I had a great walk this morning. I awoke at 1:30, and knowing I would not be able to go back to sleep, got up, felt the cold coming in through my open windows, put on a light jacket and went downstairs. First stop, coffee, hot, mixed with a little creamer and sugar, my first cup, then after that, all my other cups I have black. I love making coffee in the quiet of the early morning hours; I find the ritual soothing. The sound of water running, the opening of the coffee bag, the sound of the coffee grounds hitting the filter, pouring the water, and then sitting, and listening to the musical sound of the new beverage filling the glass pot, such a simple ritual, but one I never tire of. As the years pass I am beginning to find joy in the most mundane tasks, perhaps becoming more mindful is a natural part of maturing.
Out the door into the embrace of the early morning cold that is always a pleasant shock, clearing out any cobwebs that still linger in my not all together awake mind. I love the cold. I love it when my skin tingles, when the cold seeps down to the bone. I love to breathe deeply of the frigid air, allowing it to fill my lungs, deep, long, drawn out breaths, that do a much better job than coffee in waking me up. However as I get older I find this slowly changing. The heat does not bother me as much as it did in years past, and little by little I need more insulation from the cold, a trade off I guess. Living in Georgia with its very hot summers, I suppose it is good to have my tolerance for heat improving.
The first thing I always do is to lean back and look up at the sky. The night sky in the fall season is so clear, the stars so easy to see that I almost feel like I am falling into them when I look up, not an unpleasant feeling actually. This morning there where some low lying clouds that only made the sky more beautiful and restful to gaze upon, allowing peace to fill my soul. It seems it is the simple things that touch me the most deeply, uncomplicated straight forward; one of the gifts of aging I guess.
It was very quiet this morning, no crickets singing, something I missed. No planes overhead and of course very few cars racing by on the state road that runs by the place. Only a few deer, I could hear them snorting at me, some running off, others used to me by now with my early morning wanderings, knowing that I am minding my own business, and not a threat to them. No chorus of coyotes to accompany my stroll, which I missed. No wind, only the deep cold, allowing me to breathe freely, without the suffocating heat.
As I walked I thought of all the people I have known; not on an individual basis of course, impossible, too many people have entered and left my life. Some I have known deeply, others briefly, and still others I have known only for minutes, or perhaps seconds.
Meeting people in airports, in the Navy, those from my schools days all jumbled together in a mosaic that I mediated upon. In moments like these I feel that I am participating more fully in God’s eternal moment, where all things happen as one, past and present simply there for me to contemplate on. Even the future seems to intrude, since in God’s moment, the future, like the past and present are one. In moments like these I tend to gather up all those I have known, no matter how slight, and those whom I will come to know, again no matter how slightly, and simply place them before the Father’s love. Each known and loved in an infinite manner, each important to the mystery that we call God, each life hidden, seen fully by the eternal one, who perhaps is the only one who can make sense of it all. I guess we are all the center of an every larger web of relationships. Connections we are not often conscious of, but there none the less.
In the human heart we carry all those we love, know, have known, and will know, and our prayer reaches all of them. We are not meant to be alone. Solitude does not mean aloneness, separation, or isolation….. it is just a deeper form of communion.
Connections, deep and enduring, even if we are not always conscious of that fact, is a reality something always with us. A burden for some, a joy for others; for most perhaps a mixture of both, a source of joy and suffering, giving depth to life’s experience. Our relationship with God and one another, is richer and deeper than we can ever know, connecting us all in ways that will no doubt astound us when it is all made clear.
It is impossible to be truly alone, though to be isolated, and alienated, is something sad to say, only too common.