Friday, February 28, 2014

You've Made Me Strong (Downton Gets It Right)



Baxter: "You've made me strong, Mr. Molesly.  Your strength has made me strong." 

Mr. Molesly: "My what?!"

// 

(Season Four Season Finale SPOILER alert)

"Oh, Mr. Molesly."

This is what we said again and again.  Poor old Mr. Molesly who always arrived with too little, too late.  Mr. Molesly who seemed forever behind the eight ball, always stepping squarely into one mess or another.  We said it just as often as we said, "Oh, Edith!" as we watched the two characters muddle through.

Julian Fellowes, the writer and creator of Downton Abbey seems to have taken it easy on us with season four's Christmas special and season finale.  After Matthew's tragic death last year and the horrific rape of Anna in this season's premire, the season finale was like a beautiful present where nearly all of the plot lines were neatly tied up with ribbons and bows. So neat and pretty that it might be easy to miss this moment of sheer beauty and truth that happens between Baxter and Molesly.

I so enjoyed watching Molesly rise to the occasion this season, his strength awakening as he senses Baxter's vulnerability.  Mr. Barrows is a man who preys on weakness and vulnerability, not unlike the gruesome Mr. Green who uses brute strength to violate Anna.  But Molesly offers another view of strength, strength that lends itself to weakness, rather than taking it to its advantage.

//

As a female Christian blogger I read a lot of blogs written by other Christians - male and female - and let me say the discussions about what it means to be male and what it means to be female are alive and well, but what I see missing are the conversations about what it means to be male and female together in relation to each other.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of posts about the proper relationships between men and women, both in the church, in the home and in the world at large.  But all of these conversations seem, to me, to focus almost exclusively on the age old question of "who gets to be on top."  It's as though we're stuck again and again, placing men and women on opposite ends of a see-saw and the rise of one is inherently seen as a threat to the other.

Some argue that feminism makes women too strong and men just don't know what to do, thus women must become less so that men can be more.

Others argue that masculinity is an inherent threat to the feminine and so a man confident in his own strength is only to regarded as a cause for great alarm.

I love the picture painted in this brief endearing scene between Mr. Molesly and Baxter - "You're strength has made me strong." 

Molesly's strength is not against, but with, his strength is not a threat, but a gift.  When we look at men and women this way, equally gifted, then the argument shifts from "who will be on top" to "who will stand beside;" we move away from the see-saw and out into the wide open field of life where men and women, equally gifted, equally needed, work together.

I don't know what will come of Mr. Molesly and Baxter in the season ahead, but I'm hopeful for them as they already show the ability to "row together" as Mary says to Mr. Blake and that, indeed, is a very good sign. 

What did you think of the Season Finale and the development of relationships in Season Four?

Photo source.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Mercy and the Little Kernels of Gold

For as the heavens reach beyond earth and time, we swim in mercy as in an endless sea. 
(Psalm 103:11)

//

We sat together in sunny silence as snow lay all around like a smooth and glassy sea and over the waters of white danced the songs of the birds.  Full-throated notes tipped and turned, floating, flitting in a chorus of call and response. 
 
"Did you know," she asked, "that birds only sing when mating season approaches?"  

This was after the first snow, unexpected, and before the next that buried us under layers of flowing white adorning creation like a bride on her wedding day.  Those birds whispered and whistled songs cloaked in the bright rainbow of spring's hues even as we waded through a world turning from white to white again.  

It was as though they knew, as though they believed in something more than what was seen.  

Those birds and their songs, guided by a wider light, a deeper knowing that arose from somewhere beneath the surface of things, like the tiny shoots emerging green from their winter beds pressing like notes against the underside of all that snow and ice.

//

The notion that God is absent is the fundamental illusion of the human condition.  Thomas Keating

// 

If you were to ask me what one thing (though in truth, there are many) I'll carry with me from our time of waiting for a home, this is what I would say:  this waiting has stretched me open wide, this gestation in the land of not-knowing, in the depths of winter's long dark.  

I have learned, am learning still, to endure the pause between call and response, to open to the space between what is and what will be and to sink down into what is there, to trust in the slow unfolding. 

//

I saw how time - all our times - are contained in something bigger: a space that is none other than the Mercy itself.  . . . And in that Mercy all our history - our possible pasts and possible futures, our lost loved ones and children never born - is contained and fulfilled in a wholeness of love from which nothing can ever be lost. - Cynthia Bourgeault in Mystical Hope

//

Maybe it's like this - the way two dancers move together across the floor, arm in arm, leaning, shifting, moving in perfect rhythm each with the other.  Such unity is a beauty to behold.  But perhaps, in truth, the real test comes, when they break apart, swirling off into separate spheres for a time.  Dancing across the floor, not touching, yet held together by the rhythm and even, also, by the space between.  

There are times in which we are asked to dance the wild, wondering dance of faith in the absence of what we long for.  What tune will guide us then, what rhythm move our feet?

If we were able to sink through the terror that comes in the absence of knowing, the blinding white that flies in the face of spring's arrival, would we not also, like those dancers, find some deeper rhythm holding, leading, guiding our feet?  And might not also the very space created by our longing be a reminder of that to which we belong, the One with whom we dance?

//

Take away everything else down to that point of final destruction, and the last little bit that's left before destruction, a little kernel of gold which is the essence of you - and there is God protecting it . . . And this is something terrific. - Thomas Merton


//

Author Cynthia Bourgeault speaks of this underlying unity as the Mercy, by which she means God - not a god who dwells apart or above, but the God who surrounds, holding us all as swimmers in a vast and spacious sea.  Merton speaks of this as the protecting presence of God, this presence that holds the truth of every created thing - those tiny glimmering kernels of gold - protecting and preserving so that nothing is ever lost.  

Maybe this is what the birds know, deep within their breasts.  

Maybe this is what guides their singing, living, loving, the light that warms them long before spring's unfolding. 

//

You are not lost, dear ones, you are held, though you may not yet be aware of it. 

This Mercy, this tender mercy, it is the key to endurance, the doorway to hope, the promise of joy in the midst of deep and tragic sorrow.  

I have only waited for a little thing - a house, a home, a promise - and maybe this song I sing seems as foolish to you as the voices of the birds did that snowy day.  What can I say to convince you?  

There are not words, my friends. 

So I'm singing today in the face of winter, singing from a place I'm coming to know, lifting notes that crack and fail to carry just as often as they sometimes soar.  I'm singing this song of hope in the waiting, pressing these tender shoots of green against the snow and ice, dancing these slow, strange steps with a Partner I cannot always see.

Spring will come, love will unfold, and when it does, you will be found in its midst, held, protected, embraced.  

Linking this week with Laura,   Jennifer, and later in the week, Diana.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bearing One Another (Breast Feeding, Potty Training and Twins)

“Let me tell you a story,” Estevan said. “This is a story about heaven and hell.  If you go visit hell, you will see a room like this kitchen. There is a pot of delicious stew on the table, with the most delicate aroma you can imagine. All around, people sit, like us. Only they are dying of starvation. They are jibbering and jabbering, but they cannot get a bit of this wonderful stew God has made for them. Now, why is that?  They are starving because they only have spoons with very long handles. As long as that.” He pointed to the mop, which I had forgotten to put away. “With these ridiculous, terrible spoons, the people in hell can reach into the pot but they cannot put the food in their mouths. Oh, how hungry they are! Oh, how they swear and curse each other!” he said.

“Now,” he went on, “you can go and visit heaven. What? You see a room just like the first one, the same table, the same pot of stew, the same spoons as long as a sponge mop. But these people are all happy and fat.  Perfectly, magnificently well-fed, and very happy. Why do you think?  The people in this room are feeding each other.”  


Then he pinched up a chunk of pineapple in his chopsticks, neat as you please, and reached all the way across the table to offer it to Turtle. She took it like a newborn bird. 
                                           adapted from Barbara Kingsolver's book, The Bean Tree

*   *   *

Two cheap plastic potty chairs sit side-by-side in the kitchen.  On them sit my twin boys, half-naked, both nearly two-and-a-half years old. 

Pajama-clad, I sit cross-legged in front of them, flipping my way through picture books.  Outside, the wind-chills are below zero and here on the old wooden floors it's drafty and cold.  Isaiah sits primly on his potty, hands folded neatly, a look of delighted expectation on his face and Levi looks similarly happy with the addition of a palpable sense of confidence.

By the end of the morning I'm frazzled.

There's pee on the floor and I'm not sure whose it is. 

Wet spots lay scattered throughout the house and I'm unable to accurately discern between melted puddles of snow and urine.  There was a poopy incident, which we all know is the worst, and as I'm putting shoes and socks onto still-pudgy feet in preparation for taking the older ones to school, I notice poop on the bottom of a little foot.

They're diapered in the van and it feels like oh-so-much of a relief that I wonder whether I can hack this potty-training business at all.  Some have suggested that I train them one-by-one and, driving along, it does seem simpler.

But here's the thing, one boy has the ability, but lacks the will, while the other has the will, yet lacks the ability and I'm hoping, secretly, that they will somehow pull each other along.

It's happened before.  

//

Levi, our baby B, was pulled into the world feet first after what Drs refer to as an Internal Podalic Version.  After a good five minutes of wrestling he emerged breathless and badly bruised on his ankles and feet.  The bruising and trauma led to a tough bout of Jaundice which left our wee-little-warrior exhausted nearly all of the time.

All of our babies experienced Jaundice so we were prepared and stripped him down to nurse, hoping the fresh air would keep him awake, but after an initially weak latch, he would drift off to sleep, too drowsy to be bothered with food.  Between blood draws and dropping weight, we worried about our little man.

My husband learned to finger-feed him milk I pumped, teaching him to suckle a syringe.

Meanwhile, his twin brother, Isaiah, was a nursing champ.  Born a good ten minutes before his brother, he latched on with a ferocity in the recovery room. 

Finally, desperate to be home with our older two, longing to get the all-is-well signal from the pediatrician, we decided to try tandem nursing.  We practiced popping Isaiah on, letting him work for the let-down, then bringing Levi in on the other side at the crucial moment, so that both could get the gush of milk. 

I don't remember if this was something we read in a book or if a helpful nurse gave us advice, but I do remember watching those boys and realizing how the one was leaning on the other already, how one's strength was carrying the other's weakness.

//

This is how it is with twins, with two who fit together like puzzle-pieces in a womb for nearly nine-months.  They enter life paired and they learn both to lean and support from an early age because there are times when life depends on it.  One runs to get me when the other is hurt and each serves as the other's primary interpreter. If one has a cookie, he waits expectantly to be sure his brother will too and, when they have to, these two two-year-olds share and take turns for as long as their desire-filled bodies can stand it.

What I'm noticing is not the peculiarity that it happens to be this way for them, but the possibility that it might be this way for all of us.  

Paul tells the church in Galatians that in bearing each other's burdens, they will be fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal 6:2).  Of course, this can be taken to unhealthy extremes and the phrase "one another" is key to the verse, but Paul is getting at the heart of the bible in his teaching here.  Elsewhere the apostle persistently refers to his readers as "brothers and sisters in Christ."

We are related, whether we like it or not, both as believers and members of one body, but also as human beings.  One of the most significant aspects of the creation account in Genesis 1 is the clear depiction of the interdependence of all things - all things made to exist in interdependent relationship with each other and with God. 

So let me ask, ever so gently, have you learned to lean? To be carried by the strength of another (which is to be the recipient of sheer grace)?  Have you learned to carry? To lift another along without resentment or judgment, but to simply give of your own deep giftedness (which is to be a conduit of sheer grace)? 


//

This is the law of Christ, this is the kingdom of God come down in our midst, when we carry each other, when we bear with each other in weakness and strength. 

This post is linked with #TellHisStory.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sticks and Stones (on Beauty that Speaks)




I woke up early on the morning I was scheduled to preach and drove to the spacious, wooded park a few blocks from our house.  In preparation for speaking on the story of Elijah’s widow, I wanted to gather enough sticks to spread across a make-shift altar space, creating a tableau of sorts with a children’s book I planned to read and a small tree.  

I was planning to speak about hope, but not the kind that soars.
 
I wanted to talk about the kind of hope that shows up among the sticks and stones of our lives, the few drops of oil and crumbs of flour; the kind of hope that dwells in the dried out, broken places and is only found in the looking.  

Pulling up and parking, though, I noticed a peculiar absence of branches, even in the most likely places, under the old stately trees at one end of the park.  But I got out anyway and started wandering around, my head bowed, scanning the ground for useable materials.  

Once I really started looking, I saw sticks everywhere and dressed in my Sunday best, I bent and gathered a good armful.  Arriving at church, I spread a table cloth on a long folding table and laid out my wares.  The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss stood on a small wooden stand and behind it the avocado tree planted from a seed my husband salvaged from the compost bin.  

Taking the sticks out slowly I dropped them gently onto the table, making a good old mess and letting more than a few tumble to the ground.  Bits of bark scattered and clinging leaves drifted gently to the floor.  
There wasn’t anything beautiful about those sticks, not in a conventional sense.  

But there was a strange beauty in their brokenness, a beauty in the way they captured the way so many of us feel in hopeless times – dried up, broken and emptied of life. 

I imagined that for some in my congregation that day, hope was like a seed, small and expectant, and for others perhaps it was like a tree, sprouting and green.  But for others yet, I imagined that hope felt brittle and barren like it must have for Elijah’s widow who hunted and pecked along the ground, gathering just enough sticks to cook one last meal.  

I’m not sure if those sticks spoke to anyone that day, but they spoke to me.  

They reminded me that when words fail, beauty speaks, even the strange, stark beauty of broken, barren things.  Proclamation occurs, not just in the form of words and ideas, but also in images and icons, tangible expressions of our flesh and blood, bread and wine existence.  

So when I speak, I bring along my box of props.  I hand out colored play-doh and stones for writing on with permanent ink, I press a packet of wildflower seeds into every hand that reaches and leave piles of sleeping flower bulbs as images of resurrection on Easter morning.  

In this way I practice what I’ve learned and remind myself as well, that the word indeed was Word among us, but it also came in flesh and when words fail to find entry through fallow ears, then maybe some bit of truth wrapped in the form of beauty may still break in through hands and eyes and hearts.  

 This post is a reflection on the topic of "Creating Beauty at Work."  Interested in reading more?  Check out Shelly Miller's post An Apologetic on Beauty @ Redemption's Beauty.

Or visit The High Calling website to visit other posts on the topic: Other High Calling Posts on Creating Beauty at Work.

Also linking with Playdates With God.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

For When You Need A Drink (of Love)



I've had a hard time finding words lately, or finding time for words perhaps. 

My husband says that what I need is some good old "normal," but I look at him wryly wondering what exactly normal might be.

Anyway, there are days, you know, when the words just don't come or they come but they're all so very wrong or they're simply lost in the stampede of everyone else's words. 

Yes, there are those days.

On days like that, then perhaps it's wise to borrow someone else's words.  This poem by Hafiz, a fourteenth century Persian poet, were sent to me by a friend and they seemed fitting to share on this weekend in which we all are made aware, again, of our deep, deep longing for love.  Enjoy!

(Maybe you were hoping for a Valentine's post?  If so, here's an oldie but goodie Love is Vertigo.)   

I Know The Way You Can Get

I know the way you can get
when you have not had a drink of Love:

your face hardens,
your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
about a strange look that appears in your eyes
which even begins to worry your own mirror
and nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
and call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
to help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
that arrays itself against the world
and throws sharp stones and spears into
the innocent
and into one's self.

O I know the way you can get
if you have not been drinking Love:

you might rip apart
every sentence your friends and teachers say,
looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure
from every angle in your darkness
the beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
trusted.

I know the way you can get
if you have not had a drink from Love's
hands.

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
the vital need
to keep remembering God,
so you will come to know and see Him
as being so Playful
and Wanting,
just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For all I care about
is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about
is giving Love!

~ Hafiz
From: 'I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky 

Photo credit HERE.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Inheritance (Letting Go of Guilt)


 

We inherited several gallon-sized bags of blueberries when my in-laws sold their house and moved to Florida.  I like to think that they were handpicked by my mother-in-law some time ago, back before the brain tumor and multiple surgeries left her partially paralyzed, before we lost her without really losing her in so many ways.  She was a force to be reckoned with in the blueberry patch bringing them home by the bucket-full and urging them onto her grandchildren who wandered her house like a little Blue Man Group, stained with perpetually blue hands and faces.  

After helping his parents load their truck, John can back home with a few frozen roasts and the blueberries.  That was last March and if those berries were excavated from the depths of my in-laws’ deep-freezer, carbon-dating may be required to get their exact age.  

But here’s the thing – I don’t use a lot of frozen blueberries.  

So a lot of those berries sat in our freezer – like two of the three bags – and then got moved with us when we sold our house and moved this past summer.  And now, here we are, preparing to move again and I’m cleaning out our deep freezer and there isn’t room in our small freezer for everything.  So I was getting ready tonight to make some blueberry muffins because – God forbid I throw out my mother-in-law’s blueberries.  

I was planning to make muffins while my husband worked at a mountain of dishes and small children melted-down all around me; planning to make muffins after waiting for over two hours at the Dr with my daughter and getting pulled over on the way to the pharmacy; planning to make muffins I was pretty sure my kids wouldn’t eat.  

Why?

Because I wanted to honor my mother-in-law.  I didn’t want to feel guilty about throwing out all of that hard work and I didn’t want to lose one more connection to the woman she was - I wanted to do the right thing.

Sometime later, after the twins were to bed and the dishes done, after thawing and straining the dark purple juices into the sink, I realized that I don’t really have to make those muffins. 

“It’s ok, Kelly,” I thought, “Let it go.” 

I just don’t have a double-batch of muffins in me tonight, nor do I imagine I’ll have it in me sometime in this next harried month before me move.  And, oh my, I can’t imagine lugging them along with us to the new house like some big blue ball and chain.  So I’m cutting myself loose, cutting free of my own self-induced guilt. 

My mother-in-law’s will, her spirit – neither the essence of who she was or who she is – cannot be found in those old berries, it just can’t.  And my tossing them isn’t any more a betrayal of her than it is a betrayal of people all over the world who’d give their eye-tooth for those berries. 

It’s just a simple act of surrender, another form of letting-go and laying down the ideal self in favor of something more real which looks a lot more like a very tired, worn-out mother of four young children. 

My mother-in-law has four children – grown now – and my husband remembers picking blueberries as a child, bringing them home in buckets and eating more than he picked.  He wants to plant blueberries at the new house, who knows how many, but it’s part of his plan.  I look forward to walking out among them with my kids in tow, picking and eating and maybe even freezing a few and thinking of my mother-in-law from time to time. 

When their hands and faces are stained and their bellies popping, I’ll ask them if they remember how Bunia used to let them eat all the berries they wanted.  I’ll tell them how I dreaded changing their blueberry-filled diapers and how I tried to subtly curb their in-take.  I’ll tell them how much she loved them then and how she loves them now, only differently.   

And it will be enough.    

This post is linked with Playdates With God
Photo source HERE.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Maternal Winter Olympics ( Right Now in a Town Near You)

(This morning I escorted four children over sheets of snow, sleet and ice so that two of them could attend school since it just happened to NOT BE CANCELED for once.  When I got back home, I felt like I deserved a medal and . . . thus was born the concept of The Maternal Winter Olympics.)

There are young, svelte athletes who train their whole lives for the Olympics and then, there's the rest of us.

While a small minority of the world's population participates, spectates and protests the Winter Olympics this year, there's no need to feel left out.  Every mother of young children can have the Olympic experience by participating in what I'm calling, "The Maternal Winter Olympics."

What is this, you ask?  Here's a sampling of the Events likely to appear in this year's extravaganza:

(The completion of these events is made more remarkable by the participants' total lack of stomach muscles due to multiple gestations and a general lack of exercise.  This condition requires that all maneuvers to be completed using only the muscles in the lower back.  Unfortunately, due to this factor, the incidence of injury among Maternal Athletes is quite high.  DO NOT attempt these feats on your own unless you are a similarly untrained mother of young and/or school age children.)

Slalom Descent: While Slalom skiing has been a long-standing event at the traditional winter Olympics, the addition of Slalom Snowboarding and the new Slopestyle events in which participants race down a slippery hill while attempting to avoid and/or perform stunts on obstacles has created quite a buzz.  In light of this, the Maternal Olympics will include a Slalom descent in which the participant can receive a score based on a combination of speed, weight carried and stunts.  

The course is set up to run on an open wooden staircase with participants starting at the top.  Participants then race down the coarse which may be littered with such obstacles as shoes, toys, and slippery rolling devices.  Extra points will be earned for near-falls, twists, turns and the ability to carry one or two small people while completing the course.  Needless to say, these races will be held in the middle of the night or early morning hours when participants are still groggy and without the benefit of caffeine. 

(She's Lost Her) Figure Skating:  This event takes place in three stages and is most loved by audiences because of the difficulty of the routines, the elaborate costumes and the likelihood of dangerous falls.

Stage 1: The Excursion Participants, dressed in stunning combinations of pajama bottoms and their husband's old winter coats, emerge breathless onto the rink.  The artistry of their appearance is accentuated by uncombed hair and wild-eyes.  During this stage, participants must navigate over an ice covered sidewalk and street to fetch a van which has been strategically parked in a huge snowy, icy pile.  Gunning the engine forward and back, the participant then slips and slides the vehicle to the sidewalk where it will be strategically placed for the next stage of the event.

Stage 2: Partners The participant now welcomes, one-by-one, several small skating partners into the event.  One at a time, she escorts them across the rink and into the waiting vehicle.  (Participants have been known to work with up to four partners for one event.)  Partners vary from actively resisting, to swan diving off of the porch.

Stage 3: Cognition Once in the van, the participant has the option of earning additional points IF she can remember that today is the day her five-year-old child is supposed to bring snack for his entire Kindergarten class.  Upon remembrance, the participant may then make one final life-threatening trek across the ice to fetch the nearly-forgotten snack.  

Luge: As in the traditional Olympics, this event focuses on speed.  Participants are timed as they maneuver a van with poor tires down a slippery slope toward a distant elementary school.  Focus and determination are required as passengers planted within the vehicle are likely to attempt to distract by dropping favorite toys into unreachable places, claiming to have forgotten their mittens and general whining and/or fussiness.  Those who reach the school in a timely manner are rewarded with the opportunity to disembark one or more of their passengers before starting off on the return course. 

A Word Concerning Sponsors and Medals:

Maternal Olympics participants are NOT awarded medals.  They are, however, occasionally allowed to go out in the evening to get groceries unaccompanied or to stay up late binging on episodes of Call the Midwife.  Being a Maternal Athlete is considered to be its own reward.

The Maternal Olympics are proudly sponsored by:
1. Anything with Caffeine in it.
2. Anything chocolate.
3. Three bites of dry toast and a sip of lukewarm coffee, which is also known by Maternal Athletes everywhere as the "Breakfast of Champions."


What Event would you add?

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Last Few Bees (the one-hundred-thousandth snow day)

In the morning, after the twins chug their milk and the heavy wet diapers of the night before are deposited in the already overflowing trash, I sit in the corner of the couch with Isaiah to look at a book.  We flip through the pages of a National Geographic pointing out choo-choos,  ho-hees and brooommmm-vrmmms. 

Just about the time he decides it’s safe to sink from his perch on the far edge of one knee into the middle of my lap, Levi climbs up, shouting in his little mega-phone voice.  Then the competition begins, with shouts and gestures, to see who will be first to name and claim the trains and horses, houses and cars on each and every page.

Their older brother appears on the stairs, sniffly and sleepy.  He bursts into tears after blowing his nose because he doesn’t want to be sick and I carry him off to the living room where he too wants to look at a book.  The twins, dispersed by the sudden appearance of their crying brother, now flock back, climbing on. 
Then, in that moment, I am done, already, surrounded and sinking among a swarming mass of need and desire.   
I saw a picture recently of the man who holds the world record for wearing the most bees at once and I feel like I imagine that man must feel as they’re putting on the last few bees - frozen, pushing down the panic, hoping to make it through until they can get. them. off.  


The pictures capture the way a moment feels sometimes, stretched wide and deep.  The bees gathered clinging, swarming for the time it took to capture them on film and then, I imagine, they were gone.  Time paused, like a butterfly alighting on a flower, long enough for the man to practice some deep breathing, long enough to feel the full weight of that particular moment.    

It's so much the same with these little bees of mine who climb and cling just long enough for the stress to rise, long enough for me to practice some deep breathing before they too are on their way - off and running, climbing, soaring.  So I take picture after picture, I inhale and exhale and each moment opens, one-by-one.  

I surrender to what is right here, right now on what feels like the one-hundred-thousandth snow day because this moment too will pass as each one before and after does until all that remains is the memory of this humming hive.   

This post is linked with Playdates With God