Hope Rekindled

It has been a dreadfully dry autumn in my corner of the world.  We've had no appreciable rain in four months and temperatures have been much warmer than usual.  A state of emergency has been declared as wildfires are burning in Kentucky, North Carolina and here in Tennessee.

The temperature was thirty degrees as I set out for my morning walk today.  Even though I can't say I'm looking forward to the chill of winter, I found the drop in temperature to be comforting in its normalcy.  This has been a season of the unexpected--dare I say unimaginable.

My spirit feels scorched, my throat too parched to speak, my vision obscured by smoke as the world seemingly burns around me.  The scarred landscape will take years, if not decades to be restored.  Spring, when she finally comes again, may not look the way we expected.

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. - Sarah Ban Breathnach

In times such as these,  I especially need practices that bring me back to the present.   Perhaps that's why I'm drawn to making these mandalas now. By focusing on that which is right in front of me, I come to appreciate the beauty the season has to offer in this moment. Prayerfully, I begin at the center and move outward. Patterns start to emerge as I assemble random elements, and soon I know exactly what is needed next and next and next.   The end result is always surprising, beautiful, and hopeful in its imperfect orderliness.

 

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”  Thomas Merton