Friday, April 26, 2013

Vibrant relationship

The direct rays of morning light enhanced the patina of the back-porch post. Atop the post, a female cardinal perched. She seemed to be enjoying the view: small, newly-emerging leaves scintillated on silver trunks to one side; to another, a constant expanse of blue mountains supported a cloudless dome. Nearby tiny white blossoms bristled along a spirea's shoots; grass tufted into mounds, which wild violets, dandelions, and hyacinths meliorated.

Unexpectedly, the cardinal's vibrant red mate came and fluttered just below her perched position. For a split second, their beaks touched as she took the offered insect. Then, he darted off as she gobbled up the treat.

Such perceived tenderness is rarer in nature (and human nature) than we would like to admit. Does such a scene evoke as much sentiment in you, friend? Do you hunger for that kind of deep relationship in your life?

In our cultures, we often try to fill such a yearning with empty and unfulfilling promises. We put too much on a mate, a friend, or even on ourselves. There is only one relationship we can foster that compares to such selfless love. Will you consider how God is wooing you?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Merriment and awe

Hiking trail marker.  2013 senk
Pyramidally-shaped spruce trees stand in their verdant regalia along a hiking trail that meanders near a campground of Shenandoah National Park. Nearby deer rest or graze while flicking their tails as blithely as country drivers do their waving hands. While I savor the texture of bark upon tree varieties, the warm compression of sun on my face mingled with cool brushes from mountain breezes, and the melody of nature's unsupervised symphony, Joey rollicks.

"Ah! There's another one!" says he, spying a slash of powder-blue paint upon a silvery trunk. This manmade stand-out reminds me that we are, indeed, on the right track - even if my mind has wandered.

Friend, do you find moments when something in your purview (whether a person or an event or a symbol) draws your attention back to your purpose?  Perhaps they're those eureka moments when you, too, think Aha! Or, instead, maybe they're more panicky realizations that your hydra-esque schedule needs pruning. Regardless, may your day bring opportunity to focus on that which seeps inspired meaning to your life. May you turn from task to task with merriment and awe.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reflected hope

Reflections are amazing. Earlier this year, polished granite provided a reflection of my now-5-year-old Joey that sent my mind into contemplative motion. But, to set the stage: imagine a slight breeze - cool enough for a jacket, yet not enough for knocking knees and shivering shoulders - while you watch the gentle roll of water as if in a streaming aqueduct. At one end there is a fountain, at the other a rectangular pool, and in between long runs of channeling that cascade down a slope. The natural tendency for anyone near a pool of water - and especially a cascading pool of water - is to find something that can navigate the very water you admire. 

Reflection near cascades.  senk 2013
Cascading fountain.  senk 2013
And so too, did Joey. He snatched a leaf or two blown from seemingly nowhere, but that had landed on the stone steps near at hand, and happily tossed them to their fate upon the surface of the water. Three or four drops awaited these nature-made boats as they slowly descended to the final pool.  The slopes were so slight, that one run took more than 10 minutes. And yet, Joey stood stalwart and watched the delicate leaves take plunge after plunge. Each time they reemerged, an act for which Joey harbored hope.

Joey's leaf afloat upon the water.  senk 2013
And is it not so, too, for us, friend? Even in the most stressing and trying of situations, do not we wait and harbor hope - longing to see that reemergence of something that cannot be beaten or stifled? Something that exudes beauty and truth and passion for life-giving opportunities.

So, even when the immediate seems longer than a dark corridor and as uncertain, too, remember the reflection of a little boy watching a loved leaf as it navigates churning water. And, harbor hope, too.