The Moment of Looking

Our phones are off, WiFi is down and my mobile has lost signal. There was a moment of panic – “what if people are trying to phone me, email me, sending messages on Facebook, texting.”

Colin is sorting it all out. And so I take to gazing out of the window, again. I notice small changes; the flowers on the convolvulus have all been blown off and the hellebores are looking in a bad way but the flowers that have attractive blue flowers, like a cornflower but not a cornflower are just starting to come out. The roses are the best they have ever been and the candy pinks are looking very pretty. It’s a peaceful scene which is suddenly shattered as a gust of wind blows over the tree in the garden opposite. It’s in a large pot but one that really isn’t big enough for it and so I’m not surprised. There seems to be little point in going to stand it up again. I’ve now spotted a weed among the flowers and it has to go. But, the window is splashed with rain so the idea of going out to pull it up has gone off.

The phone pings to say either a text or an email has arrived. It’s all back to normal! My moment of looking has gone.

But that few minutes of looking has calmed me. What does all this technology do except cause me anxiety? Still as Colin points out when I complain, I use it a lot and it would be difficult without it.

A new day and here I am sitting in front of my laptop 0nce again, thinking of all the things I should do and all the people I need to contact but window gazing seems to have become a habit and once again I’m distracted.

The book I’m reading at the moment, “The Wild Remedy”, talks about how spending as little as 10 minutes each day in, or watching nature can help with mental health and there has been a great increase in people showing an interest in nature since the start of lockdown.

Nature. Creation – God’s creation, there for us to enjoy.
Psalm 148
Praise God: sun, moon and shining stars;
Fire and hail, snow and mist;
Mountains and hills, orchards and cattle;
All people and rulers, young and old.
Praise the Lord!

We can celebrate creation in many ways; in our hearts with songs of praise, in prayer through words, and through our senses.

We can see a beautiful scene before us, we can watch the changes taking place in our gardens or in the parks around our area.

We can listen to birdsong or the waves on the beach or the wind in the trees.
We can taste our food and water

We smell the fragrance of the rose, the lavender, the honeysuckle and the sweet peas; the sweet smell of chocolate or the invigorating smell of coffee as a new jar is opened.

We touch a pet and feel the soft fur in our fingers. We touch a friend to offer comfort or to say hello.

In all those things we can see creation and wonder at God’s creation. And if we are self-isolating and have no outside space we can meet creation in stillness in our imagination, in the pictures of a book, in music gently played, in the sound of a friend’s voice on the phone, in a flower growing through a crack in a wall, through the rain, the sun or the wind seen through a window.

In the book The Wild Remedy the illustrations are of simple things from creation; a single feather, a small shell, an individual leaf or berry, a blade of grass or a bird. Praise for and wonder at creation can start small. We don’t need to be thinking of the sun and the stars unless that is what you want to do. Try to focus on the wind, how it moves the trees, the flowers, grass or litter, (the focus is on the wind not the litter) what it feels like on your skin or in your hair.

I spent some time outside with my eyes shut a few days ago, focusing on what I could hear. At first it was the distracting sounds of a lawn mower, the traffic, voices drifting over the fence. But soon I was aware of quieter noises, buzzing bees, squabbling starlings, chattering goldfinches, the sounds of birds taking seeds from the feeder, the wings of birds as they flew over me, the rustle of leaves and the pages of a book by my side as the breeze passed across them.

Then I took some time to thank and praise God for creation. He really is an awesome god.

A Prayer.
Lord, teach our hearts to open as the buds open on a flower and to welcome you in to our lives
Teach us to dance with the clouds blown across the sky; to smile with the sun
The earth is yours, may it bring forth produce.
The birds are yours, may they bring forth their song.
May all that you have made stir us to praise you.
Amen

Jane