I began this “Cultivating Glory” column assuming I would lay out for you (and myself) those seasonal practices that help me prepare the ground of my own life for the glory of God. I would describe the small habits and daily tasks that shape my ordinary days into fertile soil for something more extraordinary.
Mine would be a posture of observation and reflection leading to mastery.
Though the phrase “seize the day” has always seemed a little too energetic for me (I’d rather curl up with a good book!), I suppose in my own way I did want to, at least, “seize” the various seasons of an ordinary life and reclaim the importance of even small habits.
But this week, I was reminded how important it can be to let the day seize me.
The shift from one season to another is never seamless, and the move from winter to summer has always felt particularly bumpy.
Last March, we were visited by five blizzards. This March, so far, has brought two days of astonishing warmth and sunshine. I wore a t-shirt while I cleaned old leaves from the flower beds.
Of course, “clean flowerbeds” was not on my to-do list for that day. But the first truly warm day after winter seizes you, doesn’t it? I worked at my desk for only a few morning hours before the rising temperature grabbed me and pulled me outside.
But this isn’t a story about casting off our cares, dropping our responsibilities, and running off into the spring sunshine. Or, not exactly.
Rather, it has me thinking this morning about the ways I shape my days and the ways I let my days shape me.
Are our days things to be mastered? Or gifts to receive?
I suppose it is a little of both, and wisdom will guide us in one direction or the other on any given day.
As winter roller-coasters into spring and as I continue to tap away at this column every Tuesday and Saturday, I hope to hold fast to these questions:Does my life welcome interruptions and detours? Or, is my life so well-managed that interruptions knock the whole thing off balance?
Once again, my garden gives me not the answers, exactly, but at least the way forward. Each season in the garden I have certain tasks to accomplish, but I hold them all as loosely as I can knowing that the day’s weather will determine whether I plant seedlings or clean flowerpots in the shed. The summer’s rainfall will determine whether I harvest a bounty crop of pumpkins or watch them rot on the vine.
To cultivate a life is no different. There is working and there is waiting. There is producing and there is playing. There is waking to seize the day. And there is waking to find yourself seized by something bigger, something better, something unexpected and so very good.
In the garden and in life, there is grace.
Readers, my new book Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace is now out in the world!
Look for it wherever you like to buy books.
It’s a call to tend the soul, the land, and the places we share with one another. It’s a reminder that the cultivation of good and beautiful places is not a retreat from the real world but a holy pursuit of a world that is more real than we know.