Some weeks are richer than others. This past week was one of those.
- My daily walks. What a glorious fall this is. Still. The leaves capture the sunlight, and the golds are more golden; the reds more aflame, and the branches now bare, create more space for the sun’s warmth. One day I stood and watched a man at the nearby ballfield throw a tennis ball for his German shepherd and golden retriever to fetch. The shepherd never tired of the exercise, but the retriever said, “enough,” and stretched out near homebase to watch the rest of the game. Another day a woman in a car rolled down her window and asked me if I could tell her about the neighborhood. “My adult son would like to buy a house here. What’s it like to live here?” In a flash, I became a one-woman public relations agency.
- Gatherings in our home. Oh, how I love setting the dining room table with pretty dishes and then welcoming loved ones for an evening of fellowship. This past week one of our potluck groups met here one evening and after enjoying a delicious meal of pumpkin-apple soup, a couscous salad, hunky bread, and a cranberry dessert, we settled in to explore the topic for the evening: what have we learned about ourselves because of the travels we have enjoyed? Such thoughtful, interesting, and revealing responses. Just as sacred, however, are the times during the week that I meet with spiritual direction clients. Such a privilege to hear the challenges, the joys, the puzzles of their lives and to reflect on the ways they are inviting God, the Holy, the Divine into their lives. And how could I forget to mention the afternoon our daughter dropped-in to tell us all about visiting our granddaughter at college!
- Time at my desk. One of the tasks of this last week was to combine all the chapters of my spiritual memoir draft into one document and then before printing it, correct spelling and usage errors. I am sure this is not the final version, but holding the manuscript in my hands, I knew the past effort and the work yet to be was worth it, for I have learned so much.
- Reading time. I finished reading a marvelous –and gorgeous–book, Flower Diary, In Which Mary Heister Reid Paints, Travels, Marries and Opens a Door by Molly Peacock. Peacock’s earlier book The Paper Garden, Mrs. Delaney Begins Her Life’s Work at 73 remains one of my favorite books ever, and this one is just as special. You know how some books just feel good in your hands. Well, both of these books remind you of what it means to give yourself to a book and to let a book into your life. The author, by the way, weaves her own life into the lives of the women she explores.
- In Your Own Words, Contemplative Writing as Spiritual Practice. One of my ongoing joys is preparing the weekly writing prompt and then sharing time for writing and reflecting with a group of lovely women. The prompt last week was about crossing a threshold–to consider the current questions and yearnings in our lives.
- Just the Two of Us Time. Saturday afternoon we drove along the St Croix River marveling at the color and the gifts of this lingering fall. The day was too beautiful to miss. In the evening we returned to watching episodes of The Crown on Netflix, which has enraptured us just as much the first time we watched the series.
- My Guest Post in Abbey of the Arts, Monk in the World series. You can read it here: https://abbeyofthearts.com/blog/2021/10/27/monk-in-the-world-guest-post-nancy-agneberg/ I am so delighted and honored to be featured in the weekly blog from Christine Valters Paintner.
Listing these riches is a kind of examen, which is the prayerful reflection on events of the day –or in this case, week–in order to detect God’s presence and to discern God’s direction for our lives. This was a week in which it was easy to feel God’s presence. I know not all weeks feel that way, but my sense is that the more I practice this kind of awareness, the more I will know that presence when I am challenged and shaky. During this week I also sent a sympathy card to a friend from the past whose son died, and I held my daughter-in-love in my heart on the anniversary of her father’s death. And then there are the heartbreaking stories in the news. The pain and sorrow sit right alongside the riches. And God is there in the midst of it all, and it is my job to open to the presence.
I do admit, however, I am not having kind thoughts about the squirrels who have devastated all my pumpkins. They apparently love fall food. But so do I. Sigh!
An Invitation: What riches have you known this past week? And where/when have you felt the presence of God, the Holy, The Divine? I would love to know.