Gentleness Lately: Ancient Pathways

Is it possible that we live in a world where spider silks lit by the setting sun or a hillside flecked with frost flowers can be seen as something more than random?
— Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper

My mind wanders.

It has a lot of time to,

when you’re just on the couch feeding your baby bottles,

in the middle of the den,

in the middle of day.

I read a poem from a children’s book about nature’s den.

At the end of the poem it gives a list of things to do in a den.

Number 1. sit and think

sit and think

while the baby drinks

the bottle.

And three times in the last few weeks during this passing of time,

I’m not kidding,

my eyes strain to see something strange.

I’m caught off guard

by a spiderling floating mid air

about to land in my hair.

I look up, maybe it came from the vent? or the fan?

It just seems so random being in the center of the room?

And attempting to swipe anything away, while holding a baby and a bottle

is a bad idea

especially if it just makes the spider fall on you both and your hands are full of things which must not be dropped.

The bug man came this week to spray and said “expect more activity the next few days”.

Sure enough, he was right.

On our last camping trip, in mid August, we hike a trail which needed some clearing. The brush and overgrowth of summer apparent.

No peaceful sound of a stream; just stagnant, thick mud and swarming mosquitos.

Like I mentioned in a recent post, Gentleness Lately; the Hollows, Jeff swung a stick in front of him to clear out the constant spider webs in our way.

Clearly no one had been on the trail that day or several past days.

Coffee table and side tables have been removed from our den.

It’s driving me a bit crazy, but it’s for safety reasons. Ivan is pulling up on whatever he can find, and things that might topple over on him or have sharp edges went to the garage for a season.

So, I scoot over Oliver’s old play-wooden-work-bench that Ivan’s now showing interest in and I use it as a coffee table. When Ivan’s not near to snatch the cup and spill the coffee.

I look for the Daily Lectio email in my inbox telling me what the day’s scripture reading will be.

It’s the end of August. Thursday, August 22nd.

On Wednesday I read in Isaiah 27 about the keeper of the vineyard and in Luke 19 about Jesus cleansing the Temple

The theme of tending to and cleaning up had been stirring in my heart. We had just finished cleaning out our garage; in order to fit the new camper in it. And the cobweb clearing Jeff did on our hike also made me think of this theme.

So on Thursday, the next day, when I open the Bible to Jeremiah 6 for the daily reading; I come across a passage that stands out to me. I highlight and write it down in my journal.

Thus says the Lord:
Stand by the roads,
and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
— Jeremiah 6:16

I get this visual image of clearing out an old trail or cluttered space. Being drawn to the ancient paths or places.

Maybe this is because we moved back into my childhood neighborhood. The bus stop is even at my old house, where the letter J for my brother Jon can still be found on the cement that held the basketball goal. The kids run around on the extra big driveway my Dad had poured for more room to play basketball and park our cars too.

We’ve also returned to the church I grew up in and Oliver is going to the same Elementary school Jeff and I went to.

At Youth Group On Wednesday night, where I recently started to volunteer, the lead pastor came up to the youth room to give a sermon. Beforehand he did some church history trivia with the students. I felt very old! And it had me thinking about the past again. And Jeremiah 6:16 about the ancient paths.

So after all this; I start a new book. Recapturing the Wonder, Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World. Didn’t know much of what it’s about, but the title and some quotes I heard about it sparked my interest when it was referenced in a course I took created by Emily P. Freeman; Discern + Decide.

Then in chapter 1 of the book I come across Jeremiah 6:16. Thinking to myself; “wait, I just wrote that down in my journal recently.”

Jeremiah calls us to consider an ancient path.
— Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper
Jeremiah’s invitation- and Jesus’ own- is to hope that the world is a place of meaning and love. Walking the ancient path, where the good way is, opens our eyes to see-and reside in-a different world.
— Recapturing the Wonder by Mike Cosper

And then it dawns on me that all the chapters ahead are numbered as different “Pathways”; and the whole book kind of takes off from the verse where I’ve felt a nudge, a whisper, a connection maybe, or a magnetic pull to.

It stops me in my wandering tracks and my meandering mind when in chapter 1 of Recapturing Wonder the author tells a tale of spiders. I’ve just finished up a blog post kind of about spiders!? And they keep reappearing in mid air in front of me at random times; like feeding Ivan a bottle. So here I am; eyes and ears open to life and lessons unfolding before me.

And I don’t quite have a lesson to wrap up all my blog posts with. I simply share and sort these thoughts through before you? My way of offering a bench for you to sit on, a story for you to listen to, a reprieve to be found from the heat of the day or the weariness you feel, and some beauty to encounter in the form of creative expression?

I’m noticing and reading about ancient paths; while clearing things out a bit, and stopping to look around.

to look for signs of life and love and hope and wonder.