Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Relaxing Day

It was a beautiful spring weekend here in Kentucky. It has been a truly relaxing time. It seems like quite a while since I've had such a weekend. Saturday, after a good night's sleep, I got out of bed about 8:00 AM. When I got downstairs I brewed some coffee and cooked some eggs for an English muffin egg sandwich. Afterwards I went outside for the morning newspaper. It was a beautiful and cool morning. I lingered outside a bit to enjoy the fresh air. During some of my time I read and listened to music. Occasionally I dozed on my sofa. I had no personal goals and no one had any expectations of me. I was left alone to do anything and nothing. Admittedly, I did miss my little granddaughter although it was also nice to not have to keep up with her. She is a joy but sometimes an exhausting one! When the day was nearly over, the sun hovered over the horizon and the warmth of midday gave way to evening coolness. In the distance a neighbor mowed his lawn and the smell of freshly mowed grass wafted in through the open window buoyed by a cool evening breeze. In the background the washing machine hummed in the laundry room. Jimmy Buffett played on my stereo and my mind wandered to Margaritaville.

Sunday was much like Saturday. I had lots of time to do whatever I wanted. I am a person who often trumpets the joys of solitude. I like solitude, especially in the mornings. Sometimes, however, especially in the afternoons, I get bored or lonely. The bright light of the noonday sun or the piecing heat of a sun reluctant to give up control of the day can take a toll on you. I get a little restless and agitated. Little holds my attention and some otherwise enjoyable activities fail to satisfy me. In times like this I am eager for the evening when the day has cooled. Evening, like early morning, always feels peaceful to me. It reminds me of the Bible stories I heard as a child when God walked in the garden with Adam in the cool of the evening.

I have finally finished a book that I feel like I have been reading forever. It is called A Pirate Looks at Fifty. I think I began reading it when I turned fifty and I am now fifty six. It was written by Jimmy Buffett of “Cheeseburger in Paradise” fame. The book is not really about music. It’s more like a travelogue of his adventures in the Caribbean. It’s one of those books you can read, put down for a year, and then pick it up again and never miss a beat. In a recent chapter he talked about the joy of flying his plane over the islands and listening to Beethoven’s Symphony #6, often called the Pastoral. I don’t have a plane and I am not in the Caribbean but I decided to spend some time Sunday afternoon listening to this piece of music. How can you go wrong with movements entitled “Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the country” and “Happy, thankful feelings after the storm”?

Here are some interesting thoughts on writing by Henri Nouwen

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write. Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too. Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: "I don't know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down." But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there. One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see. One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: "I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to." This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others. We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

No comments: