I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Jen Arendt's reflection, "A Whisper in the Wind."
As I sit in stillness in the sweet little oasis that I call my backyard, I am filled with joy to share the stirrings of my tender, grateful heart. Being outside, in God's creation, has a magical way of calling forth the deepest parts of my being. It's as if I truly come alive…it's where I am most at ease welcoming even the parts of me that are not that easy to welcome. It is here, softly resting amid the lilac trees, the hemlocks, and the daylilies…listening to little creatures sing and scurry…watching birds delightfully flit about…it is here that I know I am home. This gift of the natural world – this is where I am meant to be.
The "noise" of this modern life is often too much for this highly sensitive, deeply feeling woman to bear. Most of us know some version of this noise. Indeed the pitch, duration and intensity likely vary for each of us, but the commotion has become nearly impossible to avoid. Crawling into bed or curling into a ball with my hands pressed tightly over my ears are not sustainable solutions to escaping the chaos.
Instead, I step outside.
Now there is a different noise. Nature's noise. Oh how these sounds soothe and nourish my soul! I am transported, yet I am right here, right now. As the wind encourages the leaves to playfully dance on their branches, it breezes through me and whispers pure love. I believe it to be the Holy Spirit, reassuring me. It is all going to be alright.
I am with you. I am in you. Be still, my dear child. You are held. You are comforted. You are loved.
For as long as I can remember, even before I had words for it, I have felt called to be present in silence and solitude in God's creation. It's my soul's lifeline – the source of my heartbeat. On this morning, I do have words…
Not surrounded by walls, but by lush green creation.
An inviting calm permeates the air. Air that is sweet and mellow.
The stillness fills me, it is life-giving.
Tranquility softly settles into my being, taking up residence as if it knows it has found its true home.
Many have yet to wake. But the birds…the birds are singing their morning praises.
Songs filled with delight and expectancy. Their music encourages me to step into the fullness of me, to sing my song.
And sing I will – bravely, tenderly, joyfully – each note uniquely and lovingly composed by my creator.
As the world begins to stir, I will carry the early morning stillness with me…tucked safely into the gentle folds of my heart.
As my soul becomes increasingly nourished by God's creation, I am learning to shed false layers. It's a process that can be simultaneously painful and beautiful – as many journeys often are. With each encounter of wondrous nature, the light within me grows stronger. The glowing, the burning, of this amazing light is helping to dissolve the parts of me that no longer serve me…the dark parts of me that do not belong.
I am inching ever closer to discovering my true self…under the guidance of gentle sunrises, the birds' symphonies, a butterfly's playful flight. And though, as I travel along my path, I often falter, I only need to step outside to be reminded that I can do this…I am going to be OK.
A few years ago, I was walking through a pretty, peaceful little path that is covered by a canopy of mature trees. As I walked, I was struck by the way the sun was shining through that canopy. My heart was so filled that I felt compelled to stop and sit and write…I had to capture, right then and there, the gloriousness of the moment.
If you could see what I see, brilliant light dancing among the trees, you would know why my heart sings.
If you could hear what I hear, sounds so lovely and pure, you would know why my heart sings.
If you could feel what I feel, the warmth and the light so real, you would know why my heart sings.
The song has always been there – at times more faint than others. Let the music burst forth…let the light shine…life begins anew!
Jen Arendt is a nature loving, deeply feeling, yet to be uncorked artist who feels most at ease amidst God's amazing creation. Her wonderful husband, her two beautiful kids and a few kindred spirits (a.k.a. her angel friends) are her faithful companions as she journeys towards uncovering her truest self.