After my wild July of travel and retreats it is good to be home. Although my “routine” is never regular (a cherished reality of my life) the alternating round of office work and spiritual conversations and tasks at home gives me ample opportunity for what Macrina Wiederkehr speaks of as the practice of presence that leads to praise. I recognize my life in what I read this morning from her book, Seven Sacred Pauses, when she says the following:
Learning to trust the healing properties of the beauty that surrounds me has become a spiritual discipline in my life. It takes practice, yet when I am faithful to the practice, I find it increasingly medicinal. There is a seed of praise in each of us. If it is watered with the daily practice of presence, it will find its voice in our lives and be good company for us on our pilgrimage through the day. (p. 54)
It doesn’t have to be notice of anything extraordinary, although the noticing itself might create the sense of amazement in us. Take for example my joy yesterday as I climbed on our tractor-mower for the first time in a month. (Are you tired yet of my inordinate attachment to that machine?) As I rolled across the land heading for the far field I noticed a small cluster of three leaves on a transplanted hibiscus bush that we had mostly given up for dead. Now I have reason to hope for the beauty that I know is in her to return next spring! An hour later down in the back field I had to stop just to look around: the sky was so blue, punctuated with cumulus clouds playing hide and seek with the sun. For the first time in weeks the air was light and the breeze was cool and the praise that rose in me was palpable joy – just for the beauty of it all.
I know my life is greatly blessed and I do not forget those who need to work hard to find the beauty that is mine without effort on my part. Today my prayer is for those people who are not yet motivated to look around for what loveliness they may find. Especially, however, is my prayer for those who hearts and eyes are open to such gifts, that they may feel and see – even in the smallest thing – the beauty that exists around and inside of them. And, oh yes, for me great gratitude…every moment praise.