Reflections of Love

Note from Author:  I miss you, my dear readers. My long absence has been due to my recovering from hospitalization and my current healing during a long recovery. Never have I felt so enveloped by prayer and God’s Love as through that experience. To be held. To receive unequivocal, pure Love throughout my being. I will share more on that experience next blog. The current blog is a familiar one…  Being alone, yet how our dear Lord’s Love can enfold us in Nature and ripple through us if we just stop long enough to reflect in each moment and breathe the Joy.

Lake surrounded by trees. Leaves are turning.
Balsam Lake Wisconsin

Would you please put that phone away, Bonnie? I looked up into the descending sunlight on each side of Southern Wisconsin’s highway to our secluded cabin. Deep forested territory lined the hilly landscape. I cracked open a window to get the fragrance of the woods as it started to enfold us into the night sky. The cell phone found its home on the electronic charge pad in between the two seats.

As we found the cabin, a thump of ‘what are we doing here’ took over. We could be in a cozy hotel someplace or in our own home. We were “nowhere” and yet, it seemed warmly familiar. We pulled out our cell flashlights which barely scratched the surface of the dark.

All alone here. We said a prayer and carefully maneuvered along somehow familiar markers to the right pathway by familiar chairs, buildings, and scenery. The moon now lit up the porch area of this pine lodge where we looked for the key. My heart pounded. What if this was someone else’s house and not our rental cabin? We went to the other entrance and, blessed be, we found the hidden entrance key. I said a silent prayer of gratitude as we went in and shut the cold night air behind us.

This welcoming atmosphere soon led us to a cozy bed to collapse. A few days to relax by the lake which we hoped to see for the first time the next morning. Toward morning, I felt a very strange interior “whirlwind” of Peace relax my and fill my soul. Taking deep breathes helped a little, but I felt the restless draw of tranquil water lapping at the shore. So, I reached for my camera and padded quietly down to see the sunrise. Perhaps take a picture or two.

My camera in hand, I carefully made my way in the pre-dawning light to the mid-level deck area where I could pray and await the rising sun fill the lake. Vivid autumn colored trees of yellows, reds, oranges and browns across the lake filled my eyes. God’s beauty. I sat back in the Adirondack chair and closed my eyes and went into prayer for a while. Something pulled me out of prayer, perhaps a squirrel, bird, or the fresh smells of the woodland. As I opened my eyes, a mirroring of color started to extend out into the lake from the far shore. The sun was starting to rise, water rippling from quiet early canoeists, and my camera came off the arm of the chair, seemingly on its own to start reflecting the day into my memory.

As God’s light radiated into the water, I felt this warmth of interior power rise in me as it had earlier. The strength of God’s glory in Nature filled my soul and focused my mind on what was here. Now. In this moment. Time stood still and I with it. Mesmerized by the growing reflection of God’s beauty, I became one with it. Just rising and glowing with the power of the Sun. I remember taking pictures, but the lake drew me in. I padded down to the lake in my slippers, took off my shoes, and walked out onto the dock between the two docked boats, I lay on my stomach at the edge of the water and reached in. Cool, gentle ripples touched me and revived my heart. I pulled my hands back up and put them under my head as I lay there soaking up bird song, quiet rustle of trees, warmth of the radiate beams carries me away.

How can all that electronic noise fill my days? The Spirit touched my heart and brought me back to connections with every other human, rock, and the remaining stars. “See the Beauty in the moment, my Child, I heard in the wind. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I thanked the Lord for this moment, and I wondered though if I really needed to be in this place to feel this deep peace. Wasn’t it possible to just belong along with the rest of life in our own yard? God is everywhere. Give Glory to God even when it seems like there is no Earthly reason…wars, diseases, famine, elections, natural disasters, unkindness and cruelty. Because overriding it all is the One true Creator… who proclaimed it all Good. When you get right down to it all is well when you turn the day over to God.

Today:  Try one of these ways to be: Find five reasons to be grateful and write them down in a journal and tell God how much you Love Him because He Loves you without question. Put down your electronic devices for an hour or two. You will survive.  Take a walk around the neighborhood. Call a friend just because you can.

© 2020 Bonnie L. Smith-Davis

Tale of Twin Trees

The lemonade quenches my thirst after a hard day.  A squirrel catches my eye while gracefully jumping across the chasm between neighboring trees in our backyard. I strain to focus on the little acrobat as the Sun radiantly peers down between our dear old trees which struggle to thrive.

Their leafy branches protect me and contain the strong fire of the Sun while a deep gurgling reminds me of the “swamp” sump pump runoff that saps away some of their strength.  The Sun slides down into the honey locust as the yellow fireball steadily moves across the yard. My eyes travel down its trunk as a glint of Light gently caresses its rough bark scorched with dryness from lack of nourishment to its roots.

To the left of my chair, its roots reach up to the surface of the grass, as if pleading for nourishment from the Earth. More than once I have mowed over one of the roots as it reaches out to get something, anything to grow. Its very life threatened by the sandy soil it was growing in and the swamp tearing away life-giving nourishment.

As the Sun moves across the yard, its light holds for a moment where the honey oak’s branches seem to grasp its neighboring ash tree gently with its leafy limbs as if for help…as they seem to be giving strength to each other. The ash has required a lot of love this year, but it refuses to give in and reaches up to the sky with fresh new leaves. I admire its strength and will to focus on surviving. The borer will not claim this one despite years of damaging storms tearing its limbs and insects crawling all over it … all wounds that our arborist said could eventually kill it. Yet, they both hold on. They remain strong fed by the Love that have helped them grow to magnificent height.

Gentle reader, how do we get fed? Do we reach out as these magnificent trees? Each form of life has its own needs, just like each person. All interconnected to the rest of the world and universe, dependent on each other – overcoming, surviving the cracking, hurting, being fed. When we look at each being, do we see Christ’s face?  Do we reach out to assist or turn away? Do we shine the Love indwelling in us?

A simple takeaway: find one thing in this moment you are grateful for in your life and reach out with Joy and Love to someone or something else. Perhaps share a smile or an encouragement to a dear one, a stranger, a struggling friend, or just someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Or, volunteer to help victims of a storm when headlines disappear, while hurt and destruction remain. Listen quietly to the Spirit inside and be there as the One who is always there for you. Love will return to you as surely as the Sun consistently rises and sets each day.

Reach out to quench the thirst with Love.

© Bonnie L. Smith-Davis 2020

Trust In Me

The gate swung wide into the backyard as sweat rolled off my face which flushed as I took a break to survey the back yard. Drat! Weeds were overgrown and twigs had fallen from the last night’s storm. Clearly might give the finicky lawnmower indigestion. So, with a tired sigh, I moved the mower into the yard and the steel gate clanged shut behind me. As I started the cleanup work, I heard a soft but very clear and firm voice from the other side of the gate. “I will mow for you, now.” It was not a question.

I looked up to find my quiet, young Burmese neighbor on the other side of our gate looking in my direction. I cocked my head toward the mower. “You want to help me mow?”  She nodded.

Time paused as her nearby children approached her and Lucy (not real name) turned to give them directions. I remembered how over the fence our families had been slowly, quietly learning a little of each other. My dog, Rascal was almost always the center of attraction. She had watched from a distance as we played simple American games with her children through the fence. But this wasn’t over the fence. Lucy had stepped forward.

But why now. Clearly God has always put people I need to have in my life, and I am sure Lucy was no exception. I continue to feel truly blessed. …Now a still small voice inside of me said trust in Me. Lean not on your own understanding. Clearly, I found myself seeing the Light awakening more ways to recognize compassion and grow trust. 

She and I had common bonds of being shy, liking children, and caring for our yards…mowing our lawns and taking care of magazine worthy vegetable garden. Clearly, Lucy knew how to teach a somewhat past middle-aged gardener (me) a thing or two.

In this uncertain world, I sensed caring, beauty and harmony, not isolation. In her reaching out to help an older albeit plucky older person, me… “What ifs weeds” that had jumped into my head dissolved into my heart. Whatever questions arose, we would work it out. All was well and would be well. So, I trusted, nodded and stepped aside.

She smiled and stepped confidently in, reached down to start the mower and got to work. My mind refocused on the garden. I reached down to pluck out nearby colorful weeds, but hesitated. They were really quite pretty. At the risk of more overgrown gardens, I just stood up and reached for my lemonade. I thought that if I had had a daughter, I would have hoped she might have the compassion and determination of this young wife.

So, it went on …for the entire backyard. As Lucy worked on the mowing, I did do some pulling of weeds, and thought how God reaches for us, do we notice…are we aware? I need to reach out myself, listen deeply and put my hand in the Master Gardener’s hand…And as a parent might, Jesus always stays close, waiting for us to call on His Love. The warmth of the sun combined with an intense joy I felt in my heart. Halfway through I asked if she wanted to stop or take a break. With an understanding smile, she shook her head no. As if saying give yourself a break. Just be. I got this covered. The lawn never looked better.

Something simple, but very beautiful happened to nourish seeds of friendship. Lighting paths to show how to be there when needed…language and other barriers dissolving. Her younger children stood on their side of the fence, fascinated with watching their mom, their faces pressed into the opening of the linked fence. They saw how she was helping…They tugged at my shirt and said, why is she helping? I said she saw I needed help and wanted to help me. They nodded and smiled. When the job was done, I thanked Lucy, and she smiled and nodded. Back through the gate she went to her waiting family to continue picking up limbs and tending to the children and garden.

It had come as a whisper – a simple, but totally courageous offer to care for someone else. Then, we reached out and walked together with compassion. Gentle reader, every action has an equally powerful reaction. How can you walk God’s Love out into this world today?

* I decided to learn more about how to communicate with Lucy. So, I called on our local Embarc how to best respond, not overwhelm or overdo, and did as they suggested. Her husband was appreciative of what I brought to them. Even though it wasn’t necessary, I was told it was acceptable to do. We accept each other as we are as good neighbors who care about each other. (The Embarc program helps families in need of assistance in very specific ways).

© Copyright 2020, Bonnie Smith-Davis

The Dandelion, the Rose and the Watering Can

Beautiful.  As I reached down to pluck another dandelion this July day from my garden, I thought about why am I taking this bright, happily colored life form and putting it into the blue yard waste can? My intention is to make my garden “look good” and to “give space” for the “beautiful” to grow. 

As water spurts out, partly on me giving me an early shower, into the banana plant which seems to try to die daily, I persevere in my “wisdom” to reach out and water it to give it life. Several leaves are drooping. Why save one and not the other?

As I look through the yard, rabbits busily munch on the clover, birds have a family “discussion” about something important. As I move down the garden, they take their business of life elsewhere. Life continues. Other birds don’t seem unconcerned with the two-legged watering can walking down the row, but just dip their beaks into the flower-petal fountain that is well out of the reach of Ralph the squirrel.

Life continues through the commitment of the dandelion population to push up through the cement, its sister and brother weed plants finding a home in my bushes, trying to claim new territory.  Reflections on how we plant our feet and make decisions affecting other living things comes to mind.

The sun plants a kiss on my cheek and makes me look up. The Power that controls what we do comes from beyond our senses, yet reminds us that we are all equal under the Son. We choose to nourish or rip another out of the ground at will. Jesus will always love dandelions and roses. He perceives the good in each of us, listens for our call, ready to help us in our struggles with our imperfections to grow and flourish with Love.

Both, as all of us, perceive our place and grow with God’s grace to produce in this imperfect world.  Once there was nothing. Now, can we see commitment flowing and entwining one with the other? Do all the seeds have “our approval” to be what they were created to be in harmony with the other? Think where your intention lies. Does it depend on to-do lists, the newest self-help plan? Does the dandelion need a plan?

Each life growing and occupying its place has a purpose. What is your place in the flow of life?  Where does the harmony come from in our lives?  Each and every creature in Nature flows in harmony with another. Where a Child sees a beautiful yellow flower, what do you see? What does a dandelion look like? Are they all yellow? Are they green? How do I judge? Or should I?

No one is perfect in this world, but can we see the Beauty? Work with patience and carry the watering can to nourish each other.  I don’t have blinders on, like the old milk wagon horse, I imperfectly try to deeply listen to perceive differences.  “Bloom” or stay stagnant at our own will? Deep inside our souls is the joy of simply being.

There is only one Gardener. I trust His Words and pray. Christ’s hands and feet nourish the world.  Myself, I am an imperfect gardener who makes plenty of mistakes. Witness my tomato plants hidden under the overgrown mint and the unseen need of a dear one hidden in my own heart.  But I have my watering can, the ever flowing still small voice of the Spirit, in my heart and I try to focus on Jesus. I nourish myself daily, through practices and routines to help love grow.

Perhaps be the resilient caterpillar who resides in the unknown, trusting, hoping if he just keeps on growing, he will one day be a beautiful Dandelion? Butterfly?  Just choose to grow.  Resilient with faith, God’s Love in your soul deepens awareness of how to listen and perceive with your heart. Carry your watering can and use it wisely.

© 2020 Bonnie L. Smith Davis

Awareness

Tree and sunlight

My child, do you know who I am?
Be filled and listen deeply as I enfold you.
I am the joy of the bird floating gently on the depth of air
I am the song of the bird that sings its song to the heavens
I am the heart of the fish swimming in the sea searching for food
I am the soft breeze gently moving in the atmosphere
I am the radiant candle flame burning eternally

I am in the hope of a child gazing at his mother
I am in the deep trust of hearts entwined
I am in the heart of the mother gazing at her baby
I am in the heart of the parent nearing eternity
I am in the heart of the mother losing her child

I am within the swirls of air tantalizing and filling all that lives
I am within the ever growing dandelions through the rocky soil
I am within the growing of branches and budding leaves on trees
I am within the deep, searing warmth of the sun
I am within the powerfully life flowing waters of the river
I am within the star-filled darkness that encompasses the Earth

I am embedded in blueness of the sky
I am encrusted in the moist, constant warmth of Mother Earth

I am part of the glowing sunrise encompassing the Earth
I am part of the ever flowing thought that provide wisdom
I am part of the laughter, the smiles, the twinkling eyes
I am part of the soft, purring of the sleeping cat
I am part of the gentle yip of the dog that sees its best friend
I am part of the Essences of all that live, move and have being

I am one with the All in All.
I exist only because the One exists.
Now and forever.
Who am I? I am Love.

(C) 2020 Bonnie Louise Davis

Sacred Valley

Written at Snowmass Retreat looking at Mt. Sopris above St. Benedict’s monastery, Colorado

March 2020

Mountain peak with pillow soft, slow walking clouds walking on their backs

Sacred valley of strong faith!

Heart strings entwine pulses with surge of love, throughout the overlying sky.

Snowy bright diamonds of melting snow glistening cells huddling, meshing, flowing together melting away into the warming ground of Colorado highlands

Earth welcoming the moisture feeds the undergrowth

Like the babies welcoming their mother’s warmth.

Black and white magpies bounce, caw and flit from twisted branches and perch on the arches of support beams on our cozy retreat home.

Cold, purposefully walking hikers dot the grounds going from hermitages to monastery to retreat house.

Vehicles that come by give wide birth to the hikers with climbing poles trudging uphill on their journey…-“real” world meets solitary stillness.

Meanwhile inside the retreat, the savory, kitchen fragrances waft down the long hallway to fill the seekers senses. Our extraordinary chef servants of God finish final preparations for supper.

Seekers gather senses and move quietly down the hall, in anticipation of mixtures conceived delicately making just the rights sparks of joy rewarding our work during prayerful hours.

How many eyes have gazed through out on Mt. Sopris…pondering their spiritual journey …memories etching themselves in our hearts…?

Dear Lord Jesus, how your community of faith functions wordlessly united, pulsing together hearts joined in Love.

An empty chair sits in solitude awaiting its evening seeker to give rest to weary, but spiritually nourished by prayer.

Sunset and tomorrow’s inevitable dawning …a new day awaits.

copyright 2020 Bonnie Louise Davis