Monday, 21 July 2014

A Flutter of Leaves

Here in the Southern Hemisphere it is winter, and what a cold winter it has been!  Outside my window I watch the wind pick up a handful of winter-white leaves and toss them against the fence.  They say that butterflies don't fly if their body temperature is less than 30 degrees C.  I feel like a butterfly, no flying for me.  I just flutter my wings ever so slightly.  I am the most unproductive human being during the winter months, my body crying out in protest!  I love summer, the warmth of the sun energizes me and lifts my spirit to unknown heights.
However, I have to admit that the winter has a magical beauty to it.  When the sun just pushes its face from under the nighttime blanket, its first fragile rays catch on the frosty icicles covering the grass and it glistens like diamonds.  Foggy tendrils float above the water pond, and one can almost imagine fairies scurrying away before human eyes can see them.  Although Winter is my least favourite season, I love the winter and I cannot imagine living in a place where there is little or no winter, it is as if my very essence needs this time of hibernation , of quiet reflection.  It gives us a moment to take stock, and to remind us of all the blessings we have, all the reasons we have to be thankful.
Without Winter Spring would be less miraculous, Summer less abundant.  In Life, too, we learn to truly appreciate the beauty of Summer, because of the winter. It is  this contrast that reveals the beauty, the wonder and the joy of the good times.  Winter to me is like the wrapping around a present.  It excites me, because I know that underneath its cold layer, tender green leaves are waiting to burst forth and rejoice!!  If you flutter by here, please share your thoughts on the Seasons with me, I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Butterfly in the Shadow

Those of my friends who know me well, call me a story maker. Ever since I can remember I have woven stories around everything, whether it be animate or inanimate objects.  Yesterday, as I went jogging,  I noticed how the late afternoon sun was pulling long fingers of shadow across the tar.  This image took me back to my childhood.  I remember how I, as a little girl, would wait for that moment when the trees' long shadows would fall across our driveway as that was the sign that my dad would soon be coming home.  I would then go outside to wait for him.  While I waited for the blue Valiant to come around the corner, I would keep myself busy with the ants swarming all over the driveway.  I was fascinated by how they would communicate, and how they would rally around a fellow ant when it suffered an injury.  I would spin a whole series of stories around these tiny creatures on a daily basis.  Each one had his own specific role to fulfill.  Today I draw this observation into my own life.  Since my younger daughter has left for university I have been questioning my purpose in life.  I feel at odds with myself as I have built my life upon being an at home mommy, being there for my children at all times.  Suddenly the nest is empty, and I ask myself what could my life possibly be worth now?  Even more so after somebody asked me recently what on earth I keep myself busy with since I do not work and my reason for being at home has left the house. It is thus time to take stock.  What is it that determines our worth as people?  Is it how much money we make?  Is it the powerful job we have, or the important position we have in the community?  Are we worth more if we are famous or well-known?  Is our worth judged by how many people we employ, or how many committees we serve upon?  Sadly, these are the standards by which the world tends to judge our worth, and we fall into this same trap to judge our own worth which in turn leads to depression as most of us are just ordinary people living ordinary lives.  Yet, it is in our ordinary-ness that we are actually spectacular and so terribly unique.  Each one of us has been created by God in such a unique way that there will never again be somebody with my or your own unique DNA blueprint. We are not mere accidents or co-incidences. We are part of God's perfect plan. In this very fact lies our worth.  Each one of us has our own special place in life which cannot be replaced by another.  Only I can love my children the way I do, only I know their needs, their likes and their dreams like I do.  Long after they are mothers themselves I will still be their mother.  The same is true for the niche I move in.  Quite often we are not even aware of the impact we have on the people around us.  Sometimes we touch them with a mere smile or a simple kindness.  Maybe a word of advice or encouragement changes the course of their lives.  Many people wait their whole life for a chance to do something great or noteworthy, something spectacular that books could be written about, but the reality is that most of us will never experience that moment.  However, every day we are surrounded by small opportunities to make a difference, yet often we are so busy waiting for something big to happen that we miss these insignificant, but such important, opportunities. God calls us for a specific purpose.  Some people are called to go great places, while most of us are called to be great where we are, to bloom in our own garden.  My responsibility is to be totally present in my own life, and to live this life entrusted to me to my fullest potential, to do wholeheartedly just what I am able to do, to be true to the gifts and talents God has endowed upon me.  Just as a child is an ambassador of his family, so I am an ambassador of the One who created me.  My worth has much less to do with how great I am, but has to do with how great God is in my life.
A last thought: is a beautiful butterfly less beautiful in the shadow than in the sunlight?  No, his beauty remains the same, he is just less visible, we just have to look harder to see him, but when we do see him his beauty takes our breath away.  Maybe you are that butterfly, or maybe little miss Plain down the street is that shadowy flyer, but when you start looking you'll see just how beautiful her wings are even in the shadows.  Maybe it's time to develop the eyes to see our own worth, but also the worth of the other ordinary people around us instead of being blinded by those in the limelight.  Then we will notice the colours of the butterfly in the shadows.

If you flutter by here please leave a comment or a snippet of encouragement.  I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Room with a View

Today is a cold and very windy winter's day.  The cold has crept into every part of my body and almost into my heart.  The day outside my window looks dismal, the leaves, a dull brown and dry, are being blown every which way until finally pilling up against the fence.  The bare trees seem to cry out in protest and spread out long, dry branches as if to ward off the windy onslaught.  All I see is one long, bleak and cold day stretching out ahead of me and I want to curl up and hide away until somebody wakes me to tell me that spring is putting out its first tender shoots of green.  
It is in this moment of morbid contemplation that I suddenly notice the little bird on the windowsill.  Despite the wind plucking at its feathers, he looks about him with his shiny black eyes, and lets out a joyful song.  A happy little fellow.  Watching him, I feel my own spirits lift despite the drab day outside, and I once again realize how much we have, i have, to be thankful for.  Oh, the things we take for granted!  I have the blessing of sight, to see this tiny little feathered creature, and the ability to hear his happy little voice!  Being able to be snug and warm under a blanket, a cup of steaming coffee, my children nearby.  Suddenly my house is a castle and my couch my throne and the leaves blowing in the wind are dancers doing pirouettes!
I smile at my children and hug them close!  The joy of thankfulness spreads through my limbs like a warm glow (nope, it is not a hot flush!) and I snuggle up to our Jack Russell lying next to me, not to hide from the cold, but to celebrate the closeness that icy cold winter days grant us.
With one last song the little bird spreads his wings and fly off over the hedge.  I wish it well.  It took a little bird to open my eyes, to give my room a new view on life.

If you flutter by, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.  Blessings to you all.