With what deep thirst we quicken our desires to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything? Must you have a part in everything? ~William Carlos Williams from “Smell”
I realize I am not so different than my dogs rolling happily in the stinkiest thing they can find – I want to taste and know and be part of everything whether it is good or not:
I tend to douse myself with whatever I wish to carry with me through the rest of my days, even if smelling like something just died repels others.
Maybe, like my dogs, it is to conceal who I really am.
Maybe, like my dogs, I would rather fit in with the barnyard than a palace.
Or maybe, just like my dogs, I simply like getting down and dirty and too proud of it.
Human nature being what it is — the desire to blend in with the world’s sordid and sin-ridden surroundings — this is why I, like my dogs, am in constant need of a good bathing.
It would be best to smell like that rank odor of too-swiftly passing springtimes – we all need a renewal and reminder of our rebirth rather than immersion in the stench of death.
May I, like my dogs,
recognize I must be cleansed –
again and again and again.
You can change the world with a hot bath, if you sink into it from a place of knowing you are worth profound care, even when you are dirty and rattled. Who knew? ~Anne Lamott from Small Victories
As a farmer, I spend at least a part of every day muddy and up to my elbows in muck. I call my barn life “the real stuff” when the rest of my day is spent dealing with “virtual stuff ” which leaves me dirty and rattled nonetheless. I prefer the real over virtual muck although it smells worse, leaves my fingernails hopelessly grimy and is obvious to everyone where I’ve been.
The stains of the rest of my day are largely invisible to all but me and far harder to scrub away.
It is so much easier to deal with the barnyard over bureaucracy; what soils us can be washed off and we’re restored for another day of wallowing in our muck boots. On the farm is the grace of drawing up clean warm water, soaping with the suds that truly cleanse, a sinking down into a deep tub of renewal.
God knows well what a washing we need.
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We do not want merely to see beauty…
we want something else which can hardly be put into words-
to be united with the beauty we see,
to pass into it,
to receive it into ourselves,
to bathe in it,
to become part of it. ~C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory
Each day brings headlines that tear at us, pull us down and rub us into the mud. We are grimy by association, sullied and smeared.
Yet in our state of disgrace, Beauty is offered up to us.
In His last act with those He loved, Jesus shared Himself through a communal meal,
then washed and toweled their dirty feet clean, immersing them, despite their protests, in all that is beautiful and clean.
He took on and wore their grime.
It is now our turn to wash away the dirt from whoever is in need. He showed us how.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52
It will be a joyous day of which we only dream in our current slumber. We will be changed, awakened from our stillness and sleep– not by a mere disguising cover of snow, but forever cleansed and purified.
Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow. For all is hushed, The world is sleeping, Holy Star its vigil keeping. Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, ‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth. The night is peaceful all around you, Close your eyes, Let sleep surround you. Sleep, sleep, sleep, ‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.
Dream, dream, dream, Of the joyous day to come. While guardian angels without number, Watch you as you sweetly slumber. Dream, dream, dream, Of the joyous day to come. ~Austrian carol
… And still the syllables of water whisper: The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait In the dark room; and in your heart I find One silver raindrop,—on a hawthorn leaf,— Orion in a cobweb, and the World. ~Conrad Aiken from “Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise the Rain”
I lay silent under the comforter listening, listening to the constancy of rain. No let up, no diminishing, just all night long whispering in the dark — water falling from on high.
John Updike says: “Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”
So I feel blessed by communion with this rainy grace, lots and lots and lots of descending grace, a zillion silver drops falling together to bathe my parched and thirsty world, keep it cleansed and refreshed.