The Delights of Dunking

2014-07-18 06.56.32I was sitting in a coffee shop near the airport having just dropped off one family member and waiting to pick up another. I was amazed at how lovely the view was outside the big picture window: clear blue sky, a few jet streams shooting off in various directions, the teenage tulip tree and sumac framing my perspective. Ahhh, gratitude for the abounding beauty.

I sat at this corner table typing away when I noticed an older man, about the age of my father, dunking his roll into his hot milky beverage. It reminded me of my childhood. I would visit my Ukrainian grandparents who owned a corner store in New Jersey. The rolls and bread delivered fresh, early every morning. I can hear the bread man pouring them into the heavy cardboard box they’d sit in, their coarse, grainy bottoms rubbing roughly.

While bustling back and forth from the store to help a customer to the kitchen to tend me and other duties, my grandmother would make me hot chocolate. I would take a fresh roll, slather on sweet butter (not the salted butter we had at home), and dunk it into my hot chocolate. I returned to the warmth of that little kitchen as soon as I saw this older man dunking. Then, I heard him speak to his friends: Russian or Ukrainian! The connection solidified.

There was an unspoken bond I felt to him, the gratitude I felt for him bringing my grandmother (Bopchi) back to me!

As an adult I had tried to recreate that culinary experience but the roll, butter, and hot chocolate just never tasted as good. The magic of childhood and my grandmother spoiling me was the key ingredient missing. She’s been gone for more than 20 years, but I’m amazed and grateful that her love and warmth can come back to me in a chance glance in little coffee shop in Maryland.

So thankful for the many gifts already this morning!

 

© Copyright 2014. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.

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Who I Am In Life

2014-01-09 16.25.59“…the life I am living is not the same as the life that wants to live in me….I sometimes catch a glimpse of my true life, a life hidden like the river beneath the ice. And…I wonder: What am I meant to do? Who am I meant to be?” (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, p. 2)

My son will start his senior year in high school in the fall and lots of well-meaning adults will ask him and his friends, “What do you want to do when you grow up? What do you want to be?” My son and his friends think, “How should I know.”

I commiserate with his stress over these questions. At my age, I am still pondering them. I keep searching for my Truth, my Path.

As Parker asks, “Who am I meant to be?” Does this feel like a struggle because we are trying to figure these big questions out while living life: doing laundry, living, food shopping, praying, loving, hurting, getting confused and clear again? Or, could it also be that on this holy journey we (God and I) keep peeling back the layers of ourselves, revealing a new me each time, one that will again try to figure out what the Truth is.

There have been times in my life when I knew I was doing what I was supposed to do at that moment in time. I didn’t suppose that this was IT, as if that was what I was supposed to do until my last breath. So there has been wiggle room, space to pray and ponder and wonder. What’s next? At times there’s a restlessness that comes over me and I know, change is coming. “Show me, God. What am I to do next?”

I heard a talk the other day and the speaker asked several probing questions:

What are you most afraid of?

What would you do if fear was NOT a factor?

What would you do if you only had a year to live?

I’d add:

What gives you the most joy?

What gets you really excited?

When are you most passionate?

What comes to you in prayer?

If we follow that and know that we are given what we need to know, we’ll be on our way, whether we realize it or not!

Blessings on the journey and here’s to a little more clarity!

 

© Copyright 2014. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.

From Independence to Peace

2014-07-04 13.06.58It’s July 4 and the morning blessed us with cool temperatures (70s), low humidity, and clear blue skies. The past week has been full of high 90s, higher heat indexes, and unhealthy air, but a large storm came through yesterday evening and blew the stifling weather away. Thus far we are blissfully independent of our air conditioners!

I am filled with gratitude and not just for the weather, which is magnificent. This morning finds me in one of my favorite places, the back porch. I watch the woods inhale–all the leaves rise, pause, and swoosh their communal exhale. The sound of the forest breathing, birdsong, and the lack of air or car traffic is delicious bounty. The sun beams down through a skylight, spotlighting particles that float through the screens in a wave toward the other side of the porch. This catches my attention. The porch stands strong and supportive, allowing her inhabitants to take part in the beauty of being in and among the trees, 40-50 feet up, but she doesn’t need to hold onto the little stuff. Ahh, more independence. She lets it just flow through her. She stands up for the big stuff, the important things, but lets go the little flotsam that we can get gunked up with as we hold tight. This is perhaps the non-dependence on trying to control everything, living without fixating on those things that don’t really matter.

Thank you, Gentle Reminder, for showing me the way to Peace.

 

© Copyright 2014. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.