During our next series, Going to My Inner Chapel, members from my launch team will share how they have used wisdom gained from reading my newest book, “The Inner Chapel”, in their daily lives. This week Sarah Kotlinski shares with us how she notices and spends time with God in nature.
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
The rubber soles of my sneakers beat out a cadence on the pavement as I trudge along my daily walk. Head north, cross the bridge, right on Old Mill, behind the airport, return. It’s all familiar: the leap and burble of the creek, the indignant bleating of the neighbor’s sheep, the heavy herbal scent of early summer meadows. Here the redwing blackbird scolds. There the oxeye daisies wave. Everywhere the poison ivy crouches and I keep the childhood mantra ‘leaves of three, let them be’ called to mind.
As my muscles loosen and my mind relaxes, I settle into a comfortable rhythm of conversation with God. This is how my day went. Thank You for Your help with that difficult conversation. What do You think I should focus on tomorrow? Gosh You knew what You were doing when You made the spiderwort.
Suddenly, I see a small object at the side of the road. A cartoonish teal, I think it must be a piece of plastic from a child’s discarded toy. I feel a stab of annoyance. I hate litterers. I bend down to pick it up and realize it is a piece of a robin’s egg, brighter and more vibrant than I have ever seen. It glows in the late afternoon sun. I pull out my phone to snap a picture. Out of the blue:
“Even broken things are beautiful.”
Over the years, I have learned to recognize Jesus’ voice in our conversations. He doesn’t wait politely for me to finish talking. When He has something to say, He says it. My curiosity piqued, I ask Him about that egg. “Why, Jesus, did You choose to show this to me today?”
“You love beauty, but you miss so many ways I present it to you.”
“Like what, Jesus?”
As I walk, the conversation continues. We discuss broken things in my life and my tendency to dismiss them as ugly. I learn to look at situations from a new perspective. My heart expands.
One of the gifts of Becky’s Inner Chapel is the affirmation of our current ways of prayer. For years I have practiced this technique of conversing with God inspired by what I see on my walks. I call it Holy Noticing. When I got to Chapter Five of The Inner Chapel book where Becky introduces Lectio Divina, I felt a shock of recognition. I realized this is the same process I apply to my surroundings. Perhaps I should call it Apperceptio Divina!
God speaks to all of us where we are, amongst the minutiae of our daily lives. He will speak to you, too. If you would like to try this walking meditation yourself, here are some steps.
- Prepare. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your awareness. Each day as I lace up my sneakers and strap on my knee brace, I pray “Holy Spirit, please quiet my mind and open my heart to see what You have to show me in this walk. Make me a grateful and reflective observer.”
- Notice. Pay attention to your senses. What are you hearing, seeing, smelling? What draws you in? Maybe it is the interchange of light and shadow on the sidewalk. Maybe it is the shouts of children at play. Perhaps it is the smell of someone cooking dinner. Whatever it is, savor it. Ask yourself what God could be offering to you as you attune to what you notice.
- Reflect. What memories does this stir up? What is God saying to you here? Is it peaceful or unsettling? Why? Is God asking something of you by drawing your attention in this way?
- Respond. Talk to God about what you have experienced. Share with Him your emotions. Are you joyful? Angry? Frightened? Excited? Tell God about any ideas you have as you ponder what you have noticed. See if you hear God asking you to go deeper.
- Rest. Thank God for the time you have shared together. Try to close out your walk in gratitude.
- #mymesamoment: Where did you see God this week? Come share with me! Every Saturday there is a post on my Facebook page asking this question, I would love to hear where you find God.
- Read my article on The Prayer of Consideration. You can also find The Prayer of Consideration prayer card here.
- Looking for scriputre passages to pray with? Check out this handout: Scriptures for Support
- Visit my Spiritual Support for Right Now webpage with spiritual resources for racial justice and COVID-19.
My new book, The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God is now available! As a sincere “Thank You!” to all of you for your support, my publisher has extended a 30% off code for orders through August 13. Simply go here and use promo code 5207. You can also order from Barnes and Noble and from Amazon.
Online Busy Person’s Retreat Registration OPEN!! Wanting one-on-one prayer support during this time? Looking to dive deeper? Register for the Online Busy Person’s Retreat on June 22-25. You’ll be paired with an Ignatian-trained spiritual director to meet online for about an hour a day for four days and given material and suggestions to support your daily prayer time. Register today!
**Get Busy Lives & Restless Souls e-book for ONLY .99!**
Becky’s first book, Busy Lives & Restless Souls, is available on ALL major e-book platforms from June 14-18 for only 99 cents! Hop over to Amazon, Apple, Nook, or Kobo – wherever you get your e-books – and get it today! Also, please help us spread the word and get this great book on prayer into more hands! Visit our Facebook & Instagram to like & share posts about this awesome opportunity.
Gather with Stephanie Clouatre-Davis & me for Prayer Tool Tuesday – Each Tuesday at 4:30 pm Central via Zoom- to learn a new prayer tool and join us in prayer. Follow my Facebook page for details.