Savoring: The Second S
When my sweet cousin, Lisa told me about a workshop she'd attended I soaked it up. She'd talked about the idea of Three “S’s:” Seeing. Savoring. Speaking. "Alone and then together, they can become places of focus to perhaps be differently in the world," she'd told me. And they are proving to be kind companions for Advent. Each can serve as a spiritual practice. Each can be an intentional action taken to shift-things-around just a bit.
Savoring happens in moments. It a vertical experience. A particular event that captures something fine. When I am savoring something it feels fresh and wonder-full, and in that moment I am aware that this won't come again. Savoring is for this one time. I am still remembering this year's first bite on Thanksgiving Day. It was a little bit of the sweet potato soufflé' with the most remarkable taste of turkey. Ahhhh. When I think of savoring I remember Brogan playing guitar and singing just flat-out some song that started inside him and couldn't be contained any longer. I think of Sam's mighty, basso profundo voice that comes from deep inside and fills the world for me. Savoring. Treasuring. Cherishing. Tasting and hearing and taking everything in in an instant.
There are memories that I continue to savor. I know that I am re-living them, but they continue to live in me. Moments of pure. Moments of full. Moments of holy. Savoring joy. Savoring beauty. Balance. Connections. When I come close to re-capturing, I can almost take myself right there. Savoring, holding on.
Savoring when we are walking with grief can become a spiritual practice. Savoring reminds us that we are still alive. Sometimes when we are so deep in grief, we find ourselves on auto-pilot, making our way through our days. Hours can pass and we aren't aware; we haven't been paying attention. In grief it is tempting to give up on ever feeling anything good again. The spiritual practice of showing up, opening up, and risking the act of welcoming life in again may be one of the places when healing begins. Savoring not to gulp or stuff, but to take-in and cherish.
Not long again I was walking to my car after church. A couple I didn't know were doing the same and we fell into step with each other. Somewhere along the way the woman has picked up a leaf that had recently fallen to the ground. It wasn't very big, she could hold it in her hand and she showed it to us. It was a maple. It still had some green and yellow around the edges. Taking up the leaf's center and spilling over was this amazing deep, vibrant red. We all said that it looked like the red had been painted on the leaf with a big paint brush. We three looked at this leaf and wondered how what we saw could happen. I'd never seen a leaf like, and they said they hadn't either. "It had to be God's work, none of us could do that," the gentleman said. Then we started talking about ways she could keep it, preserve it so that it would always stay that way. Framing it on a wall? Wax paper? And without saying it out loud to the other, we each knew I think that this leaf was something to savor in this moment. I offered a silent prayer of thanks, and I think my companions did as well. Thankful for something so beautifully done. Offering a prayer to the One who created and is creating still.
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"Writing more often than not helps me find my way home." Lesley is an ordained minister in the UCC and co-parents two remarkable young men, John Brogan and Sam.