This week, we’re giving ourselves the permission to “be tiny”—enamored with and nourished by simple delights. To savor the gift of the sacred, in the ordinary and the mundane.
And yes, I will continue to put my money on Mary Howitt’s observation. “He (she) is happiest who hath power to gather wisdom from a flower.” Yes… say, a frost cloaked dandelion, on my early morning walk.
This week, I take this with me into my day: “Yes, the tiny delights that transform our tiredness, into moments soaked in grace.” (Thank you Jenneth Graser.)
Too good to be true?
When I tally the catches of the heart (the tiny delights) this week, I realize that I can see my life through the eyes of the little boy (in the GK Chesterton story). And I can answer the question: “So, how did I replenish my emotional and spiritual savings account this week?”
Thank you for the gift of tiny. It is a life-giving paradigm shift.
The invitation to pause. In order to see. To pay attention, to notice, to wonder, to take delight. It’s all about the gift of presence. In other words, to be here now.
Meister Eckhart says that if you only learn one prayer in your whole life, learn this one: “Thank you.”
With presence, we are no longer waiting for our real life to begin.
This week, can we embrace the reality—even in a world heavy with pain—that the dance, the perseverance, the abundance, the light, the tenderness, the intimacy, the wholeheartedness, the spine-tingling elation of joy, comes to life in the tiny moments soaked in grace?
Moments that allow us to be here now?
You see, it’s not really about happiness at all. It’s about being awake. Embracing that connection between simple delights and gratitude. When we do (and I love this part), the cracks and crevices and gaps in our lives become the places where grace enters.
And fuels joy.
And, the best part, spills to a world that needs it.
To my California friends, with the heavy wind warnings, stay safe. And the same for those with freeze warnings across parts of the country. Here in the PNW, we’ve had a week of heavy morning frost. That’s pretty chilly (and rare) for this neck of the woods. But the little delights in frost art, well, they are magical.
Let us never forget… We’re all just walking each other home. (Thank you, Ram Dass)
And on this journey together, my friends, we can learn from Día de los Muertos (the first two days of November, what in our church, we call All Saints and All Souls Day.)
All Saints’ Day celebrates the holy men and women in Heaven, those known and unknown by the Church, on November 1, whereas All Souls’ Day honors all of the faithful departed on November 2. In some countries, such as Mexico, people know All Souls’ Day as the second day of “Día de Los Muertos.”
Whereas Halloween is a night of mischief and scary stuff, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of color and life-affirming joy.
Yes, the theme is death, but to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.
The rituals include an altar, or ofrenda, built in private homes and cemeteries. These aren’t altars for worshipping; rather, they’re meant to welcome spirits back to the realm of the living. As such, they’re loaded; with water to quench thirst after the long journey, favorite food, family photos, and a candle for each dead relative. If one of the spirits is a child, you might find small toys on the altar.
This is a wonderful reminder of the power of tiny things to see (and allow us to remember and embrace) the reflections of love, affection, care, joy, connection, presence, and yes, the gifts in the too often overlooked (and “unloved”) things.
So, I was grateful to receive this Nicolette Sowder poem today. An affirmation of the power of the “tiny delights that transform our tiredness, into moments soaked in grace.” (Thank you Jenneth Graser.)
May we raise children who love the unloved things
May we raise children
who love the unloved things – the dandelion, the
worms & spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn
& run into rainswept days
the same way they turn towards sun…
And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice
may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things
and be the ones.
For Halloween lovers, I hoped you enjoyed your candy. And mostly (for many parts of the county), I hoped you stayed warm.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” Thank you, Eleonora Duse.
And this week, I have been taking this with me into my day: “Yes, the tiny delights that transform our tiredness, into moments soaked in grace.” (Thank you Jenneth Graser.)
Our invitation is to pause, to breathe deep, and savor the tiny delight in our day.
Really Terry? This all seems so contradictory, in a world inflamed, and terrified. And that, I do understand.
So, I’m so grateful for this, from Kent Neburn’s book Small Graces. It does my heart good…
“I have walked a quiet path today… Do we really need much more than this?
To honor the dawn. To visit a garden. To talk to a friend.
To contemplate a cloud. To cherish a meal.
To bow our heads before the mystery of the day. Are these not enough?
If we should be so lucky as to touch the lives of many, so be it. But if our lot is no more than the setting of a table, or the tending of a garden, or showing a child a path in a wood, our lives are no less worthy.
To do justice. To love mercy. To walk humbly with our God.
To bring peace to the old. To have trust in our friends. To cherish the young. Sometimes, it seems, we ask too much. Sometimes we forget that the small graces are enough.”
Here’s the deal: I think what we forget, is the power of small graces to replenish and enrich and sustain us. Small graces that enable us to be present. To be here now. Meaning, to show up in a world that needs people who pay attention. Because people who care, make a difference.
In an interview this morning, John Podhoretz (editor, Commentary Magazine) said, “We cannot allow the evil doers to rob us of the glories of this earth, its beauty, its bounty, its joys. That is what they want from us.”
Savor your days my friends. There is no doubt that our world needs us. But let’s remember that a hydrated soul and spirit is just the ticket, to be available as a light in a world that needs it.
Welcome to November. And I must tell you about the song nesting in my mind.
“Hello darkness, my old friend…
Soon you’ll start at five p.m….”
On Sunday our clocks roll back. For this neck of the woods, the beginning of the season known locally as “The Big Dark.”
This week our conversation has been about the gift of tiny sufficiencies. Moments we easily walk, or rush by, and miss. Yes, the tiny delights that transform our tiredness, into moments soaked in grace. (Thank you Jenneth Graser.)
So. In the big dark, is there an invitation here?
I suppose we could call it hibernation. Or, maybe, rest and renewal.
Here’s the gift… there is something in the permission to give up urgency (yes, the need for haste and rush).
On my mental desk, are a few important decisions that need to be made. And I know this: worry and urgency are the peer pressures of my world. And don’t really help. No wonder, as urgency is predicated on our need to overcome, or tidy up, fix, or cope. There is something about control, I suppose. And I wonder what kind of control I need, and what does it feed? And why am I so afraid of any uncertainty, or unpredictable part of my world?
An image (and story) comes to mind. Many years ago, at the Gardens and Grace Conference in Baltimore, the Cathedral of the Incarnation had a lovely blue slate courtyard, surrounded by shrubs and trees. The setting and marriage of deep green and slate blue (still wet from the evening rain) is calming. The patio is littered with yellow leaves dropped from the nearby trees. The leaves are scattered, random. And exquisite. The impression is playful and whimsical. I hear a noise, all too familiar, as a custodian carries out his assignment of blowing the leaves off the patio. After ten minutes, the patio is “clean,” and ready for use.
So. When he finished, and there was no one else around, I picked up a few handfuls of leaves and scattered them, onto the patio.
This is our invitation: Letting go of urgency (for the purpose of rest and renewal) is intentional.
John Killinger once asked Sister Corita Kent, a nun known as a leader of worship, to help lead worship services. He received a postcard a few days later that simply said, “Dear, I am trying to be quiet. S. Corita.”
Why do we need permission to give up urgency, even for a day?
If you have a patio, scatter some leaves, and watch the sun set a wee bit early. If you have a pond, sit on a rock and sip your coffee. This is not an assignment. It is all about healing that place where urgency will be born.
Prayer for our week…
Today I purpose to live
My life will shine
As the morning sings
I walk in liberty
Bound in true dreams
Chase my forward motion
A covered path before me
The fruits of my hoping
The fruits of my living
Today I purpose to love
My love will speak
With the sound of grace
Merciful within mercy
The works of my faith
Smiles of overflowing
Inspire my giving
Abundance of joy as rain
The fruits of my living
Michael John Faciane
Photo… “Hi Terry, My background is Polish-Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario but raised in Warsaw, Poland. Although I love many aspects of those cities and areas, especially the historical and cultural aspect of Warsaw; and Toronto for being such multicultural mosaic and most inclusive for people from different cultures, countries and around the World. None of them can compare to the huge variety of landscape and greenery and beauty of nature in the Pacific Northwest. Living here I developed a love and passion for Nature Photography, while on my walks and hikes. I especially love photographic magical sunsets we are so blessed to experience living here. This one Des Moines, Washington waterfront, one the Puget Sound. Peace to you. Sincerely,” Anya Taylor… Thank you Anya… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to email@example.com