The last several weekends have been a time of celebrating connections. New connections, renewing connections, remembering connections. And, all this connecting has made me realize just how easy it is to become dis-connected.
We had the wonderful opportunity to spend a weekend in the hill country with a lovely couple, playing golf, hiking up Enchanted Rock (a granite cut that, at the top, provides a mighty fine 360 of some of the beauty of Texas), imbibing in some good wine and great conversation. It was fun getting to know more about this couple and their stories, moving from acquaintance to friendship. A beautiful discovery of shared interests. One of those shared interests is golf. I’m terrible at golf but have loved it for as long as I can remember and it was great fun being reconnected to the beauty and challenge of trying to discipline my body to do what my mind clearly wants to do….hit the ball. Super mind and body disconnect for me most of the time! How can it be so difficult?? And yet, I love the challenge and also the pleasure of being outdoors. Some people say that golf takes too long but, that is one of the things I love most about it. When else do you “have” to be at play for 3 or 5 hours?! It was a fun weekend of being physical and playful and I am reminded of the importance of being connected to that part of me. Something that I have, all too frequently, sacrificed in my striving to be who I thought I was supposed to be.
The next weekend we traveled back to the hill country to spend the weekend with longtime friends, the kind of friends with whom we share history, knowing both the joys and pains of each other’s lives and value each other’s presence through it all. We didn’t play golf but we spent time outdoors, playing washers and watching fireflies. Fireflies! I just love fireflies! Maybe one of God’s most creative endeavors. Their fragile beauty, so easily missed if one is not paying attention, is incomparable as far as I am concerned. I never see fireflies in the city, and I hear they may be in danger of extinction due to all the pesticides. I pray it isn’t so. For there is nothing that makes me feel more connected to nature and God than watching the night gently come alive by the light of these little creatures. After the fireflies came the frog symphony. From baritone to tenor we were treated to a nighttime awakening that was at once symphonic and hilarious. And finally, as if right on cue, the stars appeared in full view. It was all a stunning reminder to me of how much beauty there is in the world and how often I am totally blind. I see but I do not see. It was such a privilege, convicting and encouraging, to be reconnected to God who is so far beyond anything I can possibly imagine and yet as intimate and close as the summer night.
Our Texas hill country trilogy ended with a trip to the home of more longtime friends. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, the birth of each other’s children, and also shared in the pain of loss in each other’s families and in the joys of new beginnings. We celebrated our reconnection by dancing the Cotton Eyed Joe at a famous Texas country dance hall, dancing to the Almost Patsy Cline band and drinking long necks. I hadn’t danced in a long time and although my body felt the brunt of this reawakening I loved every second of it. I love dancing perhaps as much as anything else in life. To think that God created humans to have rhythm, some more than others, just makes me smile. To dance is to surrender to the moment and to anticipate nothing more than the present beat. To dance is to be fully present and yet taken away at the same moment. To dance is to be fully connected to the body and mind in a way that blends the best of both.
My reflection on all this is my confessional of both praise and repentance to God. I have so much to be thankful for in the way of family and friends, and life and purpose. God has firmly connected me in love and to love. But sometimes I let other things distract me from allowing myself to be fully connected to the gift of this moment, this life. So….on this, my 60th birthday I declare….here I am to live and love and be connected to God, beauty, family, friends, you…
Who says an old dog can’t learn a new trick?
It is this connection, this abiding, that Christ’s love brings to us. Even when we’re feeling disconnected. May you feel the full connection to your life and your loves this day and always.
Something to chew on….