549. The man who is happy is fulfilling the purpose of existence. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If Heaven made him —
earth can find some use for him.
~Chinese Proverb

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I watched light split the darkness on this chilly November morn, and as the sun rose higher on the horizon, I saw it initially tickle the tops of trees. Then leaf by leaf by leaf it began to lower. In the topmost branches, the squirrels, benefactors of the sun’s first fruits, sat poised in readiness for the day. Below the birds, yet reluctant to lift off, and I were on stand by waiting for the light’s kiss to brush its warmth against us as well. While I sat before the unfolding drama, it occurred to me that such as this, these primal vignettes of earth’s awakening, had played out in the same prevailing silence and expectancy since the dawn of time. It’s as if the light, and only the light, adds the vibrancy and buoyancy of sound and tempo to the day–as if there is a purpose in dim, quiet beginnings, as if first there is a need to obey holy rhythms, a foremost call to offer thanksgiving, a wisdom in opening songs of praise. Verily what I witnessed was the pregnant pause between what was, what is, and what’s yet to be, and standing in those gaps waiting to be greeted was, as always, the Giver of light, of breath, of life. At last when the light touched the ground, birds gave voice to the day’s opus and the dance of life began again! Thus I knew it was time not only to rise but also to celebrate miracles and keep them from becoming ordinary, time to prevent the mundane from stealing joy and a sense of awe and wonder. For it is ordained that we, all of us, have been anointed, have been given skill sets, and somehow, in some way have a purpose to fulfill. And if we are to accomplish that, we must cherish the light, take it with us, open life’s doors, and live in amazement.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

287. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us… ~Vincent McNabb

Sit by the edge of the dawn / and the sun will rise for you.
Sit by the edge of the night / and the stars will shine for you.
Sit by the edge of the stream / and the nightingale will sing for you.
Sit by the edge of silence / and God will speak to you.
~from an ancient Hindu text


“The semi-colon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added…It is almost a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period.  The period tells you that that is that; if you didn’t get all the meaning you wanted or expected, you got all the writer intended to parcel our and now you have to move along.  But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.”  ~Lewis Thomas, American doctor and essayist

I think of nature’s seasons as junctures followed by divinely positioned, albeit invisible, semi-colons because they impart “a pleasant little feeling of expectancy.”  There are always more of them to be had, and it is that expectancy of “more” that keeps me hopeful not only in nature’s seasons but also in the seasons of my life when what I see tries to delude me into thinking things won’t ever change or this is the end.  In the passage above from the old Hindu text the use of “slashes” and “ands” could instead have been replaced with semi-colons because there is something more that comes after each of the suggested occasions to sit and wait.  In the same way, the fact that gardens keep an unfaltering “punctuation of continuance” right in front of me is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to spend time in them.  I need endless expectancy that breeds hopefulness.

And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.  ~Job 11:18   ✝

**Even the two mauve hellebores in the photo look a bit like a semi-colon if one uses his/her imagination.

230. He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter… ~John Burroughs

Nature looks dead in winter because
her life is gathered into her heart.
She withers the plant down to the root
that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.
She calls her family together
within her inmost home to prepare them
for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan


This time of year there’s a separateness in the garden which I rather like, but I’ve heard others say that they detest the bleak lifelessness of winter.  When asked why, they’ll tell me it’s because it fills them with a sense of loneliness or it speaks too strongly of death.  I, on the other hand, find a comforting orderliness in its realm because I can see the garden’s defining lines again after they’d been blurred or even obliterated in some cases by summer’s reckless, spreading abandon.   And when I’m out working in the winter garden as I was today, I don’t feel any sense of sadness; the feeling I get is more of a silent, but willing withdrawal–a retreat back to a trusted, reviving source.  It seems to me that the barren remains stand self-assuredly in an awareness of Creation’s ever-faithful, annual renewal and somehow understands winter’s lesson of waiting with expectancy and hope.

As long as earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.  ~ Genesis 8:22  ✝