Our Seattle trip also included a visit to the Ballard Locks and the Woodland Park zoo, good weather and fun family times.
A few years ago a friend introduced me to J. Philip Newell's Celtic Benediction, and his morning and evening prayers continue to be a blessing. I've looked back through past photos for images that go with this Sunday morning prayer.
I watch this morning
for the light that the darkness has not overcome.
I watch for the fire that was in the beginning
and that burns still in the brilliance of the rising sun.
I watch for the glow of life that gleams in the growing earth
and glistens in sea and sky.
I watch for your light, O God,
in the eyes of every living creature
and in the ever-living flame of my own soul.
If the grace of seeing were mine this day
I would glimpse you in all that lives.
Grant me the grace of seeing this day.
Grant me the grace of seeing.
Death disrupts life. A truism, perhaps, one that we all know in our heads and some of us have encountered more closely, grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one.
Sometimes death comes more gently. John's Uncle Lee died last week, and this weekend we set aside our usual schedule and traveled down to Ft Wayne to join the family gathered there. Lee was 87 and suffering in his later years from dementia, accelerated by the death of his wife nearly six years ago, in a car accident.
Family came from California and Virginia and various points in between, gathering to celebrate Lee's life and to say good bye. It was good to be with this mix of cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws, catching up on each others' lives, and helping to "tuck in" Lee with a flower or a shovelful of dirt.
And as Lee's six year old grandson said, after being told that his grandpa was with grandma in heaven. "Now Grandpa remembers me."
When I was looking up the lyrics for Sunrise, Sunset for my last blog, I discovered that the first time the refrain appears the words are a variation from the later refrains.
swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
blossoming even as we gaze.
from Fiddler on the Roof
With the last couple days being gray and rainy, it struck me as a good time to look back to sunflower photos from last year. And given that this song is sung as Golde and Tevye are musing on their daughter's wedding, it is even more fitting that these are sunflowers that we grew for the wedding of our daughter, Beth, and Jesse, a day full of many blossoms, and both rain and sunshine.
One of the prayer forms that I use with my spiritual discovery groups is Gifts of the Day -- taking a brief time to center into attentive silence, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the gifts of the past twenty-four hours, letting these flow through our minds and hearts, giving thanks for them.
We've found that these gifts come in many shapes: things we've seen in nature, time with friends and family, a difficult situation that goes well, good food, an insight from reading or quiet time, music and art.
Often it is small, specific things that come to mind -- the juicy peach I enjoyed at breakfast, a good talk with a friend, the fiery center of a coneflower lit by noon time sunshine. I record some of these in my photos, generally the nature-oriented ones.
This past weekend, a big gift was the chance to spend some unexpected time with my youngest sister. On very short notice, Deb rode with a friend whose mother had just died to Ohio, and Judy and I drove out and picked her up, bringing her back to Goshen for a couple days. We set aside our plans for cleaning, writing, gardening and blogging, and instead had some good family times, making and eating meals, watching the Olympic opening ceremonies, and hanging out together.
On Saturday Dad made an old family favorite -- fondue, from a recipe that a Swiss friend shared with him years ago
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"