Awoke to rain and the joyous recognition that it was the first of three days with no scheduling, no musts or shoulds, a time of rest and rejuvenation, like the corn fields of the Midwest sleeping between fall harvest and spring planting.
Looking at this picture, sent by a friend from the frigid farmlands, where a minus-12-with-windchill temp was expected, it struck me that the sparkle of ice on fence posts and stubble is not so different than the sparkle of raindrops on ironwood needles and lawn — when viewed without benefit of direct experience.
What do we really know? How much of who we think we are, what we doggedly believe about the world, is simply what we've been told? By whom, and for what reasons? Does it serve us? And if it doesn't, can we let it go?
Since it's the time of year when spirituality and consumerism collide, I wanted to share this passage from the book "Peace Pilgrim," the story of a woman who walked thousands of miles across America offering the gift of peace:
After a wonderful sojourn in the wilderness, I remember walking along the streets of a city which had been my home awhile. It was 1 p.m. Hundreds of neatly dressed human beings with pale or painted faces hurried in rather orderly lines to and from their places of employment. I, in my faded shirt and well-worn slacks, walked among them. The rubber soles of my soft canvas shoes moved noiselessly along beside the clatter of trim, tight shoes with stilt like heels. In the poorer section I was tolerated. In the wealthier section some glances seemed a bit started and some were disdainful.
On both sides of us as we walked were displayed the things we can buy if we are willing to stay in the orderly lines day and day, year after year. Some of the things are more or less useful, many are utter trash. Some have a claim to beauty, many are garishly ugly. Thousands of things are displayed — and yet, my friends, the most valuable are missing. Freedom is not displayed, nor health, nor happiness, nor peace of mind. To obtain these things, my friends, you too may need to escape from the orderly lines and risk being looked upon disdainfully.
May the holidays bring you the most valuable things that money can't buy.