If you would like to get regular updates from Bar, please
Click here to join her mailing list.
If you would like to|
read Bar's personal
blog, please click here
«Return to Main Blog Page
December 16, 2011
I woke up on the right side of the bed this morning – finally after a week or longer of slow starts and wishing the heat would turn on so I could comfortably pull myself out from under the covers. This morning, the moon was shining bright through the one window in our bedroom, and it cast a silvery glow on everything in its path. It was 5:45 and the stars were still visible.
Wally, our huskie/shepherd/wolf mix heard me stirring so he came into the room and stuck his nose in our faces, which is typical but not usually so early. Like me, he likes to stay in his warm corner for as long as he can on these cold almost-winter nights. There’s something about a dog welcoming me into the day that really does work. It feels good to be loved and adored the moment the day begins. Needless to say, what he really wants is for me to get up and take he and his huskie sister Tasha out for a walk. There’s a stray cat outside who lives in the drainage pipes under the street and they need to check on her – make sure she’s still around.
When I finally did get up, the thermometer read 1.3 degrees. Not too bad when last week it was minus 18. It’s funny how we adapt to new things. A year ago, living in upstate New York, if I’d seen 1.3 degrees I would have stayed inside with a good book. Now, here in Colorado where the air is dry and the sun warms things up the moment it crests the Wet Mountains to the east, 1.3 degrees is a day I put long underwear on, but not a day when I wrap a scarf 3 times around my head. Anywhere in the single digits is fine with me.
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains were spectacular this morning. They’re always beautiful, but my mood was so light this morning that they seemed even more perfect. That got me to thinking about why it is that some days are better than others; that I can feel my self relaxed in my skin today when Monday I thought it might be best for everyone if I crawled back into bed for the rest of the winter.
For some reason the phrase the peace that comes from understanding came into my thoughts as the dogs sniffed at every bush that other animals had peed on over the course of the last day. I had the feeling that the wording I was remembering wasn’t exactly right but that I liked it anyway. Understanding is a funny thing. Sometimes I understand a lot about myself and the world I’ve created around me; other times I don’t. There’s been a lot of change in my life in the last two years, so I often explain my discomfort by telling myself that’s it natural to still be out of sorts. And I think that’s true. So why is today so much easier? I don’t know that I understand anything better, but somehow today I’m ok with not understanding. Or maybe it’s just that today I don’t need to understand. It may also be that the peace that comes from understanding is really about accepting that there will always be many things that I will never understand. Accepting that fact is a comfort to me, and a gentle form of forgiveness.
By the time I got home, the phrase as I’d originally heard it, finally came to me: the peace that passeth all understanding…It’s a phrase that the Episcopal ministers of my childhood used at some point in the Sunday service. I’m embarrassed not to know exactly when, but I guess their message got through anyway. A quick google search tells me that the words are from Philippians 4:7 and are variously translated. I was drawn to these two reflections on the phrase:
…a profound sense of peace, certainty, of connection, of hope and meaning .... The peace that passeth understanding is the peace that surpasses all thought…
When man decides to search for the meaning of his existence, he changes his direction
And changing direction is not that easy. Understanding that fact, for me, today, this morning, has been important. But also knowing that I have relationships that are dear to me, and that there’s this incredible world outside of me to observe and feel – these are the things that calm my doubts and fears, and which quiet the endless chatter in my mind. I can see that all that’s necessary is my engagement in the mysterious and wonderful life that I am surrounded by.
My friend Abby gave me good advice on Monday when I was so low: “Make something,” she said, and I did. I came home and wrote a verse of what may become a children’s book. The following day, a song came into focus. Today, I am writing here and my heart is at peace. “Make something.” It really is good advice.