Thursday, July 2, 2009

Candles for Spaghetti Night

Or, for an alternate title, how my hands help my heart.

I've been noticing lately, in this summer of soul-searching and emotional sifting, of trying to swim for a rocky shore instead of just riding the swells helplessly, is how the physical act can calm the spirit. I can do something that is just part of my day, taking care of my family, and find that the motion of hanging laundry, kneading dough, pushing the needle in and out or taking a room from disordered to tidy makes a space, even in the midst of troubled thoughts, for calm to creep in. This is not new-- the gift of routine and the comfort of ritual.

But just to take it a step further, I notice than when I move beyond the necessary into the celebratory, beyond what merely must be done into imagining what may be done, made, created, relished, that is when I feel not only a bit better, but as though my life is given back to me, that beneath the questions, hurts and worries, "YES" is being said, deep and sweet.

So, because it makes my Sam light up, we have spaghetti night by candleglow. I wash the sheets, then spray them with lavender. I sit down with ice water and my journal in the afternoon and sink into the midst of words, my old friends. I lift my voice in praise after a sleepless night. I look deep into my boys' eyes when we talk together, and I hug my husband an extra time or two. I'm taking more pictures than I have for a couple of years, and as I try to continue to learn, I find I am more patient with myself. And with each act of the body, each stretch of the mind, my heart is strengthened. I see again the wisdom of doing the next good thing.

So today, I wish you the next good thing to do. If your heart is happy, let that happiness flow into your hands for a good deed. If your spirit is troubled, know that God may transmit His healing through the work of your own fingers.

"I raise my hands to frame the light
I raise my voice in the middle of the night
I close my eyes when I start to sing
It’s a way of, way of praying
In the silence you surround my soul
In the laughter you can make me whole
I hold it all like some promise made
It’s a way of, way of praying"
Carrie Newcomer "The Yes of Yes"

By the way, I have added a link to my Flickr photostream to the sidebar, in case you want to see more images from my daily portion.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I call this kind of thing Living Large. I try to make it habit. I enjoyed reading this post and the strawberry photo too! And the one for this post!

    P.s. that other comment was me, but it was under my husband's account, so I deleted it...