Today I rejoice in the view from the kitchen window as the stormy sky shines a bit of light on the transformed leaves. I’m arranging ingredients for dinner. I’m always here, at the back of the house, looking out.
I love the filtered light; it creates some kind of nostalgia, longing, joy—something.
I realize I see this view from my position of background service. It’s always in a quiet moment of reflection while setting out the dinner plates, sweeping the floor, scrubbing dishes, or arranging after school snack. It’s always in that moment when I’m gathering up the scraps of some craft or wiping off the spilled ingredients of another baking project. I glance up to the light and to those trees.
I’ve been glancing through the back window for all these years.
I think about service, about the low, hidden, secret places. I think about this ministry of housekeeping and the back views.
I thought of all the backyard views and our changing lives. I thought of how, today for Halloween, my daughters didn’t dress up for school. They’ll be no parade, no boo platter, and no events. They’re older, like I am. However, like me, they’ll all gather on the porch and greet the young trick-or-treaters. They’ll dole out candy and make the holiday happen for others.
It’s another kind of back view for me–of love and serving others, and we’ll laugh with joy over all we’ll see from that vantage point.
My favorite neighborhood tree takes its time to turn golden. And then one day, when the blue sky and burgundy neighboring trees arrive to enhance its color, it decides it’s ready.
I look at the enormous pumpkins and the bowl of seeds I’ll now roast. A single seed transformed into thousands of seeds inside six pumpkins.
My daughter stays in process with her pumpkin that will wear braces on the teeth she’s carving.
A wise woman shares some of her life lessons this morning. She says two things she’s most learned:
1. You don’t have to attend every fight you’re invited to. In other words, not every issue deserves our attention. Not every issue is God’s calling for us.
2. Sharing Christ is about attraction not promotion. In other words, people who live lives that exude Jesus attract others. It’s not about a sales pitch or promotion.
She lives a focused life that attracts others to God by these two bits of wisdom.
I love family dinner so much. The Italian Mamas long ago revealed to me the great investment of time, creativity, and love that comprises the family dinner.
We’ve been prioritizing that time in our family as a ritual of connection, story telling, and wisdom. It’s only about 30 minutes in length, but we’ve been taking time to truly enjoy food, thank God for the miracle of the feast and the provision of food, and strengthen family bonds through sharing tales from our day.
And we’re thinking about how to broaden the community around the table by inviting neighbors and students for a time of regular connection over feasting.
I’m learning more about the feast and what it means to put on a feast of smells, tastes, and textures to delight and represent God’s marvelous design. I’m learning more about storytelling and what it means to share the stories of our day.
I’ll report back as I learn more and more.
Today I learn that my eyeglass lens prescription was too strong. My eyes, somehow, have improved.The blurriness I saw through the glasses wasn’t my failing eyes; the lens wasn’t right for me, even though, on face value, it was stronger and better.
Sometimes too strong is worse than not enough. I think about stepping back, living more peacefully and lovingly, and resting. I look at my glasses that represent so much clarity, so much intensity, that actually blurs the things closest to me.
Early this morning, I packed the fresh pineapple, the fresh bread, and the Italian salami and cheese. I packed the tangy mustard and the napkin, the fork, the water.
And I forgot it right there in the kitchen.
All day, I thought of the feast prepared and feast forgotten. I thought of all that would have been available to me.
I thought of everything I prepare but leave behind; I think of the careful attention to the Psalms and Proverbs, the prayers, and the journal. I thought of the hope and the joy, the expectancy and the presence.
May I bring it with me and feast all day.
Today I read this quote by Isaac Bashevis Singer:
“The real truth is this: The whole world is joy. Heaven is a festival all year long. Of all lies, the greatest falsehood is melancholy.”
I think about the ordinary walk through my neighborhood where I began taking pictures of acorns in 2010 to marvel at them. I think of the day I stood outside to catch falling leaves. Ever since those days, I’ve found the joy and the festival that God invites us to consider each day. Today, it’s the way the blue sky appeared against the orange and red leaves.
We stand outside, deliberately placing ourselves in the path of falling leaves, burnt orange and candy apple red trees, and a rising sun.
We have places to be and things to do, but right now, we stand here, absorbing the colors and smells of autumn. It feels like a cozy blanket around us; it smells like smokey campfires; it sounds like the sharp crunch of acorns and crisp crackle of leaves beneath our shoes.
We walk on, observing with everything we can bring to the moment.