By Helga Doermer
God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:3 NRSV)
There is a kind of invitation I find difficult to resist. It is the kind that is extended with a patient persistence and gentle determination. Just recently I found myself in the presence of such bidding. It beckoned through every window of our tiny cottage as the sun finally broke through a week of cloud, drizzle and rain. Though loath to break from my otherwise undisturbed routine, I finally succumbed. Setting my work aside, I stepped out the front door and paused on our elevated front deck to be greeted by the outdoor world.
Fresh, moisture-laden air kissed me in welcome and a gentle wind playfully fingered my hair. Birds fluffed their feathers and preened in the leaf clad branches nearby and then lifted their voices in twitters and twills of celebration.
With a sudden robust sensation of immense pleasure, I inhaled the fragrant scent of the deep cleansed atmosphere. This was the benefit of the rain washed week.
Extending before me a gentle green slope opened on to the gray expanse of lake and the distant hazy horizon. Somewhere just beneath my line of vision, I imagined my family already settled into the rhythm of the welcoming day. It was time to join them.
A natural granite footpath meandered through the long and slender grasses, with heads already splayed with lacy fronds of seed. Here and there the green waves were dotted with still blooming columbine and flecked with miniature bright yellow and white wild flowers. Cedar steps led down the rocky shoreline and onto a spacious dock, where my big Adirondack chair awaited me and I sank into its welcoming arms.
Indolently I observed a fleet of dragonflies take wing and dance through the air around me. They were of such a multitude they almost appeared to be swarming. The iridescent beauties with their gauze like wings and their streamlined slender bodies were enchanting. In the rays of the sun, their wings caught the light and became a flutter of rainbows, while their bodies shimmered in formal dress of bright turquoise, emerald green or stately black velvet. Their flight seemed idiosyncratic, like a playful game of tag. But they were following their prey and feasting on those almost invisible winged and legged pencil strokes that would otherwise have bitten me and sucked my blood. The dining dragonflies were my friends, my first line of defense against the invasive mosquitoes. The fleet thinned. Their meal was done and I was left to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
Low puffs of grey and white cloud drifted lazily across the sky. While high above a sheath of haze thickened, not yet quite dense enough to block out the radiant sun. The hum of quiet conversation washed around me as my family enjoyed the welcome break in weather. They too were comfortable and content, as they simply responded to the invitation of the day to set aside our city ways and sit awhile.
The only discordant note was the distant roar of a motorboat warning of another presence drawing near. The sound swelled, rose then reached a crescendo as it sped by and finally receded, leaving behind silence once again.
A soft south wind ruffled the surface of the lake water and the undulating waves gently slapped against the dock and rocky granite shore. Lulled by the ambience of the warm and gentle day, I found myself at last relaxing, content and at peace.
Though it was a part of original Divine intention, the seventh day has become difficult to keep as it is too often eroded by the rush in which we live. Our multitasking orientation has worn away the focused art of attending to one task at a time. It seems that even our occasion of gathering as a faith community for an hour of worship is caught up in a crush of other events.
This awareness heightened my sense of gratitude for the grace of the invitation. It was a moment in which the Creator reclaimed me with the summons to stop my work and step into the peaceful sanctuary of nature’s cathedral. Original and imitable in design, the Divine Creator’s house of worship quietly proclaimed the source of our beginnings. I was called to enter – to soak up the beauty and tranquility – and in responding, entered into a holy Presence.
Helga Doermer is a free-lance writer. Her reflective work is shaped by a Master of Divinity and her personal journey. She resides in ‘sunny’ Manitoba, Canada with her husband and two sons. You can write to Helga through the Letters page of this Magazine.
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