Sustaining our Souls

The brilliant moon rise over Massanutten mountain last night lifted my spirits, assuring me once more that not all things that can be touched by the virus. Beauty in tangible form continues to awe. And where the sources of beauty feel like they are running dry, we must persist in seeking. Perhaps I am one of the fortunate ones so far.

In my own family, my brother from Colorado said his compact neighborhood has virus cases, so he doesn’t even feel very comfortable walking outside his house. Hospitals there are now overwhelmed, and each of his three children work as a doctor or nurse administrator in hospitals in three different locations in the state. He worries about them but says they know how to take care of themselves. One way they cope is to take treks to the mountains.

Here, my husband and I were fortunate to get three days at a cousin’s cabin in the the St. Mary’s wilderness area last week. However, the only reason we got to go was because those who originally planned to be there had contracted the virus through contact with a carrier in a church where mask-wearing is not practiced. We were sad for them, but so happy to have three days of quiet walks by the river, re-reading journals kept while living in China, writing a few poems, and playing games. I am glad the other folks are recovering.

Here at home, my soul is also sustained by weekly Bible studies on zoom with women both in and outside our church. Any woman is welcome. Our two female pastors are amazing Bible teachers and empathetic in prayers. We all have opportunity to contribute our thoughts. Another practice related to COVID time church is that we have weekly opportunities to sing and record ourselves at home–then send the recording to our music wizards who put everyone’s parts together to form group harmony to use in weekly worship videos. Often those songs lodge in my head to enrich my soul beyond a one-time recording.

I have also continued writing chapters for a memoir based on having lived in China for five years. The memories evoked by my diaries have often amused me and allowed my mind respite from political or virus concerns.

This afternoon, as I do weekly, I will meet a neighbor’s child to read together Island of the Blue Dolphins and work on a small natural wreath with evergreen from our yard. My original inspiration came from my Minnesota sister-in-law who helped me begin a wreath there, using grapevines. Now I have two lovely wreaths–one on a rose trellis by the garage door, and another on a house door.

Yes, I know I am fortunate to have these outlets to feed my soul, and I want to continue to keep my eyes and heart open to look for sustenance during this winter that could get long.

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