Sunday, January 3, 2010

Trust. Be guided. Go live.

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
On the first Saturday of 2010, I commenced my annual 'Clean House,' Niecy Nash style. And while football games were sounding off in homes across this country, Style network was filling my home. And it was while going through my bookshelf in the living room, deciding what to keep, what should go, when I stumbled upon this leaf that I had pressed from back in the fall of 2008.

I had gone on a women's retreat through my church, to a beautiful area in northern Maryland. Autumn leaves. Blue skies. Mountains. A lake. And a perfect fall day. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 was the focus for this retreat. The woman heading up the retreat then asked us to spend 30 minutes in silence. We could stay in the cabin. Read. Write. Meditate. Or go outside, which is what I chose. For me... to be able to 'wander', in the woods and feel as safe as I did in this space was a very unique opportunity. So I walked out on my own for a bit, in silence, and came across a large flat rock at the top of this peak, shaded and tucked away under the beautiful autumn trees and overlooking a lake glimmering in the sunlight. I sat down, laid back, took a deep breath, and for the next 20 minutes or so, just laid there with my eyes closed. Soaking in this precious, quiet, still moment.

A funny thing happens when you are
really in the moment in life... later, as now, I can feel that moment, and smell that air, and hear those birds just as clearly as when I was there in person. When I sat up from that rest, I had wanted to capture my thoughts. While I had no paper, I'm rarely without my favorite pen (Pilot Precise extra fine, black), so I worked with what I had. Here's the [very] random thoughts that I captured that day:

Yes, 'breadcrumbs.'
The trees do not question where they are going, or WHEN it will happen. They need only to grow and be nourished. When will the leaf fall, or change color? It's none of the tree's business. There's a bigger picture than just that tree.
[from the song] 'Are you who you want to be?'
Stop moving so fast. Be still. Stop taking photos. And see.
What we resist persists. Embrace it. Learn it. Try it. So you can move beyond it.
So, if what you've been doing isn't working, try the opposite — or at least something different.
Lord listen to your children praying. I'll fly away. Sunlight. Shade. Crickets. Leaves fall. Cool. Smell. Crisp. Breathe. Clementine. Continue to be still.
Thank you. Alert. Awake. Learn. Trust. Be guided. Go live.

I love writing down our own thoughts on life. Letting some time pass. Then going back to read our own words. Who knew what that next year, 2009, would hold for my life, but more specifically, for my heart. We can gain strength knowing later how things turned out. It's already been a stellar start to this New Year. Brilliant. And we're only on day three. Genius.

January's a good thing.

©2010 Wendy Hudgins


  1. Like you, Wendy, I tried to capture what I experienced during that silent time at the 2008 retreat. During my time, I sat on the porch and just listened to the silence. I then found a smooth stone and wrote on one side "Listen" and on the other side "Be". This stone sits on the glass table near my bed.

  2. Love that, Robin. I think I needed a mental retreat today. :) Or the reminder of that one we attended. 'Gearing up for the new year and all. I love your words-on-stone. Such a simple but tangible way to bring your spirit back to a place where inspiration happened.

    So, yes... listen. And be.

  3. How beautiful and perfect. I hope I can remember this idea the next time I am out with nature. Its a beautiful lesson to teach the boys. Last summer, I did spend 3 hours at Brookside with the boys, clipboards in their hands and pencils. We just around different areas (eve in the center of what seemed liked a zillion geese) and they just drew what they saw. It was wonderful and they really focused. Now I'm thinking - how wonderful to have known later in life, what all those things might have made them think about. A future lesson. Yes, that retreat was waonderful, sitting under the leaves and watching them fall. I wish we could go more often than just once a year!

  4. I agree, Becky! Though there *is* a special magic that only Fall holds. Good for you for the lessons you give your boys. You may not know for many years how those lessons will unfold. But this is where faith comes in. Just keep doing what you're doing.


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