Monday, May 31, 2010

These are The Days

"...These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there's only future
There's only here, there's only now..."

- These Are The Days, Van Morrison

It seems as if it were just a few short weeks ago that I was wondering if winter would ever end. We had more snow than ever recorded in this part of the country. Philadelphia, where Leigh was living at college, had three blizzards back to back. She was literally “snowed in.” I was unsure if we would ever see the green grass of the earth again as our property had been covered with snow from the week after Thanksgiving until early March.

But the peculiar answer to my prayers was found in three to four days of rain, which caused some serious flooding problems to a number of homes not too far away from where I now sit. “Be careful of what you ask for,” I have been advised.

It seemed that the media prone meteorologists were trying their best to be optimistic about the future. Everyday there seemed to be a report about how it would be five degrees warmer than the previous day. But then these highly paid prognosticators were punished for their false hope and their worldly optimism, as the weather would not cooperate. And we would experience another day of gray, damp and cold winds.
Turning to ground hogs and almanacs also became last resort resources to try and anticipate a sun drenched warm dry blessing of a day. “Just one” the prayers requested!

The pages on the wall calendar flipped and days were marked off. The pictures on the month’s page illustrated a memory of what once was and what could be. The days were crossed off and without great fanfare as they would secretly and gradually grew warmer .The sun would last a little longer in the heavens. Then a sudden burst of unusual brightness would come as if it got off course and would tease us with a bright warming day and for a moment everything looked as though it would be ok. But it was an anomaly and the clouds and cold re-entered the scene driving the wandering pilgrims to prayers of despair.

We all know that there are seasons to the year and that nature slowly and sometimes dramatically moves through time transforming itself and our experience. Yet even with this awareness hope had waned and frustration grew.

But now here I am sitting on my deck at dawn at the end of May listening to the welcoming and celebratory chorus of the morning birds while the watching the “wedge of freedom” flying geese honk their way across the horizon .The hours that were marked and remembered as being yesterday were filled with immense brightness and summer like warmth. The birth of the new day indicates the same. The voices on the car radio proclaimed that this weekend once reserved for remembering the great sacrifice of men and women has been transformed into a celebration in to the first week of summer. (Though the calendar says we have seventeen days before that officially happens.)

It takes a while but I think I am beginning to get it.

During the dark gray cold barren winter I was compelled to stay in the shelter of my home on those lonely mornings. Yet, it wasn’t really that impossible for me to be present to the moment but at times it was a bit of a struggle. The warm aroma of the freshly brewed coffee served as incense blessing the prayers of gratitude for the chance at living another day. Now this pilgrim sits witnessing the dawn amidst the silent strong standing trees accompanied by the bird and cricket chorale. The breath of God breezing across his face as the heaven’s great canopy evolves from black to crystal blue filling him again with humbled gratitude. Admittedly, the great warmth and gradual grand entrance of the sun amongst the freshly blossomed flowers provides a great grace that fuels a welcomed hope-filed spirit.

Well, it is said the “Truth will set you free.” So I feel compelled to say that it is obvious that I have a preference for summer. One of my colleagues once suggested that “summer” to me is a verb. That might have to do with my wearing top-siders (boat shoes) year round, golf shirts and at every chance slipping on shorts! The only thing missing for me as I sit out on my deck facing a pristine forest is water, a lake or ocean. After my quiet reflective time I make sure I take my daily walk around the small neighborhood lake. I make no apologies, as I am a Pisces! But back to the complete truth.

There is a unique serenity to the fresh fallen snow that purifies the barren wintered landscape with its virgin white blanket. Listening to the soft blessings of the flakes as they fall and witnessing the Currier and Ives type landscape is a grace that can fill the spirit to last a lifetime. There have been hours of delight and laughter with the girls being free spirited in the freshly fallen snow. Sledding, snowballing and some shoveling provide fuel for the reflective spirit. And yes I love pulling up my collar in autumn as I walk through the orange-yellow – red browned adorned neighborhood. And, yes spring with the view of the first leaf and flower engenders a spark of grateful optimism.

Even though I know I will probably worry about the weather again I realize there is “a time (and reason) for every season.” Maybe all of this sensitivity about all of this has to do with the change of season in my personal life… you know…the career, spiritual, personal and physical components of the journey.

The plans that I have been cautiously carefully crafting concerning how I could coordinate and manage the next season seem to be constantly sidetracked by some offstage director. I can’t deny that there exists a place in my heart for all the memories both fond and dark and what brought me to this second chance. I can’t deny dreaming about an idealistic future of perfect days…perfect experiences on perfect days all being unwarranted perfect blessings for an imperfect pilgrim.

But if this moment is filling this spirit with anything it is the blessing of being present to the now. I wish I could say I am a Zen practitioner or a faithful subscriber to St. Ignatius’ Suscipe . I remind myself of a cartoon character Popeye who says about himself , "I 'yams whats I ams, and dats all that I 'yams." But I am trying…in being who I am I am trying to be present, trying to be open and trying to do what ever it is I need to do. I am grateful …for my family and to have this moment!

These are the Days

These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there's only future
There's only here, there's only now

Oh your smiling face, your gracious presence
The fires of spring are kindling bright
Oh the radiant heart and the song of glory
Crying freedom in the night

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one magician
Turned the water into wine

These are days of the endless dancing and the
Long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When I'm holding you oh, so tight

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned water into wine

These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
and you've got to hold them, in your heart

--- Van Morrison


Take Lord, and receive
all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will --
all that I have and call my own.
You have given it
all to me.
To you, Lord,
I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it
what you will.
Give me only your love
and your grace.
That is enough
for me.

--- Ignatius of Loyola

The song of the second chance dance

Mary’s melancholic mockingbird metanoied me
The soul sanctified solo song sweet sentiments.
By the hour the sun shed a final fiery flash
In her horizon departure.
Not forgotten was the robin’s baptismal melody
At the advent of another consecrated dawn.
Immersion , Redemption, confirmation, actualization,
Almost twenty two thousand days to discover
The name I was given before I was born.
The spark surprisingly fading quickly
Yet the chimes sang gently shaken by the breath of God ,
Thoreau’s morning wind, the spark transformed burst to flame.
Waves of tears flowing from your hallowed eyes.
blessed your flushed cheeks with smiles.
Answered prayers caressed your hearts.
My holy trinity had lowered this paralytic
into the presence of great consoling healer.
New gift, original gift revisited
Humbled and undeserved
whispering “yes” to your invitation
Softly singing the song of the second chance dance.

- John Sobecki

Picture - Leigh Sobecki


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