Sanctuary

Looking through my laptop this morning, I rediscovered this piece of writing. It is one of the first things that I wrote several years ago, when I started on a journey of healing, hope and restoration. As I re read this gem, I see that it was prophetic, in a way. This bit of writing was the starting point for God to speak to me and give me inspiration to write and hopefully bring healing and hope to others who might need to hear what He has to say. He had plans for me that I was unaware of at the time and it blesses me to look back, re-read this and see that He has been at work, preparing me for launching a book with His words out into the world. Only He knows who it will reach and how far the reach will be. So, just wanted to share this again. I hope you feel encouraged knowing that all the steps and paths and situations that come up in your life are in His control and He knows what He is going to do with it all. Here it is –

I sit in the sanctuary of my heart, still, waiting for You. I no longer fear what is and was in my heart nor try to deny it exists. You hold out Your hands to receive it – the damage, the sin, the struggles, the fear; the place where deep hurts and secrets dwell.  You are not afraid.  You smile as I hand them over; some quickly and with ease, others with hesitation and still others that take time, as I painfully and deliberately choose to release them to You, one finger at a time, one muscle at a time. What you do with these things of mine I am not entirely sure, but I do know You want them, every one and You, in Your abounding mercy and love, take them and transform all that I thought was lost, used up and devastated beyond hope, into a thing of rare and poignant beauty, so precious and sacred to You that Your Spirit hovers over Your redeemed and transformed work, nurturing it, breathing life, wisdom and power over it; releasing authority and boldness into it and forever changing me.

How can I be the same when Your holiness, grace, and sovereignty intercept me in my humanity, frailty, and poverty? Not possible.  To be in Your presence for but a moment leaves Your fragrance, Your taste, Your fingerprints everywhere!  How could this not be my greatest desire?  But…life, busyness and superficiality also vie for my attention and the battle is hard.  Yet, Your Spirit, which watches over the transformation is constantly at work even if Your voice seems distant.  You are still shouting Your delight over me, rejoicing above me and dancing all around me. Will I choose to still my heart and mind long enough to hear You speak in the wind, feel Your touch in its caress, catch Your scent in the flowers, dance before You with no shame? Will I be still long enough and choose to trust You enough to take my hidden hopes and treasured dreams and place them in Your outstretched hands? You placed them in my heart. You have given me visions, dreams, and desires too deep to name, yet You ask for them back.  Yes, I will give them to You. For You are good, You are faithful, You are truth. Only You can give wings to the plans You have for me. You say that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”1 I love You and want what You have prepared for me.  Because of Calvary, undeserved sacrifice, and mercy, because of love that freely flows from Your throne and pours into a scarred yet hopeful heart, I can sit here in peace and safety calling my heart Your sanctuary. Thank You for the treasure You revealed in what was once a lonely and desolate place. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:9

Roads and Rivers

Isaiah 43:19 (MSG) “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”

This is a favorite verse of mine. I love the themes of hope, adventure, new beginnings, and provision.

I tend to revisit the past and analyze it to death. I become consumed with situations, words spoken that hurt (either by me or to me), and actions that I fear will happen again and again. Isaiah’s words say to forget about reliving all that and be alert and present. I do not want to miss the brand-new things God is planning to do. God is not saying, “I’d like to do something new” or “I’m considering it”; no! He says, “I am about to do something brand-new!” It is a promise! I can feel His excitement breaking through when He says, “Don’t you see it? There it is!” The Lord is wild about us and loves the plans He has so masterfully created for us. I imagine it brings Him such pleasure to surprise us with His purpose for our lives and to whisper into our spirits, “this is the way, walk in it.”

If I stay tangled up in the past or worrying over the future, I will miss what He is doing right this minute. I want to fully experience the road He is making through my desert; the obstacles He will move and the ruts He will smooth over. Imagine looking back and seeing how it all unfolded! Some days it feels like I can’t find the road because there are too many off shoots and rabbit holes that distract and keep me spinning. If I stop, breathe, and give myself space and permission to spend time with Him, He reveals the path and gives wisdom about how to get back to it. He helps me over the ruts, around the boulders and through the brambles. He reveals the beauty that is there.

How bleak to miss the rushing river of blessings and revelation that He is creating in the badlands I often roam! How quickly I forget that water is the source of life. Where there is water, there is often beauty, refreshment, life, and provision. Jesus is my river in the badlands of humanity. He is beautiful, my strength, my peace; He refreshes my soul and provides everything I need. He is the source of life, and He is enough. How wise I would be if I lived with this mindset every day. So, let’s be alert! Let’s watch and wait on the Lord to see what He will do in our deserts and badlands. There is joy and beauty He wants to show us on our journey. May we live in watchful expectation.

Living Blessed

My coffee mug has the word Blessed inscribed across the front. The letters are big and bold, like a confident declaration.

Sitting at my kitchen table, I watch the morning unfold in my garden. There are a variety of birds at the feeders that sing as they jostle for position. They wait their turn, sometimes with nice attitudes and other times, not. Other birds scratch and scritch among the garden debris, ferreting out whatever treasures are hidden in the rich dirt. Watching these birds go about their daily business, I think about the word blessed. The dictionary says it means consecrated; holy; sacred; blissfully happy or contented. These words are beautiful. I want to be these words, feel, and live in these words.

Living and being blessed often seems elusive; like a thought or elevated idea that is difficult to truly capture. As I pondered this idea, I began to see that the word blessed is not a higher thought on a difficult to achieve spiritual plane.

Imagine a typical day – you wake up and grab your coffee in your favorite mug. Perhaps you watch the morning unfold in front of you on the patio with a soft breeze floating past, all kinds of sounds and scents in the air. What if you decided to be grateful that you are alive; able to see, smell and experience nature going about its business in the Divine order of things? Is that not sacred, bringing bliss and contentment? What if you witness a startling and unusual act of kindness causing you to pause, tear up and have your faith in humanity restored, if even for a moment? Is that not holy? Is that intersection of the Divine and the human, not sacred ground? I wonder, if when I’m making dinner, listening to music, or chatting with Jesus on a walk in my neighborhood, those places become sacred, holy, and divine. Blessed.

But… what if the day isn’t full of things that make me blissfully happy? The car accident that totals the car, the child who makes a poor choice and you see no clear way out of it. Maybe cruel words were hurled in the heat of the moment, and they can’t be taken back. Perhaps there is a diagnosis you never saw coming. Is there room here to declare “I am blessed?” Yes.

Some blessings come after the hurt and wounds. The Divine often shows up in miraculous ways, turning devastation into glory, failure into victory, wounding into strength and the impossible into something to be remembered in awe and reverence, because there seemed to be no good ending, yet there was.  To live blessed, we need to be alert and seek it out. It won’t always show up immediately. Blessings may not be dressed up in blissful happiness and a cute outfit. Blessings may come dirty, scuffed up, straggling and a bit off kilter, but will come. I have seen them come in both forms – equally holy, sacred, consecrated. Blessed.

I want to live expecting blessings; bloom where I am planted and thrive, no matter what it looks like. Holy, divine, sacred, and blissful happiness is all around us, waiting with open arms for us to slow down and seek it. What is sought will be found.

Living with Hope

1 Peter 1:6-9 (NLT), “So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.  These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy. Your reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”

These are hard words to read during a painful trial that seems to have no end. Sometimes it blindsides us and we reel with feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and out of control. Maybe this trial was caused by the result of someone else’s choices that we didn’t see coming.  Maybe it stems from our own bad decisions, and we are left stumbling through consequences that we brought to our doorstep. We have all been there at least once and it hurts. It is confusing and frightening. It feels like there is no way out from under the damage. We feel helpless. How desperately we want Jesus to take it all away!

A few things I have learned about trials is this; oftentimes God uses the trial we are walking through to change us. When we are living unchallenged, complacent, comfortable, and self-reliant, He may use a tough situation or circumstance to move us away from destructive patterns and steer us in a new and healthy direction. After a breast cancer diagnosis, my world collapsed in a matter of moments. Everything I thought I knew and understood was destroyed. Nothing made sense. Never had I felt so vulnerable, helpless, and terrified. No one could walk this path for me or take it away and there was no one, but God, who could carry me through this. I had a choice to make at that moment; allow despair and terror to reign in my world, or choose to put it at His feet, extravagantly hope and believe there was a purpose somewhere in this. I chose hope and it was my lifeline. I did not know His plans – would I survive? Through the two years of treatments and surgeries, hope and unexpected blessings, pain, and fear, I discovered that feeling helpless is NOT the same as being helpless. With God we are not helpless. He is always as close as our next breath and never leaves us to face trials alone. He is the source of all hope.

I truly believe He uses our pain and rough seasons to purify and beautify us and our faith, so that one day he will clearly see His image in us. Self-reliance, pride, and self-righteousness have no place amid a life altering trial. It is surprising and beautiful how compassion and empathy are born during difficulty, pain, and loss if we choose to trust ourselves to the One who created us.  He will make a way. We can be confident that God will separate something priceless from the dross of our experiences.

Imagine God’s joy and delight as He skims off the gunk and begins to see HIS image in us; something priceless!  I hope it makes you smile knowing the Creator of galaxies is so invested and in love with each one of us, that He takes all the time necessary to allow us to feel the heat of trials, so that He can one day bring forth, for the world to see, the radiant beauty of our life testimonies. We can be a beacon of hope, salvation, and love to a world full of hurting humans who need to hear a word of hope and see a life redeemed.

People Watching

Sitting downtown at the park with my Peets cappuccino, I settle in to observe people; one of my favorite pastimes. There is so much to learn through the countless ways people express themselves and interact with others.

There are several paved paths in the park allowing walkers and runners to take different routes each time they go around the square.  It is interesting to see the paths each person chooses to walk.  Some strictly follow the square path circling the park and do not deviate from that. Others choose a different intersecting path each time, making their jaunt around the park unpredictable to those observing them. Different personalities at play.

From my bench, I spot a group of 60-something ladies in their comfy walking outfits, white shoes, and brightly colored sun visors, walking 2-3 abreast loudly chatting about the choices their grown children and grandchildren are making. The ladies appear oblivious to the rest of the park goers as they march in serious conversation often peppered with laughter, stemming from a long-time camaraderie. These ladies must know each other and the inner workings of each family on a deep level to have earned the right to share their opinions. It’s entertaining to guess how they first met and the careful dance they did around each other until familiarity, trust, and love grew into the friendship they now share. I want friendships like this – women who have a place in my heart that is so woven and interconnected that we weather all kinds of storms and victories together, never hesitating to rally around each other with love, laughter, encouragement, and respect. I am grateful for the precious women that fill this spot. I say a prayer for those I’m blessed to call friends.

Across the square, there are 4 or 5 teens hanging out at one of the tables. Backpacks, phones, and food are strewn between them as they take selfies, gossip, and laugh at TikTok videos. One young lady appears to lead the pack. When she laughs, the others laugh and when she stands up to dance to a favorite song, all eyes are on her and a couple of them get up and mimic her dancing. She is the first to grab for the snacks and the others defer. Interesting how different personality types drift together; the leaders and followers, the outgoing and introverts all have a place. As I observe them, I wonder what God’s plan is for them. They each have unique gifts and talents. It is easy to watch a strong Type A leader and imagine them going far, but sometimes it’s the quiet observers, who take it all in and ponder, who quietly take the world by storm. I pray that they each find their place and people; that there is always someone in their corner who supports and loves them deeply.

Next to the water fountain an older man takes a break from his walk. He follows the same paved path for each turn around the park. This is not the first time I have seen him here, walking his predictable route. He walks with purpose, but at a slow pace. His comfortable shoes and tan slacks with a t-shirt are his usual outfit. As he sits a spell, I notice him looking at each person as they move past him, as if willing them to notice him and spend a few minutes shooting the breeze. I’m close enough to see his wistful gaze, as if he remembers other walks in this park, perhaps with his wife or a close friend that he has since lost. Are nostalgia and memories his close friends now? It gives me an ache in my heart for him. I imagine Jesus next to him on the dark blue bench bringing him comfort, peace, and a balm for his loneliness. The ultimate best friend. I say a prayer for this gentleman, asking for some joy, peace, and camaraderie.

As the morning moves along, the playground fills with moms and kids. Different parenting styles are evident this morning and I find it fascinating. There is the group on one side of the playground, who have taken up an entire section of the granite bench that encircles the play area. They are so orderly and neat! Snacks, tiny water bottles and juice filled cups are lined up carefully. Each child is told to get a big drink and stay hydrated before going on their climbing, shrieking, energy draining adventures. Most obey and take big drinks except for a couple of them, who cannot resist the pull of play. They peek at their moms, take the tiniest, fastest sip possible and dash off. These moms seem to enjoy their together time, but always with a sharp eye on all the shenanigans happening on the slide and big climbing tunnels. I hear warnings of “be careful, slow down, that’s too high and use your words!”, shouted from the bench, all the while still managing to maintain the flow of conversation.

Another pair of moms and kids occupy a spot next to the well-organized group. These moms have a couple of backpacks full of random snacks, toys and juice boxes spilling out. They are more carefree in their playground rules. I hear less shouts and warnings from these two. They are intent on their conversation and less focused on the playground interactions, which the children are quick to take advantage of while they can.

The children and their interactions with each other are fascinating! I love how the lone child there with his mom, is included in the games and treated as if he has been part of their group forever. Easy inclusion; no posturing and judging. Adults could learn a lot from that.

Looking at these little lives, I imagine the mark each of these children will leave on the world. I ask God to smooth out and make their paths straight; to open doors that keep them going in the right direction and for His hand of protection to be all over them.

Under the leafy trees next to the pathway lies a homeless man wrapped in his sleeping bag. His isn’t sleeping. His arms are behind his head as he looks up into the leafy foliage. A suitcase full of his belongings and life is settled next to him, along with a water bottle and a crumpled chip bag.  I watch as the park walkers notice him there. The reactions are varied. A woman with her coffee and small bag of something yummy from Peets changes direction and follows a different route. Is it to avoid passing him? Does she fear having to acknowledge him or worry she will be asked for something? Others pass him by without a second glance, intent on the path in front of them or their phones. I can tell they are very aware of him, but don’t want it to be known. Are they afraid of what they don’t understand and haven’t experienced? Is it fear? What if the person suffers from mental illness and acts erratic, what do they do then? How lonely and hurtful it is to be unseen.

Eventually an older man and his dog stop and engage him. The dog sniffs and wags as the man pets and interacts, maybe for the first time in a while. After their pleasantries and chat are finished, I watch the man’s face. He looks after the one who stopped and made him feel seen. His face reflects that joy of acknowledgement and it’s a lovely thing to see. Who knows what that simple act will do for this man and his life trajectory? We never know for certain what our interaction with another human being does for them, but we can rest assured there is an effect, either positive or negative; never neutral. I offer a prayer for provision, protection, and opportunity for his circumstances to change.

There are frequently lone walkers in this park. They seem to be tranquil and at peace on the outside, but I wonder what burdens lie on their hearts. A few take a seat on benches and watch the world go by. Maybe they are taking advantage of a few moments alone to recharge. Maybe they are on a break, getting in some steps or waiting to meet a friend.

As I sit, I wonder if there are fellow people watchers quietly observing me. Are they trying to divine what I’m about, what my facial expressions and body language are speaking and what my heart holds? I wonder if they can tell that I’m a fellow observer trying to glean insight into the human spirit.

Psalm 139:2-3 (ESV), says, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.”

God is the ultimate people watcher. He sees, knows, and discerns everything we are about and all that hurts us and heals us. It makes me happy to know how carefully watched over and known I am. We only see what people choose to reveal and try to discern what it all means, but God…He knows our inner workings, sees past the persona we offer to the world and the parts we so desperately want to hide. To be fully know and greatly adored; that is relief, rest, and peace.

Jesus with Skin On

Have you heard the expression, “Jesus with skin on?”  I once heard the analogy explained in this way and it made a lot of sense.

When Jesus, who was fully man and fully God was born, He literally had skin on – human flesh and blood. He intimately knew what it meant to be us. He understood and experienced hunger, pain, grief, sunshine on His face, exhaustion, fellowship with others, belly laughs, sadness, and joy. Since we are created in His image, we can learn to act like Him as we interact with our fellow sojourners on this journey of life.

So, what might that look like? We see Jesus spending time with people who did not have it all together; like each of us. They lied, cheated and were selfish; they were ill and in physical and emotional pain. He surrounded Himself with those who had mouths like sailors, were outcasts, drank too much and did things they regretted. These are the people with whom Jesus spent a lot of time. People just like us.

What did He do? He spoke to them and treated them as being made in His image. He healed them, fed them, and listened to them. Jesus spoke truth in love and was with them when society rejected and shunned them. He didn’t tolerate sin and pretend it didn’t exist. He called it out and forgave them. He saw them and their potential, and He LOVED THEM.

How might it look for us to be Jesus with skin on? Smile and acknowledge the existence of someone struggling, who might not be as clean as you prefer and might use words that offend you. Jesus loves them. Say hello to teens in the mall who act and dress in ways you don’t like. Bring meals to those who are dealing with a job loss, illness, or death in the family. Give someone your warm jacket or umbrella when they are stuck in the rain. Listen to the one who’s hurting. Seek them out. It is ok to be with people who do not believe the way you do or who do not believe in anything at all. You can introduce them to Jesus. He deeply loves them.

I have learned a lot about being Jesus with skin on from my two children, now almost 24 and 19. One afternoon they came from a shopping center near our home, with stories of the homeless woman they talked to, who poured out her sadness over the loss of her husband. They were young teens at the time and didn’t know exactly what to do, so they bought her lunch, listened to her, and told her they hoped she would be ok. The woman cried because no one else had cared or even seen her.

There is the time my daughter rushed home from 7/11, grabbed a backpack and filled it with non-perishables from the pantry, water bottles, a gift card, blankets, and other items she found in her room and gave it to a man she met who needed help. 

Or my son, who regularly gives money, help or food to those he crosses paths with that could use a hand. That is Jesus with skin on.

It isn’t hard, but it does require us to look beyond the outward appearance and find the one that Jesus loves so deeply, that He gave up His life for them, just like He did for you. My hope is that we all find someone in our spheres to love on – to be Jesus with skin on. May someone, someday, be that for us when we need it.

A shout out to…

A big shout out to the talented and amazing women that I am working with to get my book, Divine Encounters… published on Amazon KDP.

Pia Edberg, http://www.piaedberg.com, edited the manuscript. She did a fantastic job, very thorough, easy and fun to work with, gave great feedback and was always on schedule. She is full of tips and advice on publishing, social media, etc. Thank you, Pia!

Karolina Wudniack, http://www.karolinawudniak.com, designed the book cover and is currently working with me on the interior layout of the book, formatting, back cover, etc. Karolina is great at what she does! She took my ideas for the cover and created one that I absolutely love! The interior she is creating, is wonderful so far. Karolina is fun, easy to work with, funny and creative. She gives great feedback with all kinds of technical things that I don’t quite understand, haha, and is right on schedule. Thank you, Karolina!

Jessie Cunniffe, Book Blurb Magic, is helping with the book’s blurb. It isn’t so easy to write the blurb for your own work, I’m discovering. We just started working together, so I’m eager to see what we come up with as the final product. Thank you, Jessie!

So, if you decide you have a story to tell and want to take the plunge, please give a look to these talented women to give you a hand. You won’t regret it.

Cheers!

More news!

Hi friends,

I wanted to share the link to the new author page I set up on Facebook. You can find me at https://www.facebook.com/MelissaGiomiauthor. If you are on Facebook you can search @MelissaGiomiauthor.

My book, Divine Encounters… is in the interior design and layout phase right now. It is so exciting for me to see it all coming together. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Looking forward to where this will lead and the next steps God has planned out for me and for this book that He inspired me to write.

Have a fantastic day!

Taking up Space

When I hear the phrase “taking up space” it automatically sends out a negative vibe.  It speaks to being too much, useless, unnecessary and in the way. It calls up feelings of being unwanted and blocking or taking away from someone or something else of more value and importance; that what is being offered is of no consequence, and the need to be silent and unseen.

I wonder how many people go about their day feeling like they take up space. I have and sometimes still do; like the air we breathe in was really meant for someone else and our presence is a nuisance. It is hurtful, dismissive, and lonely.

So, what if we turned the narrative around and thought of taking up space as a positive and important part of living, the very thing we were created to do?

I love how God weaves unconditional love, purpose, and immense value into His narrative about each of us. It isn’t selfish or arrogant to believe what our Creator says about us! It is hard to live in this world and He knows that. He knows what it’s like to be us because He became like us, lived among us in a physical body with all the good and bad that goes along with that.  Fully man and fully God. He knows how rejection, cruel words, dismissive attitudes and being unvalued and hated feels. He knew and knows the way it wounds and taints everything when you are told or made to feel that the physical space you occupy is wasted, unseen and not accepted – as if you have no voice and will never be heard.  

I came across these Bible verses and believe they are a beautiful example of how important we are and how much the world needs us to take up space.

Luke 12:7 NLT “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

Psalm 139:13-14 NLT “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Isaiah 40:31 NLT “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Joshua 1:9 NLT “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

John 10:28-29 NLT “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”

Isaiah 46:4 NLT “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”

Do you see how treasured we are and how very valuable? We were created to fill a specific place in this world; to use our voices. God commands us to be strong and courageous! He promises to never leave us, to carry us and care for us. He assures us we will never be snatched away, shushed, pushed to the back, ignored, or minimized in His sight.  We are seen, known, and deeply loved.

So, let’s find courage to take up space in a bold, strong, and kind way; to no longer apologize for our voice, our breath, our strength, and our calling. What if we help others take up space? We can focus on loving ourselves in all our quirky, weird beauty, trust God with the details and hang onto Him when the road gets bumpy. Watch what happens when we sing the song He put in our spirits to bless and enhance our spaces and the space around us. It will be a thing of beauty.

Meadow

Standing at the edge of the alpine meadow my coffee mug is warm in my hands. A beautiful balance to the chill air. Ahhh…

Under the towering Sugar Pines, I take a few moments to soak in the first glimpse. My senses are awake and receptive drinking it in. There is a physical sensation of being pulled and beckoned, compelling me to go out in the meadow. This is my place. Belonging.

Leisurely walking the boardwalk, I notice the sights, sounds, and smells that make up this lovely place. Earthy, elemental, fresh yet ancient is what comes to mind. I pause to deeply breathe in the air, cleansed by so many Sugar Pines, Giant Sequoias and Cedars.

The meadow is already alive with creatures going about their business. The shiny black birds and bright, bold Tanagers call, dive, and swoop as they greet each other and share the meadow gossip. Flitting insects and seeds make up their breakfast. They light on the tip top of the purple-blue lupine, singing and swaying with the breeze that ruffles the meadow flowers and leafy plants. Joyful!

There is a greyed and hollowed out fallen tree with gnarled branches and bits of decayed roots lying across part of the meadow. A small tree is growing up from the edge of one of the dead branches. I wonder what creatures call the nooks and crannies home? Grass in varying shades of green, and bright yellow Sneezeweed, tiny white flowers and deep purple lupines have grown up around the old tree like an embrace. These colorful flowers create a gorgeous living carpet. Breathtaking.

Walking further in, I find the perfect spot to sit. Settling in, I am at peace. A feeling of being welcomed, rooted, and folded in, as if I belong here, in sync with the mystery and rhythm of the meadow. Connected.

I hear a rustling scurry in the clump of meadow flowers just below and to the left of my spot. A small grey-brown head peeks up and watches me, judging and spying. Deemed safe, the chipmunk darts across the boardwalk continuing his morning journey. I’m curious what the day holds for him/her. Purpose.

Trickling and whispering, the little meadow stream bubbles and flows out into the meadow. Tiny insects dip and float on the clear water. Other creatures scratch and rustle in the crowded marshy earth, searching for an appetizing addition to their breakfast.  I don’t know its source, but as the season pushes on the stream will slow and the water will pool, creating a new habitat that sustains those late summer and early fall plants, flowers, and creatures. Seasons.

The morning light filtered through the tree branches at the edge of the meadow casts a mysterious, divine glow, as the summer sun rises. The rays force their way between pinecone laden branches burnishing the meadow with a lemony, pure, white light. Each light ray is distinct and discernable, stretching out beyond the trees to touch a specific spot.  These bold rays are in sharp contrast to the meadow area still in shadows. The lighting produces an ethereal, other worldly feeling where one might fancy seeing a forest sprite or fairy, dancing and flitting through old growth and flowers. A supernatural spotlight.

The Divine is palpable and alive in this place. The Creator is here in this beautiful meadow. It is ancient ways, knowledge and mystery, the connection between living things and continuous rebirth.

The cool morning air is becoming warmer as the sun continues its climb. I have been out here for a while, feeling as one with nature and this meadow. The early morning creature energy is slowing to a lazier, relaxed pace, slipping into the routine and warmth of late morning and early afternoon.

It is time to get on with the day. I feel melancholy and wistful as my time in the meadow comes to an end for this trip. Life will go on uninterrupted after I head down the mountain. It is as if I’m leaving part of myself here with the meadow to be picked up at my next visit; to recharge and restore what life has depleted. Is it strange to feel so connected to a place?  

Divine connections and encounters are a blessing. It feels like hope.  I will treasure these sights, scents, and sounds until next time, when I sense the meadow’s welcoming arms and soothing call to come and sit a spell.