This afternoon, I am noticing things.  I feel the breezes of California that are perfectly warm and yet delightfully cool.  I hear the coo of doves, and the scampering of birds and squirrels around me.  I am sitting where a family of deer has been resident with my seminary colleagues and I these past two weeks, delighting us with every visit.  I notice my own growing familiarity with a “second city” and even my little campus abode that has started to feel like home.  I notice how quiet it is without my community, as we have each given our hugs and said our “until next time!” sentiments of bonding.  I have laughed and cried, struggled and grown with these people. It seems impossible to believe that most of them I have only known for only two weeks.

I have an hour or so before the scheduled shuttle arrives to begin my cross-country trek back home.  Not long, but long enough to truly take a breath.  As I was soaking up some stillness, I opened my eyes and noticed this shadow pattern of branches and leaves:

This labyrinth of shadows speaks to my soul today in ways that words cannot fully find yet.  Every branch leads from the center, but these elegant branches cross over each other and form patterns that aren’t simple and direct.  They cross, and bloom; they spiral and swirl.  The pattern cast through the leaves of what is actually a rather plain-looking tree onto the ground have their own stunning beauty.  The pattern cast by the sun through those branches invites me into mystery of where they might be leading. I am drawn in to the patterns of darkness and light, inseparable from each other.  Just like my own journey…

I have made a shift during these past few weeks, further transforming some of the darkness of history into the light filled grace of being present in the now.  So have those here with me.  My greatest take-home gifts aren’t the new sweatshirt, the labyrith scarf from Grace Cathedral, or a new found love of the Brit-com “Rev.”  Those are all wonderful momentos of this time.  My greatest gifts are the words of transformation I have heard spoken by those in my seminary cohort, and the transformation made incarnate in my own inner life.  I am sure they will continue to find a way onto my blog, as I resume a “post-intensive” life that will be its own new beginning, the continued labyrinth walk of formation on which I’ve begun.

For all the small points of light that have made their home in my soul, I am grateful.

Next step: head toward home…

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
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