Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Sweet Spot

In my sporadic attendance to my Companions group this spring, I have been learning about the sweet spot. We have been discussing the book, "Longing to Pray" and talking about our friendships and what our relationships tell us about our relationship with God. The sweet spot, is that time in which we set aside for God for prayer, listening, meditation, or conversation. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I do not find my sweet spot every day, nor do I necessarily find it on consecutive tries.
I am most often successful in finding my sweet spot when I am sitting in my special place. Where on earth would a busy mom's special place be? Mine is as simple as my front porch rocker. Oh how quaint. Oh how trite. Oh how southern grandma of me. Oh how like a country song. Oh seriously are you for real? Yes.
I feel the most at peace there in my rocker and I don't go there often without planning to sit there for some time. There is a purposefulness to my rocking. I deliberately go there when the children are asleep, or busy with something else, or at school, or off with their father on an adventure. I like to read there, but mostly I simply be.
I find simply being allows me to experience a full range of emotions about a full range of thoughts. I worry over the children. I take stock of my marriage. I  think about my family. I wonder about my friends. I ponder the possibilities.  I drink in the scenery and never fail to be grateful for the beauty around me in all four seasons. 
Experiencing the four seasons from my rocker is in essence how I channel my inner peace. While peace takes many forms, my inner peace starts with gratitude.  And for me, gratitude starts with a clear picture of something for which I am thankful. I am grateful for our beautiful world. I've been many fabulous places and experienced more wonderful things than most people. I appreciate beauty in a multitude of forms. The view from my front porch however, is where I am most grateful for the beauty of the earth. In the winter time I listen to what the wind has to say to me. In the spring I feel more alive somehow. In the summer I appreciate the heat and humidity pressing around me. In the fall, the air seems cleaner and sharper.
 Once my channeling is underway a welling up from somewhere deep within me inevitably causes the tears to flow. I am so overcome with thankfulness for my life and everything in it. For it takes everything--good, bad, ugly, pretty, simple, complicated, hurtful, or healing--in my life to make it a beautiful life. Here then, is the sweet spot. Now I am open to God. What does he want me to hear? What does he have to say to me? What in my life is really worth bringing to our joint attention? When I'm in my sweet spot, I seem to know what needs talking about. What I need to bring before God isn't always pretty, and is often ugly behavior on my part. But what is ugly about our actions reminds us what we need to do to make our lives beautiful again. So the tears come. And the repentance, and the forgiveness, and the grace to go on making mistakes.
I encourage you to take the time to find your special place. Where is your sweet spot? Where are you the most alive? The most attentive to the sound of silence? Go there and find your inner peace.

For the Beauty of the Earth
By John Rutter
(I'm writing this from memory...summer of 7th grade, Appalachian State University Choral Camp...so forgive me if I miss a word or two. I'm singing the alto line in my head just now trying to remember it all.)
For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
over and around us lies
over and around us lies
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn
of praise.
For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night
hill and vale
and tree and flower
sun and moon and stars of night
sun and moon and stars of night
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise.
This our joyful hymn, our hymn of praise.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I am disappointed that I couldn't come up with anything profound to send to my friends this Mother's Day. But I'm not disappointed in how I have spent my day. I enjoyed lunch that I didn't have to make or clean up with the two mothers in my life--my own mother and my mother-in-law. I have spent time reading a new book (my favorite activity). I took a nap. I sat in my rocking chair on the front porch and drank in the beauty of the earth around me (until the bees and pollen sent me inside). Now I am typing while my husband makes dinner and the boys are "helping" him by generally being in the way. Not a bad way to celebrate a day that's all about me, right?
I decided that it was okay for me to do these somewhat selfish things because it gave me time to recharge my battery and refill my love tank. When my boys need me I want to fill the need. When my friends call me, I want to help. When the world needs action, I want to be able to heed the call. I cannot do these things if I am empty and used up. Hence the pause today to refill my cup. I am grateful that I have the opportunity in my life to do so and I am thankful to those around me who provided me with the time off--my husband and my father-in-law who so intuitively understand what I need and when I need it. It's uncanny in a man to find that, and I seem to have two men in my life who get it.
So to my family of friends (and my family members), I say with deep gratitude in my heart, Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for mothering me with your care. Thank you for mothering me with your love. Thank you for supporting me in my journey as a mother and helping me mother those around me. Thank you for the example of mothering you have brought into my life. Thank you to all the mothers who have blazed the trail before me and made my path easier. And to all those who love, shelter, and provide for mothers this day and all days, thank you for your devotion to us.