Posted on 06/01/20 by in Stories from The Well
By Megan Trischler
Every morning around 5:30 a.m. I click the button of our bright orange kettle. I weigh the coffee beans and take in their floral scent with a deep inhale. My ears brighten at the sound of birds stretching their voice boxes, though it’s still too dark to greet these feathered friends with sight. If I’m lucky, I might catch a warmth developing on the horizon, a glowing orb slowly emerging beyond the hills. I light a candle and empty the fresh, dark liquid into a ceramic mug. I sit still, cross-legged and silent on a small blue couch. This begins my day of conversation with God.
Human life is full of moments like these—subtle invitations to notice holy in the seemingly mundane. A flower emerging from a cracked city sidewalk. A grey brick wall newly activated with a mural of color. A shadow surfacing down a set of concrete stairs—the sun’s way of dancing. Life being born, beauty springing forth from brokenness, the world being made new day after day. This month, I’ve been watching a mother duck sit on her nest of eggs. Last week there were five eggs, then six, then eight. Each day she sits for hours waiting for nature to enact its plan. I can learn something from this rather ordinary creature—something about the necessary rhythms of patience and persistence. Oh, but how unsatisfying it is to wait! How eager I am for results! Times like these call for bold response, action, big things! How desperate I am to maintain the illusion that I’m in control, that the world is mine to bend and shape into being. Oh no! , says the mother duck— settle in, take a few deep breaths, and put your kettle back on. Wait and see what unfolds.
I’ve read that prayer is simply a discipline of listening and waiting. It’s difficult in a world like ours to make space for this kind of practice with all the pings! , dings! and other distractions vying for our attention. We need reminders that pull us away from our busyness and reconnect us to self and God. We need patterns, rules of life, that call us back to our humble dwelling place—minor mortals in God’s grand story. I’ve found new possibilities in the spiritual rhythms practiced by monastic communities who maintain that there’s ample room in each day for prayer, work, study, and community. Recently, I shaped a City Liturgy to invite friends from across faith traditions to explore how a set of simple practices might begin to reorientate our paths, deepen our connections, and promote flourishing in our contemporary lives. Several individuals have shared their experience with me, many finding both joy and challenge with the engagement. Joy: the fruit of feeling at ease, more connected to self, others, nature, and God. Challenge: the result of confronting how our contemporary pace prioritizes productivity over peace, competition over kindness, speed over gentleness, efficiency over effectiveness. Why must it be this way, they/I wonder? Perhaps it doesn’t have to be.
Everything is waiting for you, writes the poet David Whyte:
You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. (1)
Feel the breath moving in and out of your body.
Watch the cloud move slowly past your window pane.
Savor the feeling of bare feet on Spring grass.
Taste the boldness of the tea, the sweetness of the wine—poured out just for you. Listen and wait.
Wait and listen.
waking up inside of you.
Meg Trischler is a designer, writer, and spiritual director based in Cincinnat, Ohio. She's a simplifier at heart and enjoys accompanying people on their paths to discover the things that make them come alive. Meg lives in a small house, on a big hill, with her husband D.J., a cat named Lentil, and a sourdough starter named Abe.
Website: https://www.megantrischler.com/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/walk.with.meg/