Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arriving Where We Started

I am making a special effort everyday to spend time in quiet, thinking, praying, exploring, and just listening. This is a hard discipline but a rich one to develop. The world of motion, noise, activity, talking beckons me all day long. I live in that world and enjoy it. But it is dangerous place when you cannot ever be still or be quiet without feeling guilty or useless or empty.

I have noticed lately that my thoughts, meditations, and prayers keep finding there way to the place where I started.

I know you have heard these lines from T.S. Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot in Four Quartets

Eliot's words have been bouncing around in my head and heart lately. I am discovering that all my exploring keeps taking me back to familiar places in my memory. Sometimes memory of the past and desires for the future are joined to the love of the present. It is as if we journey and explore and find our self back where we started but with a new understanding and appreciation of that starting place.

Let me illustrate it this way: I spent the day with my dear Grand kids recently and had so much fun listening to them, playing with them - just soaking it all in. At one point I realized that I was thinking of sweet times with my daughter years before, (their Mom) and then noticed I was thinking of joyous times with my Father as a child. I was in one moment enjoying the present and past and somehow I felt like a knew something I had never known. This is part of what Eliot has in mind, I think.

I remember taking a long ride with my Father a few years before his death. We drove around the county where he grew up and he pointed out the places where he had worked, gone to school, and lived. I was driving and pulling over again and again to listen to his stories. Hours later, I realized we were back where we started - we had make a long and winding journey through out the county but we ended up right back where we started. It seemed the perfect end to that journey.

Life is full. Life is good. Explore and explore some more but remember often you will find yourself arriving where you started. Each time, if you are attentive, you will find you have made new discoveries along the way. Enjoy the trip!

Just thinking, Steve

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