from Thessalonians we read, I do not remember precisely how the stories aligned. What I remember is sitting, attempting to remember balance, catching words such as “breathing in the breath of God” and faintly remembering the inspiration I focused so steadily on not so very long ago.
Reminding myself that work, school, family, church, gardening, knitting, reading, all of those parts of this living. Living on the edge of crazy, pushing myself to do the best and ‘succeed’ are goals measured only by me. If instead I live into each moment without worry about whatever effect that moment will play in the future, I will find the balance. Thankful for the moment, the lesson learned, the time spent. Breathing in each breath and being thankful rather than wondering how to get to the next one, or how to get to next week, or year.
Planning, having goals, all of this is important, but letting these plans and goals – the focus on the future – be more important than right now never allows thankfulness or grace an entrance. So I sit here tonight. Probably avoiding things I should be finishing in order to be successful two days from now, attempting to focus instead on how lovely it is to be quiet. To sit with a cup of coffee and read the blogs I’ve been bookmarking for a future day when I’m not so busy. When busy is just a construct of my own doing, I guess I get to decide when to take time to notice the moments right?
There’s no guarantee that I will ever put down the baggage of my day in order to capture the beautiful fallen leaves, but maybe I will –
– and take a few more moments to notice them – to be thankful for the turning of seasons – for signs of life that push through the pavement of a crowded parking lot – defying the constant foot traffic, growing upward toward a sky which is so blue.
Stop and watch the trees swaying gracefully in the invisible wind, breathing in grace, dancing to music unheard. Watch the clouds move smoothly across the vast blue sky and wonder where they formed, when they’ll fall, what path they’ll take to begin again their cycle toward the heavens. And breathe Grace in a moment .
Shift the baggage of the day
– re-balance –
and continue to the next moment, unencumbered by the future.