The Light Along the Path

On the Journey

When I look through the files on my computer and see the photos I have taken in the last five months, I’m reminded of how fast life goes by  and just how much I have experienced.   Our grandson visited for several days, ending with a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  My garden yielded the most beautiful sunflowers and zinnias I have ever seen.  I participated in two retreats, one in June and one in July, each of them filled with so much good fellowship and rich, soulful time.  We went to see family and family came to us.  I explored old cemeteries with dear friends. We helped a group of friends say goodbye to their place of worship.

My husband and I stood in our yard on August 21st and through the rain clouds overhead we could see the shadow of the moon as it blocked the light of the sun, and then moved on along it’s path.  To be in that darkness and then welcome the light as it returned was profound, even with the clouds over us.  There is a sense of hope I hold inside, knowing that the light is always there.

So many places and people and experiences over these last several weeks.  Life has been full, in a good way.

This image of my friend, a fellow Souljourner, seems to sum up the last few months for me.

Sometimes the path we are on seems clear as we look ahead, as we think of our plans for the coming days, months, years.  And then there may be surprises just over the hill, just over there where you can’t be sure of what lies ahead.   You just never know.

It is a walk of faith.  One foot in front of the other.  Trusting in this mystery we call God to guide us along the path.  How can we know if we are in the right place?  How can we know if our choice was the right one?  Should we just turn around and go back or go for it, forge ahead?

I don’t have the answers.  But I can tell you that the journey along this path is so much better when you share it with friends.  Just like three of us did on a warm summer day at a retreat…when we were supposed to be silent…and mostly we were.  Mostly.

This part of the journey for me includes being a spiritual companion, or spiritual director, soul friend…there are many names for this.  To explain it a bit more I have created a page here.

Where am I along this path?  Still putting one foot in front of the other.  Still wondering what lies ahead.  Still working on that Trust thing, but with each step becoming more convinced that the light is always there.

 

 

 

Eagles and Sunshine on a Sunday Afternoon

Eagle nesting

We took some time to ourselves Sunday afternoon and explored a familiar place, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, near Columbia, Missouri.

How often do you get to see an eagle, on her nest, with young ones?  And then how often do you get to see two occupied nests in one day?  Here are a few images that I just have to share.

The adult eagle is in the upper left corner, and the nest in the lower right.  Notice the heads of the two young ones!

This is as close as my lens would allow, but it is still so amazing to see these beautiful birds.

This is the second nest we were able to see, with the adult keeping a watchful eye.

This area is simply beautiful.  We saw so much more than my pictures can tell.

And through the trees we could see turtles sunning on logs, but they escaped quickly into the water if we moved closer.

This is a place I am certain we will return to many times.

Scene and Story – Homegrown Fun

Elk and Bison

Elk and Bison

Here is the scene…just a few miles from my hometown in East Central Illinois, riding along with my daughter, grandson, and best friend, we were looking at a few farms within a two mile radius.  The whole purpose of our drive out there was to see baby goats, and we saw so much more than we bargained for…thanks to my friend who knew where to take us.

This photo stays in my mind because I was so surprised to see a herd of elk, with a couple of bison thrown in.  Initially this herd was way off in the distance, but that breeze carried our scent and got the attention off all these animals, and they came running.

Though the elk and bison were impressive they were not quite as entertaining as the goats.

Goats in the hayThe babies were adorable, especially as they tried to climb on a haystack that had just been placed in their pen.

Mama and baby goats

Mama and her babies were just as curious about us as we were about them.

It was a perfect day for our little farm tour, for lunch with my daughter and grandson, for time spent with my dear friend.  So much of that you just can’t capture in a photograph.  Sometimes you just have to simply be present and soak it all in.

 

I am sharing this post with Scene and Story, a once a month link up where creatives can share a favorite story or photo on their blogs or on Flickr.

Coffee

Coffee

I’m sitting at a booth in my favorite coffee shop. Alone, staring into the old white ceramic mug that warms my hands, watching the steam rise, and savoring the rich scent of that dark brew. The morning sun pours in through the frosty window, warming me on such a cold fall morning. The leaves are gone from the trees, leaving bare branches in silhouette against the deep blue sky.
No one else is here. The regulars have all shuffled off to continue their daily lives. The relative silence is welcomed and yet frightening in its own way. Now I’m alone with my thoughts. Is this a good thing?
I sit alone for quite a while. Meanwhile, cooking sounds come from the kitchen. A fragrance like chicken soup wafts by me, and my stomach rumbles. Then I’m back in my own reverie.
A different noise rouses me out of that quiet place, and I look up to see an old man sliding into the seat across from me in ‘my’ booth. I don’t think I know this man, but something of him seems very familiar. Why did he sit in my booth when the place is empty? He has a cup of coffee in front of him, too, but I don’t know how it got there.
I greet him, “Good morning.”
He says not a word, but looks at me with piercing blue eyes. Why do I feel like he knows everything about me? I look at him carefully, and to this day I don’t know how to put into words who or what I saw. This Mystery sitting before me, knowing me fully, said more to me without words.
The Mystery revealed my grief. I had come to this favorite coffee shop to find the essence of my Dad, who had died recently. My heart was heavy.
A profound and very real sense of love overcame me, and tears fell down my face. The morning light from the window found its way into my chest, and I was comforted like a child being wrapped in a blanket and rocked back and forth.
It’s okay. I love you. It’s all going to be okay.
I wanted to stay there forever.
A slight stirring brought me out of this dream like place. I was looking at my coffee, my hands still holding the sides of the mug and feeling the warmth. I breathed in the aroma again, took a sip and let it warm me, and looked across the table. No one was there. The coffee cup remained, steam rolling upward as before, and some of the coffee had been consumed.
Had I been dreaming?
My face was still wet with tears. All my despair and loneliness had vanished.

 

This one is different, this Scene and Story.  The story is fiction and the drawing is my own.  All of it prompted by a wonderful conversation in which I was asked to imagine what it would be like if the Holy Presence sat down across from me in a coffee shop. I am sharing my post through a link up with Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots and Leon of Sea Blue Lens.  Click on the link to each blog and you’ll see other bloggers have also shared their Scene and Story.