I'm pretty sure it won't actually look like this, but this is the best vacation I can think of - ten whole days to do nothing but contemplate life and write at a monastery! I'm so looking forward to this writing retreat! And whether or not I come home with a finished manuscript, I know I'll come home with a little little less clutter in my mind. And isn't that what a vacation is all about?
Truth can come at you from any corner. Even though I'm a regular at Mass, some of the most profound lessons have occurred when least expected, and from the most unlikely of sources. Probably this is true for you, too. If we're paying attention (and sometimes even when we're not) there is wisdom floating around like a tangy sea breeze, just waiting to refresh us.
"You don't know what you got till it's gone..." -From Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell, and more recently covered by Counting Crows
This song was popular when I was a kid, though I remember Sonny & Cher's version best. I'm happy to hear it on the radio now and again, even happier when it generates conversation with my kids about stewardship of this planet. It's a conversation they can bite into without rolling their eyes at me.
Yesterday was my last day at my day job, and this song was rolling through my head. As I made my way to the time clock to punch out a final time, the kind words of my friends/employers made me not only feel appreciated, but confidant that life is good - no matter what - whenever we appreciate what we have. Since I've always been pretty ambitious, sometimes I can't taste how sweet my life already is. I rail against not being where I think I should be, feeling like I somehow lost myself along life's crooked path. But, as I looked around that bucolic setting, where I had the pleasure of spending my days with people I admire and enjoy, I thought of another song - What a Wonderful World. A truly wonderful world - whether I'm a front desk clerk or a Pulitzer Prize winning author (still a dream). And now, moving on into a new stage of my life, I'm more thankful for what I had, not because the future is scary (though it is, a little), but because in stepping away, I can see it more clearly.
I hope you take time to step back and let things come into focus today. Don't worry about the individual brushstrokes; they are there for texture. The big picture - your life - is a masterpiece in progress.
Thanks, Jim & Mary. The Wildflower Inn is paradise...