Zella loves the rain. She had her green froggy boots on this morning and was excitedly waiting to get out of the car so she could jump in puddles. She didn’t care about getting her clothes or legs wet. Unlike me, she wasn’t in a hurry to get inside. She laughed when some huge raindrops landed on her head and held out her hand to feel the water droplets land on her skin.
Her delight reminded me that rain is good. The year I lived in Seattle, it rained almost every single day for nine months. When it is sunny, Seattle is the most beautiful city in the country. When it rains for so many days in a row, it can be depression-inducing.
To improve my quality of life in Seattle, I decided I need to learn how to make peace with the rain. I read a book called The Good Rain, which helped me understand how the ecosystem in the Puget Sound area thrives because of the rain. I learned to appreciate the rain for the sake of the plants and the trees and all the interconnected species of life. I started biking in the rain and walking the beaches of Puget Sound in the rain. I learned how to see the rain as good.
This morning, inspired by Zella’s rainy play and my memories of living in rainy Seattle, I decided to put on my raincoat and go for a walk. I was the only one out walking around the lake. Eventually, I even took off my hood and let the cool raindrops soak into my hair and drip down my face. I stopped, closed my eyes, and let myself be fully embraced by the rain. It was pure joy!
Posted in shifting
Tagged joy, rain
Joy is hearing a friend tell me they love me and see the beauty of God shining in me. I am grateful to have had friends throughout my life who say such things to me. It is a treasure to my soul when the people who know me best, quirks and imperfections and all, gift me with these words.
I was reading my daily devotion from Madeleine L’Engle this morning when I had the insight that spiritual friendships are just as important as spiritual practices. As L’Engle noticed, “Too often we do take God for granted.” I often think of practices like silence, study and singing as ways to connect with God. Practices like these, and many others, are great disciplines for nurturing my soul. For me, though, sharing these practices with friends makes them much better. Even silence is richer when I am with friends.
I love that I have friends who will listen to my stories, encourage me, laugh with me, and spend time with me. Spiritual friends also help me awaken to the beauty and newness of God that surrounds me and is within me each day. With their presence, words, and actions, spiritual friends remind me not to take God for granted. For these reasons, part of my sabbatical schedule includes time with at least one friend every day.
Joy is eating the perfect peach. Those of you who know me well know that I love to eat fruit. Savoring a ripe, sweet, juicy peach is one of life’s greatest delights. For several years, I have had the idea to create a blog called The Perfect Peach. I set this blog up a while ago but haven’t had the time or creative energy to write on it. Now that I am on sabbatical, I thought this would be a great time to invest in this blog.
Sabbatical is, in essence, time set apart to nurture joy. When I think of the sweetness of the peach – its beautiful form, its colorful flesh, its uncontainable juiciness, its earthiness, and its simplicity – I also think of my hopes for this sabbatical time. During the next three months, I hope to live a little differently so that I might cultivate a deeper awareness of life’s simpler elements, create and enjoy beautiful things, and be renewed by tending to joy.
I hope to write on a regular basis about insights I have from savoring the sabbatical life. Join me if you like. I’d love to have some friends be a part of this journey with me.