The Earth Opened Up (a poem) and A Winner!

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Have you ever noticed how reading poetry inspires writing poetry? That’s what Megan Willome‘s book The Joy of Poetry is doing for me. Did I mention I’m giving away an autographed copy of Megan’s book? (Winner announced after the poem). Here are some lines that came to me while out running this past weekend.

The Earth Opened Up Before Me

the earth opened up before me,
and I ran as in a dream, legs
alive apart from body,
breath morphed into a living
creature, skin baptized by
dew; the light of morning a
scrim of stars; my
thoughts a world within
a world, making space
inside for watching
the birth of light, an
initiation into the day

I am the reason
for all of this:
sky purpling on the horizon,
the way a single rain
drop divots on the sleeping lake
to announce the coming storm,
grass winking and yellowing
in the morning sun.
I am the reason.
and if I am,
so are you.

The winner of the autographed copy of The Joy of Poetry is … Lynn Morrissey!

Playdates with God: Sabbath Slowing

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I’ve been finding my play dates in books lately, letting summer storms and busy days rush over and past me unawares. For me, a good book has always been a way to savor time, something I am finding an urgent need to do these days. As we prepare Teddy to head off to school, I am alternately seized with nostalgia, excitement, and often fear. I have been praying through the Psalms this summer, finding comfort in the kinship of all those ups and downs.

Since I injured my foot, I’ve struggled to get back to running. If you’ve read my book, you know how my runs nourish me, open my eyes to beauty, and soothe my mind. It’s been slow healing, with a lot of ice and ibuprofen. In the mean time, I’ve traded the more vigorous pounding of the run for the gentler step of walking. The slower pace has been a treasured gift and I find I long for more hours in the day to simply walk—one more mile, one more country hollow, past one more barn. There is so much to see, so much beauty that we race past every day.

Knowing about my hungry eyes, a friend recommended the book A Philosophy of Walking to me not long ago and I have recently dipped into its pages. The author takes a look at the walking life of some of our most influential writers and philosophers, but also reflects on the value of walking as a way to slow so that we may see.

The illusion of speed is the belief that it saves time. It looks simple at first sight: finish something in two hours instead of three, gain an hour. It’s an abstract calculation, though, done as if each hour of the day were like an hour on the clock, absolutely equal.
But haste and speed accelerate time, which passes more quickly, and two hours of hurry shorten a day. Every minute is torn apart by being segmented, stuffed to bursting. You can pile a mountain of things into an hour. Days of slow walking are very long: they make you live longer, because you have allowed every hour, every minute, every second to breathe, to deepen, instead of filling them up by straining the joints. Hurrying means doing several things at once, and quickly: this; then that; and then something else. Whey you hurry, time is filled to bursting, like a badly-arranged drawer in which you have stuffed different things without any attempt at order.
Slowness means cleaving perfectly to time, so closely that the seconds fall one by one, drop by drop like the steady dripping of a tap on stone … ”~Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

Don’t I know that each moment is not absolutely equal? Haven’t I felt the way the kairos time—the holy time—slips into the regular ticking away of the chronos time? When the sun falls just so over the meadow, or my son looks into my eyes and sees me for once, or my husband reaches unthinkingly for my hand … these are the moments when the ticking of time becomes the steady dripping of a top on stone, the moments when time stands still.

According to Greek mythology, Kairos was the youngest son of the god Zeus. He is often portrayed as having wings on his feet, showing how quickly he rushes by. Ancient artwork also gives Kairos hair on his face but not on his head. This symbolizes that he must be grasped as he is approaching, because once he has passed, the opportunity is gone.”~Laura Boggess (that’s me!) in Playdates with God

The only way to grab the kairos moments is to always be open to them. Walking does this for me. As does running. And reading. These are ways to turn my entire being toward God, to listen with my whole self. Sabbath moments.

What works for you in this way?

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess

Running After Beauty

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Clear blue calls and so I go—head outside to run into the sky for the first time since the snows came.

The legs protest at that first long reach. My muscles have grown short and bunchy over the past month, well honed to the squat round stride of the elliptical I’ve been training on during the dark days of winter, but clumsy on this cinder-strewn sidewalk. Despite this, my spirit lifts and at the first steps under the sun-illumine. I am a newborn fawn, all leggy and gawky, tremulous at the discovery of this power inside of me.

I struggle for rhythm and am lost under the canopy overhead. It’s so easy to lope in—leave life behind, forget all the things that grab at my ankles and weigh me down.

I’m sharing the rest of this running story over at makesyoumom.com. Will you join me there?

There is No Hurry

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I move through the days as a series of slow steps, a circling round and round again. The rhythms repeat and sometimes I feel the weight of the earth laboring in its turning. When each day melts into the next I know it’s time to change direction, time to shift the gaze and trip myself up.

Last night I went for a run, starting over again, as I have been on a rest to avoid pounding this tender heel. Who knew plantar fasciitis would take so long to heal? I’ve been doing the stretches and taking ibuprofen but still, some days the pain makes me walk funny and I feel old and fragile. Finally, I could not wait another day to get outside and feel the sun on my face again, pain or no.

So I lumber along and I am aware of the long break from running in my lungs and once again I rail against the injustice of it all, drive my body all the harder, feel my muscles protest against this sudden demand after the long holiday, and there is an odd sort of pleasure in this pain. I am on the edge of despair as I approach the steady rise of a hill lifting up before me.

I have forgotten that I do this thing for pleasure, that it makes me happy to explore my little valley on foot, that I feel good in the doing and for the doing. This doesn’t feel good. Frustration at the loss of months and years of conditioning runs alongside me, when I hear a voice in my head clear as a bell:

There is no hurry.

These words fall like a stone into the middle of my striving, then lose their weight and float before me like a feather. Suddenly, I feel lighter too.

There is no hurry. Aren’t we all heading in the same direction? There are things I want in this life, yes, good things. I run toward them blindly, sometimes. And I forget what is best. I forget to see the way the sunlight falls, all golden in its descent behind the hills. I forget to hear the invisible sparrow’s song from his secret place. I forget the pleasure of studying the cracks in the pavement, how water flows into the lowest places.

There is beauty in the repeating rhythms of every day, if I slow to see it. I, too, will bend low. And be quenched.

 

Stepping out of the Frame

I live in a small world.
I grew up in a small town, attended a small college, work a small job, have a small family, and I keep small boundaries. But when a small world collides with big dreams…somebody has to change perspective.
2011 was the year my small world came alive with wonder. God started something new. First, He invited me to start looking at the world through the lens of play…and then He invited me to do the same with exercise! 
It all started with a birthday present. My husband surprised me with an iPhone for my 42nd birthday. And then a friend–knowing I am a runner–suggested I try the RunKeeper app. I started taking my phone with me on every run—keeping track of my mileage and pace.
Then one evening in July I saw this:
And I had to stop and take a picture. When I returned home, I shared the photo with my Facebook friends. Soon, every time I was out running, a little piece of beauty caught my eye. I would quickly snap a shot of it and share it on Facebook later. It didn’t take long until I began to actively look for beauty on my running route. Things I had run past every day before suddenly looked different to me.

I began to see beauty everywhere.
It changed everything.
I used the RunKeeper GPS to explore new routes, scouring my little valley home for new and interesting sights. I couldn’t wait to get out and hit the road.
I was excited to get out there and run. It became a great beauty hunt. With new treasure each day.
As I stood on the doorstep of 2012, my heart began to wonder–how can I share this wonderful treasure? I wish I had the words to describe how this simple exercising of my beauty finding muscles has revitalized the exercising of my body. I asked my friend Melanie, how can we encourage others to live healthier this year? How can we encourage each other?

I admire Melanie’s commitment to healthy living. She inspires me every day. Together, we decided that we would like to invite you to join us in to this great beauty hunt. Do you have a cell phone? Would you capture a bit of the beauty in your world and share it with us on our Facebook page? It’s not about traffic, or the number of “likes” we get. It’s about you. About living your best life. About seeing God’s beauty in the place He has planted you. You don’t have to be a runner, but our hope is that this beauty hunt will get you out there—walking, cycling, skating…just moving!

And then visit us at [un] framed on Facebook and share what you find with us. Let’s encourage each other to be healthier this year. Let’s step out of the frame of the small world into the life of wonder. Let’s live a life [un]framed.
With my sweet friend Jennifer today: 

and with the amazing Emily: