This is what I read today in Generous Faith Stories to Inspire Abundant Living, a lovely book by Sr. Bridget Haase, OSU.
You remember Sr. Bridget. She’s the one I wrote about recently who is speaking at the Gather Us In 2013 women’s conference taking place on November 2. (see previous post).
She’s the one who has made it a habit to live life joyfully, fully, despite and because of what happens in her life.
Her book today offered a quick little chapter about a young girl from Dog Lick Hollow in the hills of Appalachia. Ida Jean was in Sister’s third grade classroom. Her mother said the Ida Jean “hain’t learned nothin’” but as Sister was to discover, Ida Jean had a wealth of information, taught to her by Mother Nature:
“She could call trees by name and she knew when a ‘growin’ shower’ was coming by the feel of the wind on her face. She anticipated with tango gut would bloom in the hills and would gather it before it was gone. Ida Jean could smell a copperhead before she glimpsed it and also could tend a fire. She knew to plant potatoes in the dark of the moon and to cut her hair in the last quarter.”
Having learned a great deal from Mother Nature myself, I knew that Ida Jean had experienced learning from a great teacher.
So who are my teachers and what “study guides” do I have?
- Louisa May Alcott.
- A long walk on a summer’s day.
- Intimate conversations with my sister.
- Listening to my brother on the phone.
- A quick dinner with my daughter.
- Prayers at different intervals throughout the day.
- A day spent at the Houghton Library at Harvard.
- Drifting downstream in the kayak with Rich.
- Aching feet.
- Gazing at an icon.
- Pondering the face of God.
Ida Jean grew in self-esteem teaching others the skill of reading clouds.
Her classmates understood the hidden wisdom.
Clouds present beautiful pictures in the sky, being whatever your imagination makes them out to be: puffy white cotton balls, streaks of gray smeared across the sky with an invisible piece of charcoal, deep yellow and orange clumps of sherbert reflecting a magnificent sunset. Clouds can be most entertaining while sitting in traffic. Clouds tell me when a storm is brewing, building tall towers of marshmallow into the sky. I know it’s time to turn on my wipers when I see the rain cloud touching the horizon, marching towards me
Joni Mitchell sang about clouds. She knew too they were teachers:
Just now while writing this post, my computer decided it was time to update itself. Bam, shutdown! I was not pleased. While I sat waiting for it to do its thing, I looked out the window and watched the leaves on the trees rustle in the wind. I imagined them as thousands of hands from the hosts of heaven, waving at me. I’m glad my computer shut down to give me the time to see that.
I have many teachers. I love being a student and I will be one for the rest of my life.
Who are your teachers? What are your “study guides”?
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