NPCAdvent2015

Day Four: Destination #NPCAdvent2015 #advent

 

npcadventTMSDestination

Today’s Prompt: Write about a time when you failed to reach your destination.

Solvitur ambulando is a Latin phrase that means it is solved by walking.  For so many of the problems we face in life, be they physical, mental or spiritual: solvitur ambulandoI think this is one of the reasons I love walking the labyrinth so much. The labyrinth is a walk that has three parts: walking toward the center, sitting in the center, and walking out. The shape of the labyrinth is strange but wonderful. The walk takes you near the center, far outside it and back to the middle, several times. One must focus only on the steps immediately in front, otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

I’ve walked many labyrinths and come away with different insight each time. Sometimes the insight comes right away, sometimes it comes days later. Most of the time the simple process of walking the labyrinth is meaningful…solvitur ambulando.  

They mystery of the labyrinth is, for me, in the process of walking. The destination is unclear, the journey is the destination.

I’m on a retreat with my family through tomorrow, so I’ll leave it here for today. See you tomorrow to talk about restore. 

To learn more about labyrinths go HERE.

This post is a part of the 25 days of advent writing and photos that I’m doing with my church Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. For the writing portion, I’ve just set a timer for 20-30 minutes and whatever I have at the end of the time, I post. No editing past the time limit… no worries if there are errors or if I stare at the screen for the first 15 minutes. Giving it a try. 

Day 3: Renew #NPCAdvent #Advent

Today’s Prompt: Write about being renewed.

pinkie

If you look closely, you can still see the scar in the bottom third of my pinkie finger on my left hand. I sliced my finger down to where I could see the bone (I know! Sorry!) when I was about 22 years old. It happened while trying to open an industrial-sized can at a homeless shelter. I fainted to the ground from the sight and the feeling. I was treated at the hospital and received just three stitches. After they came out, my pinkie looked perfectly normal.

It wasn’t normal, though. The nerves were severely damaged. In light of more serious injuries, I feel cautious about overemphasizing how much of a hardship it was to have a non functioning pinkie finger. In the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.  Still,  it was a constant presence in my life that never shut off. I was always noticing that little finger. It was numb, or cold.  It bothered me when I typed, or wrote, or ate. (I’m left-handed.) It constantly felt like my finger was asleep. I remember having the sensation that it was cold, but touching it and realizing it was the same temperature as all of my other fingers. So weird.

A few days after the accident, I was convinced it would get better with time, but time passed and it didn’t improve. About one year after the accident, I remember thinking to myself “My finger is permanently damaged. I will have to get used to these sensations.”

Here’s the thing, though. It got better. It took years, though.

Dr. Google says that nerves take about 3 months to regenerate. That was not my experience. My finger got better slowly, steadily, over the course of about 3-4 years. I can’t explain that. Either my nerves grow waaaaaaay slower than the average person’s or there is some other explanation about why it took so long. Maybe my brain learned to adjust and to disregard the feelings of numbness and tingling and cold. Who knows? (Tangent: Maybe you do… are you a nerve doctor? I would love to hear from an expert about this, because I’ve wondered about it.)

At any rate, there’s a lesson there about being renewed. It can take a long, long time. It can occur even after one has given up hope. The scar is always there, even after the healing has occurred. Sometimes renewal is so gradual you don’t even notice it.

It’s a mystery.

This post is a part of the 25 days of advent writing and photos that I’m doing with my church Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. For the writing portion, I’ve just set a timer for 20-30 minutes and whatever I have at the end of the time, I post. No editing past the time limit… no worries if there are errors or if I stare at the screen for the first 15 minutes. Giving it a try. 

Day 2 : Moment #Advent #NPCAdvent2015

Today’s Prompt: Write about one ordinary moment that happened yesterday.

NPCADVENT2015TMS

I looked up from my computer when Elias came into the room.

“I found your other shoe,” he said.”It was in the shoe basket.”

“Makes sense.”

“I’ll put it here, with the other one by the front door, so you’ll have them in the morning.”

I can’t think of a more ordinary moment in my day, but I also can’t think of one that captures so much about me and about Elias.

I never know where my stuff is, and I don’t have a system for where to put anything. (Well, for some things I do have a system, but it’s hard for me to follow the system. That’s for another day.) I have lots of coping mechanisms for this weird trait: Papers that I actually need to hold on to get scanned –immediately — before they are lost forever. I write notes down, but then take pictures of the notes so I can throw them away. I sign up for paperless everything. It takes about 4 months into a friendship with me before my friends realize that I’ll be leaving something at their house every time I come to visit. Not a gift, mind you, just something I forgot.

I don’t even consider buying quality sunglasses. I just go to the dollar store a couple times a year and buy four or five pairs. I leave them scattered around friends’ houses and cars and various places around the country. If you find a pair, lucky you.

When Clayton was about 2 years old I said “Ok, time to go to the store!” and he started looking around the living room saying “Find the keys! Find the keys!” He knew, at just two years old, that after I said “Time to go!” the next thing would be “Find the keys!”

It must be the opposites attract thing, because the person I married has a system for all of his possessions and a very strict sense of order about where things belong. Just today he told me that he organized the leftovers in the refrigerator according to whether or not they were sweet or savory. (FYI, the sweet potato casserole was on the “sweet” shelf, along with pies and arroz con leche. I would have put it with the mashed potatoes and turkey, but hey… not my system.)

Elias gets super frustrated with my lack of order when it comes to possessions, and I don’t blame him. Sometimes he goes a little bonkers when cupboard doors are left open or there’s a random shoe under the covers of our bed. Even so, he’s starting to learn (after seven short years of marriage) that I’m not likely to change all that much. Sure, I’ll keep creating better coping mechanisms, but I think there’s something in my genetic code that makes me leave a trail of sunglasses and papers and keys behind me like breadcrumbs.

So  now, seven years in, instead of making a big deal out of every wayward thing, he mostly just keeps track of stuff. He finds my shoes and lovingly places them by the door so I’ll have them in the morning.

It’s not something I take for granted.

 

 

Peace #npcadvent2015 #advent

Today’s Prompt: Write about something that gives you peace or robs you of it.

 

peace

My cell phone gives me peace and it robs me of it, too.

When I’m in the store and I don’t remember what the recipe calls for, I look it up. Peace. When I am standing in line and wanting to pass the time, I flip through the photos of Clayton and Sam from earlier in the day. Peace. A friend calls unexpectedly on her commute home . Peace. (And joy, too, but that’s for another day.) A prayer request from a parishioner. Peace.

Oh, but then, I’m working on my sermon, deep in thought. It buzzes. Email. I catch the first line and realize it’s something that can wait, but now it’s the only thing I can think about it. No peace. Later I’m waiting to get a text message back from someone who seems to be avoiding the question. No peace. Constant buzzing and alerts during meetings, even though I’ve pared them down to the “essentials” of texts and emails. No peace. Flipping through it mindlessly “just to check” and spending 30 minutes that could have been using the time to read, or meditate, or pray or (heaven forbid) clean the house. No peace.

My phone was broken for 5 hours last week and one would have thought I was breathing in desert air and choking on the sand. Who is calling? Who needs me? What is happening out there? How can I even get to the store to get it fixed without my map? 

Something has to give with the cell phone. How did it get this way? They’re smart, but they’re also selfish.

I guess you have to be as attached to your phone as I am to realize what a difference it makes to take small steps to become unglued. I’m working on it, day by day.

 

This post is a part of the 25 days of advent writing and photos that I’m doing with my church Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. For the writing portion, I’ve just set a timer for 20-30 minutes and whatever I have at the end of the time, I post. No editing past the time limit… no worries if there are errors or if I stare at the screen for the first 15 minutes. Giving it a try.