Things We Learned in March

Thank you for meeting me here as March buds into April. If you're an old friend, you know it is a time to look back and see what we've discovered. If you are new to White Pitchers, welcome in, this is a good place to begin.

At the end of each month I take pause to look back at things I've learned. I like to think, by sharing my lessons, we can learn together. Maybe you can glance over your shoulder and see a few things you learned to take with you into the following month. I always write with you in mind, but this particular post is nestled within a wider community of other writers gathered by emily p. freeman.

I find March is full of transitions, winter into spring, Lent into Easter, our short, dark days into longer, lighter days and our garden of dirt into blooms. And for me, March is the month I first became a mama to a little red-headed boy. He was the beginning of so many good and small things, little seedlings.

Here are just two things I discovered this March. One came to me slowly over time. It was soul keeping and would not be hurried. The other came like a gust of wind on a still day; practical, refreshing and remembering. Both were welcome. Now I bring them to you.

Notice the small seed and bring it water. It will shoot for the sunshine.

In these brief glances back each month, I am finding light. These posts can be random little bits of fun and discovery, but sometimes there's a bigger pattern at play. Sometimes when I look back, I am catching only a seed of an idea. But if I pay attention, give it a little time and water, it seems to grow into something bigger, a bud, a sprout, a bloom even like those elementary school projects where you planted a bean in a styrofoam cup in dark dirt, watered it a bit and and watched it break through to the light.

When a seed is planted in my heart, it might originate in a relationship, a movie scene, a radio program, a conversation, an insight from Scripture or a single word. For a while, it appears as though nothing is happening, not on the outside anyway. But with little water and patience, something begins. There comes a crack in the seam of the seed. When that shell has broken open in my heart, a process of pushing thorough the dirt begins. That little seed shoots for the sunshine. If I stick with it until I can name the idea, that seedling can flower into its own bloom.

But first there is waiting in the dark. I discover magic in my soul when I put my fingerprints to these keys and wait. I'm not talking about hocus-pocus, but wonder and insight. I am listening. I am seeing with my heart. I am tuning in to a wavelength that may not be visible, but which I am trying to make so. I cannot say how it is for you on the other side of these keys, but only what I hope and pray and write towards.

That happened last month with a little lesson on the origins of Braille. That got me thinking about letters and languages and love. At the time I was reading The Alphabet of Grace by Frederick Buechner. (I love how he connects everyday life to his faith in God.) That seed of February Findings blossomed to become my post called The Alphabet of Grace.

I am not saying that things in life always add up (sometimes it is better when they don't). I'm also not saying they always lead where you had hoped to go, but they are not random. My friend Emma told me recently that when you follow the Holy Spirit, you jump into a river that leads where the Spirit wants to go. It is a risky leap into moving waters, but not without Holy purpose or design. Taking that risk may help us see with Frederick Buechner,

A miracle is where one plus one
equals a thousand.

I am here to say to both of us, take a small step, say a small prayer, believe just a tiny, scrap of a bit, try a feather's breath of trust and see what God can do with it. This practice of pausing to look back for lessons might be counter-intuitive for us. We want to look forward, right? We want things to add up quickly and mathematically. We're in a hurry to get going and we want to see where we are headed before we go. Or is that just me?

But what if we weren't in a hurry? What if we took the time to notice small things, seedlings? What if we were patient enough to let things grow expotentially into fullness? What if that is God's way?

Maybe we would notice the small seed to plant. Maybe we would find a sliver of hope to begin. Maybe we would grow to trust the river. Maybe we would get where we really want to go or grow where we really need to grow. Or maybe we would go where God wants us to go and grow were God wants us to grow. Just maybe.

Kayak and I think alike.

I came across my first passport photo the other day and it took me back to my very first flight on an airplane.

I am about to date myself, but here goes.

I am from the days when plenty of people had never flown on an airplane and flying meant dressing up. I may have told you that I lived abroad as a young girl, first in Holland and later in Iran. (If not, I'll tell about it sometime.) I was thinking back to when my family first starting flying. My Mama had my younger brother and sister on her first passport photo. They were sitting on her lap! I don't think they do that any more. I was maybe eight, a second grader, so I got my own passport. Here is my first passport photo.

I don't actually remember much of that first flight and not what I wore on that very first flight, probably a dress, but years later I remember a pair of chunky heeled loafers and a denim pantsuit. I'm pretty sure, it had polyester of many blends. It was the seventies and I was thirteen. I might as well really land this plane and admit we likely traveled on Pan Am or TWA.

Fast forward just a few years. Mike and I are making airline reservations for the whole Conlin Crew. It's multi-city visit to see both of our families. It's complicated. We have cobbled together 10 schedules of work and school and two babies. And it is expensive. We search, we pause, we change dates, we search again. We hate the times (red eye) or the layovers (ridiculous) or the price (yikes) or all three. We take a big break.

I start wondering about a crazy scheme of one- way tickets so we can select the times for each leg and the nearest airport. It's a long shot. I visit three airline websites for single destination flights. It's crazy to the girl who grew up flying to even consider anything but round trip fares. But lo and behold.

We like the flight times. We find nonstop flights. The price comes down below the stratosphere. BAM. Basically what I have found is a hacker fare. Me. Not the computer nerds in the family. The mom/wife of said nerds.

My plan not only passes the nerd review, but we discover Kayak will find these one-way tickets cobbled together for you. Who knew? You probably did, but I just discovered it. If not, then there you go, from me to you.

Watch out! I'm thinking about wearing flip flops on the plane . . . and some stretchy denim.