Thursday, February 23, 2012

black gold

surprise! an update!

I really have no excuse for the long hiatus. To put it simply, I haven't been writing. I haven't been thinking very hard. I haven't been reflecting and processing like usual. It's really quite embarrassing. It's strange and detrimental, this I am finding... so here I am, back at it again with tiny thoughts and words.
You see, Lent has begun - and in conversations about Lent I have been inspired not to just eliminate things from my life, but to add things - and one thing I am adding is writing. Each day I will write at least one paragraph about a significant moment of the day. (maybe it doesn't seem significant at first, but I will write about it anyway.) This way I will re-train myself to think deeply about the things I am experiencing, the places I'm going, the people I'm meeting. It used to feel like second nature, but somehow I have gotten out of the habit. 

Although today I am including my first attempt, I am not going to share the writing I do from each day. I am hopeful however, that this will also help me keep up with this blog a little bit better. 

Before I get to that, first this:

The other day I stumbled upon a letter I had written to a friend last spring. In it I expressed this gratitude for days being slow processes - where the sun rises slowly over a course of hours: first gracing the earth with its presence in the form of a magical and subtle glow, followed by that giant orange ball rising from the horizon that leisurely makes its way across the sky as the day stretches on until just as slowly it sinks below the edge of the earth (as we see it, of course it's not really the sunset worldwide. our sunset is the sunrise for the other half of the world.) I told her that my heart was grateful that days do not start abruptly, thankful that God does not start our days with the switch of a spotlight in our tired eyes...granted, often times I miss the start of the day..., but I am still thankful that days are processes, and not flashes of extremes. As I read this, my heart yearned for thoughts seasoned with such gratitude for things both big and little. These days I feel like I have been running, running, running. I have made no time to appreciate things like sunrises and sunsets, days that stretch on in a nice process as opposed to the switch of a light. For this I am convicted. 

On the first day of Lent I went to Applestreet Farm...and this is what I wrote afterwards. 

This morning I found myself shoveling out a chicken coop, a new experience for me. I ducked my head to get into their home and found it much more spacious than I anticipated. After chasing all but the roosting chickens out the door, we slowly began to dig through the inches upon inches of chicken crap. Caitlin left, gagging - Sam had his nose in his sweatshirt...but somehow the stench did not get to me. I remembered bike rides in Virginia past smelly, smelly chicken houses that did make me gag...somehow however, this coop did not repulse me. (or my nose. :) ) As I shoveled I thought, and even said aloud, "What a fitting activity for the first day of Lent..." a tangible reminder of the crap that saturates our lives, our dung that keeps us from being free... our habits that hinder us and become normal so we forget how terrible and stifling they are until we let someone take a shovel to them, exposing what is beneath. 

But God is in the business of redemption and even crap is fact, chicken crap is often referred to as "black gold" because it nourishes compost piles and plants so well. That smelly stuff is coveted by soil nationwide. And so perhaps the beginning of this season of Lent may mark the start of me allowing God to take a shovel to my soul- to slowly uncover the rotting crap that is prohibiting me from living fully. May he redeem the parts of me in hiding, afraid of what oxygen might do to them - and in return, may I be like "black gold," bringing life more fully to those I come into contact with... amen.