dpp 2012 :: december 1st :: snail pace

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Day One of the December Photo Project 2012.  I haven’t left the house all day, using the excuse that the storm is brewing and unleashing outside.  Matt is gone at Mt. Hermon with our high school students for a weekend retreat, so it has just been the boys and myself.  Lots of LEGOs, movie watching {inaugurated Alex to the world of the Sound of Music}, some cookie baking & ….  a whole lot of “nothing much”.

I am not a person who subscribes to the mantras, “slow down” or do “a whole lot of nothing much.”  At this stage in my life, however, I’m beginning to understand that making my lists or not, committing to these places/people & things or not—doesn’t often matter.  Life happens.  Kids’ unexpected needs rear.  Weather changes.  People double-book.    I can set the pace.  Often, though, the pace was made to be broken.

My dear friend Kate gave me this sweet snail ornament last year.  It was a purposeful reminder to slow down and be intentional.  I kept it in the medicine cabinet in our bathroom for the last year.  Some of you may have snooped in there during 2012 and come across it!  Ha ha.  I saw it everyday, though, and it was a visual reminder to take things slow.  I decided to free Mr. Snail from the medicine cabinet to the tree today and put him out for all to see.  Alex, master of the Christmas tree, detail by detail, spotted it immediately this morning {even before the LEGO Star Wars Advent calendar that was waiting, unwrapped, under the tree}.  He LOVED its color and “cuteness”.

It is my Advent reminder, though.  Much more than a cute and colorful snail.  It serves as a visual to say…slow down.  Take things in.  Get rid of the “plan”.  Wait and watch.

I love Gertrud Mueller Nelson’s book To Dance with God:  Family Ritual and Community Celebration.  There are so many nuggets of truth in this one volume.  Keep that snail in your mind as you read her thoughts on Advent that I’ll leave you with:

Waiting, because it will always be with us, can be made a work of art,

and the season of Advent invites us to underscore and understand with a new patience

that very feminine state of being, waiting.

Our masculine world wants to blast away waiting from our lives.

Instant gratification has become our constitutional right, and delay an aberration.

We equal waiting with wasting.

So we build Concorde airplanes, drink instant coffee, roll out green plastic and call it turf,

wand reach for the phone before we reach for the pen.

The more life asks us to wait, the more we anxiously hurry.

The tempo of haste in which we live has less to do with being on time or the efficiency of a busy life –

it has more to do with our being unable to wait.

But waiting is unpractical time,

good for nothing but mysteriously necessary to all that is becoming.

As in a pregnancy, nothing of value comes into being without a period of quiet incubation:

not a healthy baby, not a loving relationship, not a reconciliation, a new understanding,

work of art, never a transformation.

Rather, a shortened period of incubation brings forth what is not whole or strong or even alive.

Brewing, baking, simmering, fermenting, ripening, germinating, gestating

are the feminine processes of becoming

and they are the symbolic states of being which belong in a life of value,

necessary to transformation.

~Gertrud Mueller Nelson, To Dance with God: Family Ritual and Community Celebration (New York: Paulist Press 1986) pp. 61

December Photo Project 2012

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