Connected Islands

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Memorial Day weekend brings all the weekend visitors and summer residents back to the mountains. It’s always good to see everyone again, although it can be an adjustment for those of us who live here all year round! The sound of a basketball hitting the pavement, children playing and an increase in dog activity are all the things that tell me that summer is here.

Our Lady of Ivy Lane (pictured above) guards the entrance to our little neighborhood of 4 houses. She gets a new coat of lipstick every year or two and last year I had to replace one of her eyebrows! A friend calls her “the kissing tree”; but honestly, her expression does not inspire me to kiss her.  In the winter when the snow catches on her upper lip, she looks like one of the “Got Milk” commercials!

All the neighbors gathered on Saturday evening for a couple of hours.  Most of us are here all year, but in the busyness of life we get so little time to “just visit”. Waving hello and sharing the immediate concerns of life happen as we pass each other on our short lane, but the deeper desires and interests of our lives take time to tell. Two hours is hardly enough space for revealing all the ways we are connected by our common love for this part of God’s kingdom, but little by little we gain insights.  Leaving the gathering on Saturday night I realized that a hunger for “connection” is alive in each of us.  My “inner hermit” felt reluctant to admit that need; but I know that without a connection to others and to creation I cannot connect to God’s Spirit in me. Nor can I fully know how to be a creative person. Balancing the need for silence and alone time with that inner need for connection to others seems, at times, like a fierce battle. Living in this tension may be the place where I find the energy to both connect and create.

Each day I try to remember to read from Frederick Buechner’s excellent daily meditations, Listening to Your Life. Today Buechner quoted John Donne: “No man is an island.”  “Or to use another metaphor,” Buechner writes, “humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling.” I would wager that each day we encounter that trembling spider web. It may fill us with such awe that we take a step back, unable to engage. But then come those days when we need to see the connections between our lives and others and allow that vision to scare us a little, and at the same time energize us to live fully connected lives.


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