Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of Stress, Sunsets, and Kathleen Norris

Today ends my rather extended (and unintentional) sabbatical from this blog. I've been wanting so much to write on here for something like three weeks or so, but it has always been something--report card comments, wedding plans, delinquent lesson plans...the list goes on!

This week has been one of the worst, stress-wise, for a variety of reasons, many of them work-related. Let's just say working with a group of people who are minimally technologically inclined trying to convert all grade reporting work into a highly technological format does not come easily. On top of that I might cite extra social engagements and a continuing saga of a rather disrespectful decision on the part of an administrator at my school (I won't go into detail). I had no hope that I would be writing this today....

Even though I looked at the week and saw nothing but potential for harried and hurried days, God surprised me with so many gifts of His presence this week.

I was amazed as I left work each day, exhausted and sometimes discouraged, by a sunset of blazing beauty. They were each different, some with bold colors, some with dramatic clouds, some with subtle outlinings of light. Somehow I knew that these were a gift.

My before-bed habit is reading a little prior to turning out the light. Recently I began Kathleen Norris's Dakota, and I have fallen deep into the wild beauty of her writing about this land that she loves. This, too, I know is a gift.

Unexpectedly, I turned to see my fiancee weeping in church this morning. I knew it was serious as he is not much of a crier, typically. The beautiful reason for his tears was the presence of God speaking to him in a deep way...he was so moved by it. And this was a gift.

Despite the busy-ness of the week, I was thrilled that my lesson plans, which usually drag on into Sunday afternoon were completed and ready by last night. So this afternoon, I've had the rare freedom of reading and writing, cooking and dreaming. Another gift.

I think this is contemplation--even when life and work and friends and family are busy, crazy, stress-filled...finding the gifts that are there, letting your heart rest in the Spirit in the midst of life with all its loose ends and mixed-up strands.
--Sarah Price

5 comments:

living stones said...

Sarah, thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I have had that sort of week for the past couple of weeks, and I feel like I've forgotten to see any gifts in the middle of it all. So thank you!
Jennifer

Daniel Sartin said...

I, too, have enjoyed the gift of Kathleen Norris on similar days! Beautiful reflection, Sarah.

John Orzechowski said...

Thanks for sharing this. I can certainly appreciate your sentiments about contemplation in the midst of writing my final papers.

RC said...

Sarah, thank you for your lovely reflection and insight. It reinforces our commitment to "practicing the presence of God," I think. For me this kind of sharing by our community is a primary aspect of God's strengthening and drawing. Rich Thanksgiving blessings on you and your family--
--RC

living stones said...

Sarah,

Thanks so much for sharing the details about the gifts you received this past week. You helped me hear, in your own clear voice, the truth, "this is contemplation... letting your heart rest in the Spirit in the midst of life with all its loose ends and mixed-up strands." Blessings-- Anna

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