One hot, summer day at Girl Scout camp in Indiana our counselor gave us each about a foot and a half of string. She told us to walk out away from each another and find a shady place to sit. And then she told us to make a big circle with the string and sit and watch. That was it – sit and watch whatwould happen.
I remember thinking that she had gotten too hot and she’d lost her senses. What did she mean, “sit and watch”? That wasn’t fun. We weren’t doing anything. This might have been the lamest of all lame-ideas in the history of the world. But I did it. We all did. And wonder of wonders, we were introduced to something brand new that had been there all along.
It’s still a helpful spiritual practice for me. And after a while you don’t really even need the rope. Just get somewhere comfortable. And sit. And watch. And wait. Sometimes I notice the moving things first – ants and their cousins crawling around. Sometimes I notice the stationary things first – sticks, leaves. Sometimes I notice the wind or the sun on my back. Sometimes I hear our neighbor’s wind chimes.
In the watching and waiting I am reminded of all around me. There are worlds within worlds. There are stories within stories. Living things moving in concert, sometimes aware, most times not so much. Living things share space and place. Since time began we earthly creatures (in so many shapes and sizes) have been sharing space – and with our pieces of string we can be reminded again.
(thanks to Rande for these pictures taken as we were stepping out on another adventure - this time Cumberland Island, GA)
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.