It’s an interesting phenomenon to watch the world blossom outside of our windows while life, for most of us, continues to feel stagnant. A distinct cultural value of Minnesota is the great outdoors. This becomes evident now as the weather warms and people begin to gravitate to the streets and sidewalks. Fewer cars, but plenty of bikes and rollerblades whizz by. Walkers, joggers, marathoners and parents with strollers pass by. Teens and little siblings heckle, waving to their friend across the way, headed to the corner store. We all do our best to stay six feet apart.
But most of our days are spent inside. Tucked away. Hibernating, despite the announcement of spring outside our windows. The bird songs and sunshine pour in between our blinds. Dissatisfaction mounts as we submit to this forced hibernation, so incongruent to the warmer weather outside. We’ve become so accustomed to the whirling of our day-to-day beyond these walls. We are comfortable with the busyness. The strain of maintaining composure while occupying multiple roles, it is familiar.
Friend. Mother. Counselor. Employee. Daughter. Director. Worship-leader. Provider. Volunteer. Board member. Comforter. Entertainer. Advocate. Comic relief. Caretaker. Cab driver. Housekeeper. Hustler. We are used to the misuse of our time, energy, and bodies. In fact, to be without the clutter of these many hats we wear, seems to leave us vulnerable somehow. But what if the discomfort, the silence, the space is an invitation? Of course, we will continue to long for the warmth of sunshine on our faces but notice: there is beauty to behold right here at home. For those of us that find ourselves stripped of the façade of all that we do, no longer distracted by the roles we play, we implore you: embrace the unexpected blessings of these quiet days.
Explore the practice of introspection. Become more familiar with who you are apart from all that you do. Establish a dance from looking outside to looking within, caring for yourself as well as your loved ones. It may feel risky to invite introspection. You may discover inside yourself a myriad of thoughts, fears, feelings, and dreams. Remember, be gentle with yourself. Pause. Illuminate. Liberate. With certainty we can know that, albeit imperfect, the beauty you bring into the world as counselor, daughter, friend is but a fraction of the gold inside of you. Be gentle, be brave, be still.