Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Redeeming the Time

It was a Monday out of the routine.
No childcare responsibilities.
No church responsibilities.
No family responsibilities.

Don't get me wrong - all of those are good things in our lives,
things we treasure and are grateful for.
But occasionally,
it's a very good thing to have a day
to ourselves.
A day set aside for nothing other than dinking around.
It is my firm belief that there is not enough dinking
happening in this world.
There is far too much busyness,
too much obligation,
Once in a while, it needs to stop.
All the noise, the inner grinding of gears,
the siren call of one more person to check in with.
The computer needs to be closed,
the phones need to be silenced,
the calendar squares need to be left blank.
Blank, I say.
Because when there is 'free' time,
that's when the good stuff happens.
The really good stuff.

The this-is-me-at-the-heart-of-it-all stuff.
The let's-do-something-spontaneous-
and-see-what-happens stuff.
The take-off-your-cloak-of-ought-and-
should-and-must-and-look-at-life-without-it stuff.
Our children gave their father a gift certificate for his birthday.
His birthday was at the end of March.
The end of March.
Each week when he dropped off Lilly at our house,
our son would ask,
"Have you used that certificate yet?"
Well, no.
We hadn't.
It was overdue for redemption.
And so were we.

They gave it to him so that we could select some large pots for our living room,
pots to house the very large orchids 
my husband has been tending for a number of years.
This is what they looked like this winter - 
from just after Christmas until about a week ago:
They were stunning this year,
a daily reminder of the creative genius of our God.
And they are contained in some very ugly black plastic things.
So...some good-sized, good-looking pots.
And our kids knew just the place to look, too.
It's in Carpinteria, up against the foothills,
about 10 minutes from our home.
So Monday was the day.
And what a day it was.
Seaside Gardens is simply amazing.
Nursery supplies displayed creatively,
covered areas for pots of all colors and shapes,
and behind and around it all?
Gardens - fully planted with trees, grasses, color - 
representing a variety of different 
South African, Asian, native Californian,
succulent, Bioswale - all laid out for the walking,
for the looking,
for the re-charging,
for the dinking around.
And it was all free.
Yes, we found two matching pots,
in a soft green to sit quietly in our living room.
They're lovely and we're so glad to have them.
But, it was the walking,
and the looking.
The oohing and the ahing.
The did-you-see-this-one's
and the what-the-heck-is-that-one's
and the oh-my-such-glory one's --

that's where the redemption truly happened. 

Each of us could feel it.
Each of us could hear it, too.
The soft sound of the soul, opening.
Opening to the beauty,
the orderly chaos,
the flamboyance,
the brilliance of living things.
Opening to the shared creativity
of a good God and a few greatly gifted human partners.
It was only a couple of hours,
but it was exactly what we needed.
A blue sky,
a warm sun,
a shared space.  

We followed our time at the gardens with an early
dinner near the beach.
Sitting where the sun could warm our backs,
watching a few young ones playing in the outdoor sandbox,
eating fish tacos and sharing a milkshake. 
 Redeeming the time, indeed.

Joining with Michelle, Jen and the sisterhood, Ann, Laura and L.L tonight,
grateful for their invitation to nurture gratitude,
to have a playdate with God, to write about place,
to talk about Sunday blessings made real in the rest of the week.
Yeah, I think most of that is in here somewhere.