Chihuly Gardens - Seattle, WA
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people
when they feel seen, heard, and valued;
when they can give and receive without judgment;
and when they derive sustenance and strength
from the relationship.”
I'm been pondering connections of late; all kinds of connections including human connections, spiritual connections, glass connections, biological connections like plants and stars and how they all interact. My favorite banner ever hangs over the alter in the Cathedral of Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, NM which reads "Love each other constantly." It has been my personal mantra since Kevin and I saw it almost 20 years ago now. It is so simple; Love. Just love. Love each other...Love each other no matter what. Love each other no matter where. Just love each other. Always. Love each other...Love each other Constantly. Not just today. Not just tomorrow. Not if you want to. Not because you have to. Just do it. Constantly. Always. We are Connected. Together. Forever. Always. Love each other constantly. It's pretty clear and fairly simple. To me, this commandment is what Christ's entire life embodied with his connections to His disciples, to His people and for all of us. Just to love each other constantly and always. Forever.
I have been researching what I call "Gumption" Why do some have so much Resilience. What is it that makes some people stronger than others. They run faster, swim further, move faster, grow greater, and adapt quicker than others. I have read several great books to understand this better. On of my favorites has been Brene Brown's Rising Strong and Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth which focuses on the West Point cadets that survive their basic training and those that don't. I want to understand Why. Why some do and why some don't. I see it in my members at Modern Widows Club. They are resilient. They are Leaning INTO Life again. They are beginning again to become all they were born to be after enduring the greatest grief of all; lose of a loved one; their spouse; their soulmate and their life as they had always imagined it - vanished in a second. And yet, the stand up and start again...
I think it has to do with Decision. It has to do with Choice. It becomes your Grit, your Gumption. You have to Make the Choice to Take a Chance and Make a Change.
And to me, that all circles around connections. Connections to your God. Connections to each other. Connections to life - human and planet life; all kinds of life. Who are your connections? How do you relate to them? Who's your go to? Your "person"? Now?! We had someone but we lost them. They will be in our hearts forever, but can't be in our daily life now. So what's next? How do we make that first move? Take that first step? You have to make a decision. You have to make a choice to take a chance to make a change. You have to make a connection.
As many of you know, my garden is often my sanctuary. I call it "Church of the Great Outdoors"! I love to be outside. It makes me happy - I love to walk, to hike, to bike and to piddle in the dirt. My mother taught me long ago the healing art of planting. I love seeing all the amazing flowers. Many of you that follow my FaceBook pages see my love of plant life in all my photos of flowers - I just got back from Oregon and I feel as though I have really studied hydrangeas. I love the multicolored flowers and how they petals overlap and touch: they are connected.
I was so grateful to be able to attend the Modern Widows Chapter Leadership Retreat in Seattle, WA in June. I serve as Chapter Leader for Houston. I traveled with my Co-Leader, Nyla and we were both amazed and intrigued by the power and "gumption" of these other leaders; the chapter leaders and board members and all the speakers were just amazing. We connected. They inspired us. They encouraged us. They gave us knowledge and ideas and courage. We gained laughter and love and hope and vulnerability. We took the chance and made a choice to change and to grow from the connections we made with each other. It was life changing.
While we were there, Nyla and I had the chance to visit the Chiluly Gardens in Seattle. If you are not familiar, Chiluly is an amazing artist that works with glass. His "connections" with glass is what helped me link all my rambling thoughts and research into one place. As all the varied pieces of glass touched each other they came together as a powerful, joyful connection of light and colors too extraordinary to imagine. So pleasing to the eye, good for the heart and encouraging to the soul. His art gave me hope. It spoke to me... no it sang to me. It sang to me out loud... We are all one. We are connected. We are never alone. And we were born in the image of Christ to Love Each Other Constantly.