Noticing

12/5/2017

By Christina Krost
I notice things. Maybe it’s my superpower. I can tell when my kids are lying by the slight twitch of an eyebrow. I can tell when my secret cookie stash has been disturbed by the barely
perceptible movement of the box on the shelf. I can anticipate the signs of a cold coming on before the first sneeze. I’m always watching for signs. But this hyper-vigilance can be exhausting. I’m never not “on”. I’m always braced for the next catastrophe, and quite honestly, I think it’s rewired my brain.
 
In an attempt to reset myself recently, I took a walk outside my house to take in some of the crisp winter air. I thought I’d get a mental jump start on some landscape rearranging I wanted to do this spring. And then I noticed the leaves piled up next to my house. Did you notice that the leaves didn’t change this year, they just dropped because of the unseasonable warmth? I got a strange feeling that things seemed out of whack; the seasons of life were in disorder.
 
I was raised Catholic, and throughout my life I have observed the world liturgically, paying close attention to the rhythms in Church and nature. Solomon, the author of the Ecclesiastes verses that declare, “To everything there is a season”, understood these rhythms. After a lifetime of observation, he wrote about what he knew about the Earth’s cyclical nature. And I believe he could see the creator’s hand in all of it.
 
Richard Rohr said, “We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.” So noticing is something that helps strengthen my faith. That’s why, as I see signs of the seasons changing, I feel the need to gather up those I love and ask, how are my relationships? Do they need tending? How do I really feel? What can I do to prioritize my mental and physical health? How is my spirit? What can I do to reconnect with my creator? What can I start planting now that will bloom later?
 
This noticing leads me to gratitude. I can scarcely number my blessings. I have many gifts to use to serve my family and friends, and there are many ways I can open myself to being blessed by those around me. I also notice the changes in the earth. As someone who has always lived in the midwest, fall and winter are much anticipated and bring many memories. So when I see the leaves change or smell the earth turned over from harvest or spy paw prints in the fresh snow, I am thankful.
 
What have you been noticing lately? How do the earth’s rhythms inform your own? How do the seasons of the church guide your faith life? How does a disturbance in the seasons affect you?

(Christina Krost is a clergy spouse, PCC Committee member, Outreach Support for Faith in Place, UMW's Just Be Green Jurisdiction Guide)