Living Among The Wild Things

A few years ago I attended a small evangelical church. Once, after I had missed too many Sundays in a row, a friend expressed her concern to me through a message: “How are you feeding your spirit if you are not regularly attending church?” she enquired. This is my response to her all these years later.

If you were to look, you would find me spending time with the Wild Things. The Wild Things live in a place far removed from any church I have attended. They inhabit a headspace fertile and lush with a variety of ideas, philosophies, and theories  – both new and ancient. They have welcomed me like I was always a part of them. This is where my spirit receives nourishment.

The Wild Things are not afraid of raw emotions – theirs or mine. Like the Psalmists before them (those great Wild Things of the past) they freely express themselves. Whether joy or sorrow, contentment or unrest, the Wild Things embrace it all for they know the only way to navigate the waves of feelings is to hit them straight on and ride them through to the end. I am safe here with the Wild Things. They acknowledge every one of us as acceptable in all of our conditions. Their strong faith far exceeds any need for pretenses or for sweeping issues under the rug. It is with the Wild Things that my Spirit has healed.

Here with the Wild Things, I am free to ask hard questions. We all are. They don’t mind inquiries that are challenging and that make us all a bit uncomfortable or at a loss for quick, presupposed answers. Wild Things accept that healthy relationships are based on equality and that we learn and grow by confronting the challenges that arise through honest and reflective interactions with each other. We are comfortable in our discomfort. It is with the Wild Things that my Spirit has awakened to it’s value.

The Wild Things are not afraid to explore new traditions, theories and customs from different regions. They ascribe to the adage “Not all who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien). How they love to listen and learn from others. They know that, though there may be superficial differences, the same One Beautiful Creator breathed life into all beings. They know this Creator to be a Wild Thing too. Wild Things gain much knowledge in their open-minded explorations. It is with the Wild Things that my Spirit has grown strong and matured.

If you are curious, the Wild Things can be found in all walks of life. Some are as old as the Bible, in the form of Mary who broke the rules and sat at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her sister make dinner. Some are found in libraries and dusty book shelves, with names like Thomas Merton and Brennan Manning. Others, having less famous names but being just as wild, can be found when hearts are open during daily life – at work, while commuting, in neighborhoods and stores.

The Wild Things are everywhere.

And I am one of them.

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A Snapshot of one Sunday in these Post-Church Years

This morning I wake up to the soothing sound of rain pelting on my roof. I roll over in bed, cuddle closer to my husband and our little dog who is snoring between us, and let the rain drops soothe me back to sleep.

You see, it’s Sunday morning … and I have nowhere I have to be.

Later the rain continues to fall, now bouncing on the kitchen skylight, as I sit cozy in the den debating on whether I should light the fireplace; I am embracing the changing season. I linger over a cup of coffee, breathing deeply, feeling at peace and grateful.

How lovely that it is Sunday morning … and I have nowhere else to be.

A few years ago, this would be an entirely different story.

A few years ago, I was an active member of a small evangelical Christian church, and Sunday mornings found me very busy. I often neglected to pause to catch my breath or to find the time to really soak up and enjoy God’s creation. I kept myself too busy to simply be.

But now my mornings are relaxed, calm, peaceful and full of opportunities for gratitude.

I hear my husband walking down the hall. I smile. I could recognize the sound of his walk anywhere. “Coffee is on” I say. And we enjoy the morning hours together, having breakfast, talking quietly, making plans, discussing recent happenings, laughing, relishing the gift of each other. Life is busy with our two careers, grown daughters and one grandson. It’s wonderful to have this time to connect – just the two of us.

The morning rain gives way to a fresh, breezy sunny afternoon. It’s early fall. I do a quick tidy of our loving little home, washing bed sheets and hanging them outside to dry. I pause and reflect … Oh, how I love the smell of sheets that have been air dried. They carry the sweet smell of the village where we live.

The hubby heads off to do some errands and I hook the leash on our little doggy. He jumps and squeals with excitement in response to the word “walk”. I smile.

We start our journey along our favourite path with much tail wagging and sniffing. We walk past open fields colourful with goldenrod and other wildflowers, we hear the steady gentle buzzing of insects and the rustle of leaves as the wind blows through. This same breeze catches my hair and tickles the back of my neck.

What a gift it is to be alive on this bright, breezy Sunday afternoon, with nowhere else I have to be.

The day passes peacefully, lazily, as I putter. One of our daughters has left home to start her own little family, and I have been renovating her former bedroom into a new yoga room. Today I remove a rug from one space and place it in this new space. I smile at the results. I breathe deep and an image comes to my mind of my husband carefully painting the window frame of this room. He’s done a lot of work here, scraping stucco off the ceiling and painting the walls my choice of a “gentle rain” grey. I sense the love with which he created this room. Like the love I imagine Jesus felt as He spoke the world into being. In here, I feel safe and warm.

It’s become a sacred place to spend time in on this Sunday where I am free to just be.

Later I pour myself a glass of rosé from my favourite winery. My mind travels back to a couple of Sundays ago when my husband and I jumped onto his motorcycle and we spent the day touring around. He drove me to my favourite winery in Niagara on the Lake because this is the only place your can purchase this particular wine. It’s not sold in stores. I remember how special that Sunday was. And then my mind flows to other Sundays. Sundays filled with fun, spontaneity and love. Sundays spent laughing with my little grandson, daughter and her partner. Family Sundays spent with my Mother in Law. Sundays spent with friends. Sundays of fun and enjoyment. Sundays of peace and contentment. Sundays spent enjoying the many gifts God has blessed me with. Sundays of gratitude.

How I love these Sundays. Days where I have nowhere in particular to be. Days where I am free to be me.