I walked on the gravel road, hearing the crunch beneath my feet. I smelled the smoke from the fire in the pit. I watched the horses in the field. I saw many flowers and plants. I heard different kinds of birds and even owls. I heard and saw the trickling waters of springs flow over the rocks. Inside the bamboo forest I heard the song of the bamboo as the breeze blew the bamboo. I heard children at play. I saw and smelled the fresh cut logs that had blocked the roads from recent storms.
As I walked, there was a recurring thought that came to me: "my soul, my soul magnifies the Lord". That comes from Mary's song of praise in Luke 1:46, yet I don't know why it was on repeat in my mind, except that as I walked throughout the the property, my soul was magnifying the Lord.
Yesterday's word for lent was "awareness". It turns out that I was aware of quite a bit on my walk yesterday. In that time of walking, in that silence and solitude, my heart, mind, and soul were able to become clear again. God was able to meet me and I was able to meet God.
The work of keeping a whole soul isn't always easy. Making time for the spiritual practices that keep me healthy and whole don't always take precedence. There are sermons to research and write, folks to visit, call, and write. There are quarterly preaching schedules to prepare (when you serve three churches and there are two of you preaching). There are meetings in the churches, the district, with clergy groups. There are CEUs (continuing education). Then there is also family, exercise, friends, doctor visits, etc. I talk about spinning plates and juggling balls. Plates and balls get dropped some times. But I know that if I am to lead well, I need to be well-- emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Therefore, if I don't take care of me in self-care and soul care, I cannot take care of others. I will not be a good leader. What is in me will come out of me. It is my hope and desire that what comes out of me helps others in their discipleship journey, as they seek to grow. So yesterday's time of walking in nature was a part of my work, a part of keeping me whole, a part of my ministry.
I am grateful for yesterday, for the clearing of my soul. I am grateful for the time of silence and solitude, two spiritual practices that continue to be life-long learning opportunities for me. I am grateful for the beautiful day and everything it offered. I am grateful for a Creator who knows me better than I know myself, who lured, urged, and nudged me to get outside into creation so that my soul could be at peace.
Below you will pictures and a video from yesterday's adventures.
Whatever spiritual practices bring you life, may you make time for them this Lenten season.
Peace on your journey,