Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wake up. Put on your strength.

Month 3 of the Simply Living Challenge: Simplifying the soul. 

Our priest (and my good friend) played the most beautiful reflective music at the beginning of our Lenten study last week. The music is a cross between Celtic and perhaps Middle Eastern. It was recorded in Scotland - my place of birth.

Each track starts with a spoken prayer, followed by a song consisting of only a few words which are repeated over and over again for 7 minutes. You would think that after 7 minutes you would be glad the chanting had finished, but the opposite is the case. It leaves you thirsting for more. I was given the CD to take home for a few days. It is stirring something up inside me. It is reminding me of who I am, how God has wired me, as the ethereal voices and beautiful music weave their hypnotic effect on me.

These are the simple words of the one I am listening to now as I type:
You shall be
 like a garden
 like a deep spring
where waters never fail....

Earlier as I sorted the washing these words spoke to me -
Wake up, wake up.
Put on your strength.

The music tugged at me. What was it? I took a kitchen chair, pulled the dog's bedding out from under the piano (I haven't touched it in years),brushed off dust and fur, and I played what little I know - mostly all made up. As my fingers flew up and down the keys I cried. I remembered. I remembered being a child who played to calm her soul. To ease migraines. To bring her a deep peace. I remembered where the keys were and I remembered how my soul leaps when I play music. Then I wept - grieved - because I had buried that part of myself. Surely I am not fully alive. Saint Irenaeus said - 'The glory of God is man fully alive'.

I gave the confused dog back his bed. I dried my face with the nearest thing I had - my skirt. And then I did another thing that I don't do enough. I turned the CD back on and I danced to the music.I was a young dancer again who loves to choreograph, who is good at it. I twirled, I stretched, I became myself again as I reached out to life and to my creator, to my strength - and I put that strength on. I 'danced as though no one was watching' - because no human was.

Today I created music.
Today I danced.
Today my soul feels watered, quenched
and all the better for it.

What do you need to wake up?


  1. I painted as a child...long before I was making jewelry as a young teen I was painting. I stopped sometime after I got married as a teenager. A few years ago I was in a relationship with a very talented painter who stretched his own canvas and mixed his own pigments in oil. One day he bought me a set of watercolors in tubes and brushes and paper. He told me to paint whatever I saw...I suspected he did this to keep me out of his hair when he was working making his rabbit glue for his linen canvas. I painted the flowers he had bought me earlier in the week as they fell from their stems. He was astonished and ask why I adn't told him I was a painter...I said I wasn't really. I never thought I was very good and yet I knew I had a talent for jewelry. he disagreed about my lack of painting talent and set about making sure I had time and space to paint at his tiny studio. I felt as if someone had opened a door and that God himself was in that tiny cottage with us. I still feel his presence as I bond with whatever my subject is when I paint. We forget to be whole sometimes.

  2. We forget to be whole sometimes - such moving words. So true.

  3. You write beautifully Asta, you really paint a picture. Shelley

  4. Great to hear that you are playing the piano again. Many years ago Sister Angela from the Community of St Clare encouraged us to see our artistic expression as part of our prayer. There may even be times, she said, when the music or the painting becomes our prayer.

    1. Yes Ted, I have come to realise that over the years. What I once thought as frivolous could really be holy work. I think that's wonderful.

  5. That's beautiful, Asta! So glad you had your piano and dancing moments. You sound refreshed. xx