ItF: Unit 1b

We all like to be in control, but wildness is not to be feared but embraced. Where does my wildness lay? Is there room for it in my life? Can I nurture it? or do I try to tame it?

This question reminded of that great thought in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia:

Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” … I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.

This thought has stuck with me and guided me through many faith transitions. It is good to know that God is wild, beyond my control, and yet always good. So when I see those expressions of faith that claim to tame him, control him, or place their own “badness” onto him I tend to lead with skepticism. This has led me to explore paths of faith expression until I settled in the Anglican Communion.

Here I find enough wildness and enough structure to make me comfortably uncomfortable. We are always challenged to “live into our baptism” and we never shy away from the hard issues. There is grace enough for conflicting conclusions, so long as we all agree that Jesus points the way to God. Kyrie Eleison!

This idea of wildness and of being comfortably uncomfortable allows me the freedom to make somewhat unconventional choices for our lives, our home, and our property. As a family we have almost 5 acres and a small-ish home to tend and keep.

We’ve done things like allowing the majority of the land to grow up through wildness into woods. We have paths through the property and we try to limit human incursion to those paths. We use the acre set aside for people and garden as smartly and intensively as we can. We compost religiously. We do (and will) raise our animals, not for food, but for manure production (and in the case of chickens, for eggs). Due to wild animals, and packs of domestic dogs, we won’t free-range or pasture for our animals, so we will do our best to mimic that freedom in safe conditions. We have a vegetable garden, fruit garden, and fruit/nut trees scattered around. We have a pool for keeping cool in the summer, and use downed trees to heat our home in the winter.  Michael has dug a system of trenches and cisterns to help the land drain better and to store water for the dry months (garden only). Our new animal enclosures will all have their own rainwater collection system built right into the design. I have been slowing adding pollinator, butterfly, and hummingbird gardens closer to the house.

Our pup Jasper is another area of wildness in our lives. He isn’t particularly well-trained, but he is affectionate, friendly, and generally well-behaved. He is, however, all dog and loves nothing more than to run through the property sniffing, peeing, barking, and letting the wind ruffle his hair. He “commands” the front yard (the human used area) from a perch built onto the front deck. He brings us such joy and laughter as we watch his antics.

I also love to feed and watch the birds at a bird feeder. I hope to bring more wildness closer to the house by increasing the bird feeders and types of feed available next winter.  And bees! I’d love to add a couple of hives (we have wild honey bees on the property).

 

ItF: Unit 1a

How do I see? Hear? Touch? Taste? Smell? Can I change the way I approach the world through my senses? Can I catch a glimpse of something else? Might I be surprised by inspiration?

I began wearing contacts at age 18 and wore them exclusively until 12 months ago. There used to be a clarity to vision that I took for granted. After a major relapse of my auto-immune disease I was no longer able to wear them for long periods of time — more like for a few hours at time. At the time, it seemed like the worst thing in the world. How would I see? How would I get around? How would I cope to wearing glasses and having multiple prescriptions for various purposes (which is not the same as bifocals or trifocals)?

Then about six months ago, I just quit wearing them due to dry eyes. I switched to just my glasses and occasionally not wearing any corrective lenses at all.  I am learning to lean into the fuzziness at the edges and appreciate the crispness of vision in my “good range.” I’ve noticed a gentleness as I switch between various lenses and uncorrected vision. I am seeing more while actually seeing less. I notice little things and I appreciate small pops of color.

I’ve even noticed a shift in my favorite colors. I used to prefer greens and browns, Now, I want red, blue, and purple. Although not together, land sakes NO! I even bought a bright red winter coat! It has been a great surprise, but I love it. I love that I can see it. I love the way it feels like a ray of brightness in an otherwise gray world.

 

 

ItF: assignment 1

Why did you choose this course? What do you hope to gain?
I chose to participate in the ItF course because I wanted to examine my life and make sure all the parts are working harmoniously as I approach the second half of my life. At 52, it is likely that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind, and I want these years to be filled with grace, kindness, and goodness. I feel like the many parts and paths of my life have converged to bring me to this place. I am at peace.
I am a wife, a home keeper, a farm manager, the primary support mechanism for our adult son with autism, a mother to a grown daughter, and the devoted servant of our pup. I am also living with a chronic auto-immune disorder that, when not in remission, causes inflammation, pain, fatigue, and diminished kidney function. It has taken a large percentage of my eyesight and I have been unable to drive for a 18 months. Yet, I still live a life that is very connected to the earth and the land upon which we are planted.
I spent some time learning the Enneagram. I am a 5w4, the iconoclast. This study has given me tools for understanding myself and my childhood. Growing up I learned the “valuable” lesson that to be invisible is the safest option. My way of becoming invisible was to take a book, climb a tree, and flee away on the wings of imagination. I have learned to be present, and not fear the confrontation (yet, not necessarily to seek it out). I tend toward minimalism and simplicity when healthy and toward hoarding and storing up when slipping into the dark places.
I believe choosing to live life by the three principles of simplicity, purity and obedience will help keep the rhythm of my days, years, and life focused on faith. It gives a stability to my routines and helps me accomplish all the things that need doing. The ten way marks give me guidance and a structure on which to hang my Way of Life.
And still . . . my favorite way to recharge and process is to take a book, sit under a tree, and fly away on the wings of imagination. Although now, it is not to become invisible but find new worlds, new thoughts, and new joys.  It is the difference between fleeing and flying.