Saturday, August 15, 2009

Peace Out

"Maintain a spirit of peace and you will save a thousand souls." - St. Seraphim

We just finished a week's vacation in Maine with the family "from the north" - my dad, brother, wife, and two little ones. My brother Sean manages a summer camp "up they'ah" and he took us all on a little pleasure cruise last night. We slipped over the glassy surface of Washington Pond, just as the sun was tipping his hat to the day on the western rim of the world, in a pontoon boat. It was recently "kitted out" with new carpet and new cooshy seats, each equipped with a snazzy drink holder. In essence, it's like taking your living room out for a drive (or float I should say).

Our little guy is just 11 months old now (we can't believe it), and Sean and Amy's little ones are each under 5. Needless to say, the down time for us adults is few and far between. It comes in dribs and drabs, like scattered coins that we're quick to pick up. Last night's cruise, brief as it was, came like a shower of gold.

The kids were strapped, secured, and seated, and under the watchful eyes of five adults. So for a few moments, slipping out across the cool water, we each in our turns could let the mind wander.... Water lapping up on the hull. Wind over the face. Dark pines on the edge of the water. Sunshine peeking through the trees. Sunshine pouring honey on the lake's skyward gaze. A loon in the distance.

The face of my father looking out and up as he held the throttle that muttered bubbly commands to the engine below. And on the deck, quiet submission. For just seconds at a time, a quiet surrender to the peace of the moment.
Then words. Then a laugh or a thought. Then stillness again, and a loving glance at Reality. I heard Rebecca say to our little niece, "Nature is God's book for us to read."
The dance of light on the surface. The cool evening breeze. The clear sky turning deep blue and orange at its edges.
Isn't this what all our work is for? Aren't these quiet movements of the body and soul through the world the moments we treasure? This stillness. This pause. This breathing pace. Not long. Not belabored. They come fast through the dark fields of our space like the Perseids and then they are gone. But the memory stays. The flash, the awe, the wonder of the thing leaves its indelible mark on the soul. And if we're still, open, listening, these fleeting seconds, I believe, can change us. Strengthen us. In the flurry of our work in the "real world" these moments of peace can keep us afloat.

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