Friday, August 22, 2008

Transformation, The Long Way Round

Reading the marvelous book by Sue Monk Kidd*, "When the Heart Waits", I find so many words that resonate with me, it is difficult to select a specific, only one today for contemplation. However, just returning from a very hard workout at the YMCA, my fingers have walked me back to this section of the book.....

Ms. Kidd relates a marvelous story from her childhood regarding the catching of tadpoles. If you happen to have the book, for a reminder it's on page 18-19; her telling of the tale leads to her back to this thought - "Transformations come only as we go the long way round, only as we're willing to walk a different, longer, more arduous, more inward, more prayerful route."

How true that reflection is in my life on so many levels. The YMCA workout - why do I go there regularly? Why do I sweat like a piggie, strain like an ox (pretty huh?) and on Yoga days, attempt to bend into pretzel poses? It has something to do with where my body wants to go , or stay, and what my inquisitive mind, placed in Drs. Roizen and Oz books, has discovered about getting there. As we age and slow our daily routines, our flexibility as well as our strength begins to wane. Yes, hopefully it is inevitable that we age - I don't argue with that and really don't mind it (not much!!!) but I do want to be in the best shape I can be for living life to its fullest - so going to the YMCA regularly for classes, varied in style and purpose, is my effort to take the long way around to living a longer and more comfortable life.

I've started to use my paints and brushes again and am loving the activity. It challenges my mind, my hand to eye stuff, small muscle/big muscle dexterity. But, whoops, I'm remembering, results don't just appear. They have to be contemplated, studied, canvas or surface must be prepared. In collage, many pieces must be gathered and mapped, AND for me, there has to be some photography, research, and sketching done prior to laying down a finished piece. Again, the long way around I've found brings me more satisfying results.

Finally, no place is clearer or more satisfying than the long way round with God. Why not just a quick "hi" and "let's get on with it" day? And sometimes that is what happens - not on God's side but on mine. Fortunately, at least I believe that God is careful and patient and although heavenly knowledge, far exceeding my earthly attempts at braininess (is that a word?) knows I need more than that quick "hi" - some days I think that will do. Having now communed with God for most of my life, sometimes more faithfully than other times, I realize without a doubt that there's nothing but the long way 'round for me to feel the presence, to know the comfort, to honestly confess and beg for forgiveness. I'm grateful that God has given me the life I've had so far. Some lessons have definitely been learned by going the long way 'round. Those lessons are the ones that I believe lead me to transformation of body, mind and spirit.

So how 'bout you? Long way 'round - does it or has it ever taught you lessons to be remembered?

Photo - SS - in prep for next collage
*Sue Monk Kidd book on loan from Lucy


  1. I'm so glad to hear that you're painting again! The pieces you've done in past years still bring us much pleasure, and although I can understand why you did, I was still sad that you left it for a while. I'm glad to know the time is again right for you to revisit such a creative outlet. You seem to get from it satisfaction similar to what I find in quilting and cello playing. For me, this is a kind of compensation for growing older, because I now have the time and resources to explore and enjoy them (i.e., take the long way 'round) in ways I couldn't before. I hope you continue to spend many enjoyable hours with your brushes and canvas, and maybe make new discoveries along the way!

  2. Hi MS, thank you for your positive and encouraging words. They are nice to read on this beautiful Saturday a.m.

  3. oh my, i believe i could write a full post (or 10) in response to all that is in your writings here. glad you are loving the SMK book! i clearly remember the tadpole story.

    this concept of "the long weigh 'round" reminds me of a recent post of christine's where i latched onto the words "the weight of living". somehow, i feel the two are connected. without the "weight" (the work, the long way), we might just float grounding...yikes...the baby (post) wants to push its way out here. stay tuned :-)

    and i cannot even begin to mention the "long ways" i have taken in my life (& some that have 'taken' me) including the past couple of days drive home from CA. again, stay tuned :-)

    wonderful post here!! very thought provoking and i love the photo prep for your new work. (btw--we are really enjoying the loan of "yellow pieces).