I remember a few years ago when I was stressed out about my studies and my never ending to-do or want-to-do list, my spiritual director suggested I go home and do something I enjoyed like baking bread or washing my car by hand. I still return to this practice and have since included digging in the soil, pulling weeds, or cleaning the house. (Yes, you can call me if you need help, but….)
I find that as I engage in these tasks, my mind is relieved of pressures, I often pray, and amazingly what feels like new ideas or new connections come together for me. Not always, of course. Sometimes it’s a relief to just let my mind wander or to focus completely on the task at hand.
Most recently as I was taking our vegetable peels to the backyard to compost them and was noticing the new life and colors of spring, a question arose: why do I smile when I see the beautiful flowers and why do I feel sad when I see them die? As they let go and die, are they not simply entering another stage of beauty in this circle of life? Will there ever come a day when I will not feel as sad to see the transition of something that is dying, knowing that out of the dying, new life will circle around?
I have no immediate answers, mostly just questions. I know I believe in the Resurrection. And like we read in the First Letter of Peter, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.” I know I am grateful for the Word of the Lord which remains forever.
So, what about you? How do you reduce stress? And what questions do you ponder? Feel free to share in the comments, if you would like.
Oh, and enjoy the photos of the living and dying that is happening around our house. And that’s just the plants.