It is good to be back "in person". This past week was not overly busy but enough so that I fully embraced the two days nothing was scheduled on the calendar... in between the day of the funeral and a morning in the doctor's office.
Instead of doing the projects for which I had planned on those days (and whose parts were scattered throughout the living room), I polished silver and pondered the new year. I find the polishing of silver a good time to reflect just as washing the dishes at the sink, sweeping floors, and rubbing fingerprints off doors and light fixtures throughout the house... those domestic duties which accomplish a great deal in their end result of beauty and order but take little thought as they are being accomplished.
My thoughts were already on information overload before the pictures from Haiti began arriving... and continuing to bring new pain and grief to a world often accustomed to looking the other way.
For the first time in many months, I gave myself permission to check the news all day, not wanting my heart to stop breaking for these people... to continue in prayer. My mind cannot wrap itself around the images of bodies stacked on the side of streets as well as knowing thousands of people are most likely within fallen buildings.
There are times the fallen-ness of this world overwhelms one and we know why "all creation cries out" for that time Eden will be restored. We may have been formed from the dust of the ground but it was garden soil, surrounded by beauty and order and all that is good. Our souls were not made to look upon the horror and heartache our eyes view through the lenses of the media. Yet... such scenes are played over and over throughout the centuries.
I was talking to Sheila recently (my Jewish friend and former neighbor) about how fast time is passing us by. When we met, our boys were small and now they are well on their way through their college years, her oldest will finish Harvard Law School next year (and that was after taking two years off to work in an inner city school after receiving his Bachelor's degree). We talked of how quickly the world has changed and wondering what the coming years will bring to our children.
I reminded her that my mother's family went to town in a horse and buggy and most of the rural areas had no indoor plumbing... many without electricity when Mom was young. Her family worked hard but reaped great rewards from the Kentucky soil. A life centered around their neighbors and the land, the rest of the world known only through newspaper and the occasional radio broadcast.
My thoughts as a result of this conversation were already on ways to order my life in such a way to bring more peace and quiet... to take hold of this mental clutter which seems to prevail as I am overwhelmed with information coming from all sides... television, computer, radio, newspaper, magazines, cell phone. For one who lives in a rural area today is often as overwhelmed with sights and sounds as one who lives in the major cities... the world is pounding at the doors of our senses.
When I decided to re-post the Recession Ponderings series, I had completely forgotten the subject of the last post... that which is talking about hard times bringing us back to simplicity (I've called it "forced simplicity" in past posts). How odd (or is it a "God Thing") that a post written two years ago is about that which is on my mind this week.
I continue to work it all out; at first emotionally, then mentally, then taking pen to paper and write contemplations and ideas about changes large and small to clear mental clutter and bring more simplicity to life. I've already come a long way, forced by health and finances to declutter my life. But there is more to do to bring quiet and order in the midst of chaos.
I have only just begun and of course, I will share as I go along. Peace has become a priority... peace and prayer. The projects I set aside will help accomplish both... more to come.