“I think I was hoping today would be some kind of magical
time of rest and renewal,” I said to the gathered circle of participants as we
reflected together at the end of our day of silent retreat.
There were several smiles and at least one good snort as I paused.
They all knew the kind of month I had. Six trips to the pediatrician as one child
after another fell ill with a viral fever that ran high for days before morphing
into a bacterial infection. Then another
round of strep for my oldest boy and the pressure of hunting for an ENT to
address big-picture concerns. Plus, I
was working full-time, stumbling through lectures I hadn’t so much as glanced
at in seven years. Is it any wonder I
was sick too?
“It wasn’t,” I continued.
I tried everything I could think of. Settling into the quiet farm house, I read a
little, prayed a little and drank hot tea in a sunlit window. I even tried for an afternoon nap.
It was a miracle I made it to the retreat at all.
Secretly, though, I’d been hoping for more than a little magic, more than the miracle I got.
I wanted to come home with some good writing, a poem or two
to share here on the blog or, in the least, the beginnings of a post. I didn’t just want rest, I wanted
productivity in a different direction than the one I’d been running in all
But you can’t go from 90 mph to 0 in six hours flat. An object in motion tends to stay in motion
and the time and energy needed to slow down AND shift gears can’t be
underestimated. How could I be so naïve
as to think I could unwind AND be productive in such a short period of time?
This is what I’ve been thinking about in the days since as I
try to keep the fires burning at work and home, in heart and head. I’ve longed to bear fruit here in my writing this month,
it’s been painful to let it slide. But a
plant can’t bear fruit on command – the vine must be tended, each season
endured. And, for a few more days at
least, I’ve committed my labor toward teaching and finishing strong and
By Friday I pledge to be done with my J-term class, papers
and tests graded and returned. And next
week I plan to begin the slow unwinding, the slow turning back again toward the
many things I love. The extra money from
teaching has been a much needed relief this month, to not be anxiously watching
the bank account for overdraft notices is a gift. But I’m eager now and longing to return to
tending my writing life, growing the deep roots and sturdy branches and, yes,
Thank you for sticking with me this month, #SmallWonder friends, as we celebrate one year of #SmallWonder posts! Some of you have asked about a button for the link – I know there’s been some buttons shared, but I’ve lost track of them. If you have a #SmallWonder button we could use, could you share it in the comments, please? Thanks!
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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.
What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God?
That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.
You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder. Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.
While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.