Winter teaches that the costly graces of smaller, slower, grateful living are borne of particular pains and personal hardships. Yet wellness awaits in unhurried, careful attention to being that uncovers the miracle in each moment unfolding. For faith let miracles appear. Not rushing but resting; not seizing but receiving, seeking out our reflection in the sacramental splendor of the universe. Doubtless, we are living through a darkening season. Tempest-tossed and torn asunder by tragedies and travesties, we must first learn to lament our losses, desecrations, and diminishments. But darker still is the obscurity within, shrouded appetites and reflexes that give birth to the desolation of careless, callous, cynical living. In a communion of tears, shared grief gathers us, giving voice, in sorrowful sighs, to our heartbreak at what is lost, our gratitude for all that lingers, our hope in that which lasts.
Keenly aware that life is brief and sweetly precious, the broken-hearted endeavor to slow down, pay attention, and live from their exposed core. For even winter’s gloom offers a quality of light, a crisp-cold clarity that comes from having endured together. Before our eyes, beneath our feet, at the end of our noses and fingertips, a universe of possibilities waits to be tended. Paying attention to the life that wheels around and swirls within illuminates disaster, distress, and disease amid the wonders. By daily and diligently finding ways to express gratefulness for all life’s graceful touches, we are inoculated from corrosive cynicism. Paying attention demands courage and takes time. May you find your way to calm the fears that drive you to distraction. May you stubbornly refuse to be rushed headlong, but saunter through each day, heart-first and care-full. Let not fear keep you from stopping and stooping to touch and be touched by the wonderful-wounded nature of life in these times.
—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace
by Joseph Grant