Welcome to the world, he says, when I carefully part the branches for him to see.

There are only three and so we know. One of the hatchlings did not make it. But this somber knowledge gives way to joy as the babies detect our presence and, mistaking us for mother, open mouths wide for a snack.

We laugh and stand, gawking through the tree limbs at new life.

So fragile. So fresh.

I make room for these balls of fuzz today…scoot over to let in wonder. It’s good to let awe break up the day—interrupt the usual.

I don’t always.

I live a disciplined life. There are the chores, the husband, the children, the dogs, the running…I read my Bible and have prayer time. I do what I am supposed to do.

I have always done what I am supposed to do.

But to soar?

There is never enough time.

Does discipline allow it? When every minute is scheduled and planned? Will I fly if I keep regular spiritual practices?

My pastor used to say, We like to be prepared. But we like to leave room for the Holy Spirit to move too.

I ponder these things at 5 a.m. as I sit at the kitchen table.

Julia Cameron tells me that I should “grab” time to write. Take advantage of the pauses in life to put down words. But isn’t this how I live? I grab time to read, I grab time to write. I grab time to do laundry, grab time to clean, grab time to run, to visit, to…live. I’m just a constant grab bag of life.

We all know what’s in those grab bags. All the stuff too junky to sell out in plain sight.

I’m feeling all jumbled up. Covered over by this brown bag that’s supposed to liberate me.

I am up at 5 am this morning, determined to do those blasted morning pages. I pull myself from the bed, let the dogs out and settle at the kitchen table. Outside the window is dark and my tired eyes get lost in the lightness of mist lifting through the morning hues before shifting to the page.

I am tired.

I scribble for a time in this journal, eyes heavy, heart limp.

Why is it so hard?

I am tired. Weary to the bone of feeling pulled apart sinew by sinew–stretched thin by what is needed and what I desire. I end up on the couch after half an hour—my notes are incoherent any way. As I drift I am aware of that sinking feeling. I have failed again. I tell Him about it. Ask Him to take the tired away.

He doesn’t quite. But He nudges me to remember. And these words speak:

…if there is any rule at all, it is listen. But the direction and the path can change…My job is not so much to practice a rigid set of disciplines as to pay attention…On a practical level, this means that though I’ll take time to read and learn about spiritual practices of various kinds, I decide not to be married to particular ones as The Only Path. Instead, I’ll see what comes….

(L.L. Barkat in God in the Yard)

So I wait. And I listen. And I feel the air catch under me as this attempt to fly ends up on the couch.

If I could decide my own spiritual program I would rise when my body tells me to. I would spend as much time as I wanted, lingering over scripture. Then I would take it to Him and we would chat long and loose about all the stories my eyes took in. I would share some poetry with Him. And then we would run. I wouldn’t worry about work, or laundry, or if there is enough food in the cupboard for dinner. I would put on music and we would dance…there would be no concept of time and no one in my life to interrupt my prayer and meditation.

But there is. I have this family. And these dogs. And there is much that needs doing to keep things in order. There is work to do and food to prepare. There are bodies to maintain and floors to sweep.

This is my life.

So I jump. Time and time again…only to feel my wings too weak—fuzzy and impotent. The flight is aborted.

But I won’t worry about that anymore. See…I have this built in Parachute. When I start to fall, He catches me—whips up with just a tiny breath.

And I land soft. I land safe.

Safe for another try.

This was written in response to week 2 of L.L. Barkat’s book God in the Yard: spiritual practice for the rest of us. Won’t you join us in the journey? Leave a comment here and then visit me at The Wellspring to let me know you did so for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.

[god in the yard] rules: the way

by laura boggess time to read: 4 min