[I’ve posted a picture to accompany the following thoughts; The Daily Divine.]
My first winter in Seattle has not yet disappointed. In one week’s time, the Seattle area has been pounded with more snow than it usually experiences in an entire winter. It has been labeled as a “Winter Squall”, “Snowmageddon “, and it has been the worst winter in nearly 27 years.
Because of the amount of snowfall, the snow-turned-ice mixtures, and the hills–schools have been closed this entire week. Not just a couple schools–132 school districts in Western Washington have closed. FYI, there are 132 total districts. Every.School.Closed. The church offices where I work have also been closed the entire week as well. I don’t know how adults usually do “snow days,” and we’re going on our 3rd one today, I am beginning to feel…useless, sluggish, and unsure of myself.
Seattle itself has shut down, the plowing/snow-clearing equipment is limited in what it can do, and side streets remain plugged with snow, causing them to become playgrounds and sledding hills-as they are no use to cars right now.
What else to do during a snow day, but to read? I’ve started a book, “A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough.” I have not plowed through the book far enough to be able to give a good recommendation, or even really, my thoughts… but, I have been thinking about “Enough.”
There’s the usual thoughts on “enough;” having enough in my kitchen to fill my stomach, having enough in my closet to cover and protect my body, having enough in my heart to love and be loved by others I meet.
But as I have been watching the world these past few days, I have been watching a different kind of enough. My favorite spot in my house is in the corner of the living room–with big windows on each side of the corner. From one window I watch the sunrise every morning while I drink my coffee. From the other window, I watch one of my favorite trees at this house. I don’t really have a good reason as to why it’s my favorite, I just like the way the limbs and branches twist together and hold up the leaves and run together as it reaches into the ground in the form of its trunk.
On Sunday, the littlest twigs at the top of the tree were lightly dusted with a silky substance. Monday, they were cloaked with white robes. Tuesday, the robes froze into shields of armor. Hour after hour, the branches dropped lower and lower to the ground, it begun to look like a different tree than I was used to seeing every morning. Its spirit wilting under the weight.
Wednesday evening, with the light leaving the sky and the snow and ice reflecting street lights, car lights, and the winter air–the tree seemed to be wearing a soft blue color. Then all at once, as if groaning and too tired to hold it anymore, the branches lurched down one final time. Loads of armor and snow and ice slid off the branches–and the branches returned to their original height–no longer weighed down; they were able to reach as high as before.
Sometimes, yes, we do need to say, “I have enough, I can be content.” We need to dawn an attitude of thanks for daily bread, rather than hunt and lust for a feast of fools, day after day.
Sometimes, we keep just enough for ourselves–that others may have as well; live simply so that others might simply live.
Sometimes it is simply enough to be ourselves–whatever we are, or whoever we may be–because in simply being ourselves–we give color to an otherwise white and foggy world.
And, sometimes, we try and carry and hold a weight and a burden that is not only ours to hold. We carry it so long we do not notice our shoulders are bending low, our eyes downcast, and our spirits cold–unable to bend and move and feel the wind.
So, in another way, we have had enough. We release what is not ours to hold, we drop what is not ours to carry. We bend low, so that we will one day be able to stand up.
For better or worse, we do not always practice this discipline of letting go, of dropping low, of releasing. For better or worse it takes a burden so heavy that we can not do anything else but drop. For better or worse, we wait and carry on..until we have had enough.