monday was such a beautiful day; a perfect opportunity to take a walk on west cliff ... and at david way, i was able to get this "perfect" shot . . . rock art, foliage, and a splash of water! i found that my mind and spirit were readying themselves for the change in seasons . . . not winter to spring -- the sun is beautiful, but we need more rain --
rather, wednesday begins the season of lent -- a time of reflection and renewal of ones spiritual path; in the christian tradition, john wesley, the founder of (united) methodism, would invite us to ask the daily question, "how is it with your soul?" in other words, is your heart, mind and spirit in a "good and faithful/spiritual place".
this is a GREAT question in this time in our lives, when the political season is causing great stressors, and elements of racism, sexism, ageism, and all the other 'isms' are confronting us. exorcising, eating healthily, communing with nature, finding quality rest, and meaningful employment can make all the difference to our souls -- our spirit!
this season we will focus on the concept of love; on valentine's day, our focus will be on steadfast love -- love that never fails; the rest of the season will focus on love that is compassionate, nourishing, forgiving, miraculous, and merciful. while love may be 'a box of chocolates' for some, love's reality is a lot of hard work -- but SO worth it in the end!
our study in this season of love will be with atul gawande's book, "being mortal". learning to come to grips with our end-of-life, and how we wish to live out our time can be an act of love for ourselves, and a gift of love for those in whose care we place ourselves. hospice will assist us in putting together advanced directives.
our american culture wants us to constantly focus on beauty, and as we age, aging beauty becomes something we often wish we didn't have to look at -- hide it away (in a nursing home, for instance), or 'have some work done' -- to look younger. yet beauty is a state of being; the body decomposes even before we die, and we are not encouraged to come to grips with this fact. aside from the body, our minds change, our outlook changes, and our energy decreases . . . . the beauty of love is to allow ourselves to live with the changes, and to adjust to life as we are, not as we were! spiritual love . . . .
one of the realities of west cliff this winter is that the storms have caused the walk-ways to erode. maybe someday california really WILL fall into the pacific! what we do now, and how we address our ever-changing lives DOES matter; trying not to think about such changes is like putting our head in the sand.
lovingly seeing the beauty in change will help us address these matters of aging; for ourselves, and our earth. perhaps nurturing our spirit in loving, healthy, and empowering ways will guide us on this journey of life.
the latest announcement on local news is that the cement ship, built for world war I, is nearly gone from aptos -- just a few miles from santa cruz. when i went recently to this aptos beach, it was not the ship i took a picture of, but the ever-changing sun-set (below). history changes, life changes, seasons change. faith, hope and love remain -- these three things -- and the greatest of these is love
(I corinthians 13). bring it on! the season of love . . . the season of lent.