This week’s blog is submitted by my daughter, Christine Costello. She sent this as an e-mail to her immediate family members. Upon reading it Joan (my wife) and I felt that what she is telling about is a good example of how God always knows and fulfills our needs and hopes and fulfills them at just the right time, the right place, and the right way. time. God’s time, God’s place, God’s way, that is. Which, as it turns out, is always the right time, the right place, and the right way for us, even when we don’t realize it. In this case the right time was when she was feeling overwhelmed by the necessary responsibilities of work and school. The right place was a familiar and safe place – home. The right way was through the beauty and serenity of nature.
Grace and peace, Ray
My boss came back to work today after a long weekend in CA visiting his son & family. He said it was a difficult trip. I assumed he meant that the travel was hectic. I was stunned when he said his 36 year-old son announced he has a rare form of leukemia. He has a wife and two little boys, 4 and 18 months.
For loved ones, news like that causes you to stop and re-evaluate everything in your life. Nothing will be the same, ever again.
For those outside of the situation, like me, there’s empathy, and there’s thankfulness that I am not sick, and there’s reflection: any of my “have-nots” or challenges in life are rendered insignificant when I stop to consider how lucky I am to be healthy, to have a loving, caring family, to be married to someone I truly consider my best friend and the love I can’t live without, and to have a cozy, safe place to live with my beloved pets and wildlife and nature all around me.
Things like this just remind me that I can’t get so caught up in deadlines and schedules and projects and the self-imposed feeling of obligation to please everyone that I miss out on special moments. I have a bunch of school work due tomorrow and next week. Once I get through this part of the semester, the workload will ease up. But so far this semester,this fall, which is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, I haven’t been out in nature once. Not a hike or a bike ride. Not one photo snapped. Not one country drive to explore a new, picturesque area. I was feeling anxious today about getting home after work and digging in right away. Then five deer met me at the garage. I went out to the maple tree in the back yard with the bucket of food, and five more deer came out from the tree line. I stood still and snapped pictures with my cell phone. I’d never been so close to them before. We just looked at each other until I slowly turned and left them to eat. They didn’t startle at all. Such a simple thing, and such a fleeting connection, but it filled me with joy!
Then I came inside and looked out the dining room window at the huge maple tree in the front yard. I hadn’t noticed its colors the last few days because it’s been gloomy, but now the setting sun was shining through the leaves and they were glowing red-orange like they were on fire. My camera called to me, and I couldn’t resist…I went out and took a bunch of pictures of my favorite tree, illustrating my favorite season. My anxiety melted away completely.
I walked around to the back to inspect the foliage there, and there were some birds eating from the squirrel lunch box. I heard a couple of nuthatches “beeping” at me, so I crept closer. I stood just a few feet away as they ran up and down the tree and picked corn from the box. I snapped some more pictures. I lingered until there wasn’t enough light left for good pictures, and it was starting to get chilly.
I came back inside, and I felt calm and revitalized even though I’d already had a long, busy day at work and knew I’d have hours of school work ahead of me. Taking about 30 minutes to commune with nature rejuvenated me and allowed me to approach a daunting task without my usual anxiety. Why is it that I don’t do this more often? Why do I let many months go by without taking a little bit of time to do something that I enjoy so much? Something that truly is therapy for me? You just never know when you’ll run out of time or when life might turn upside down like it just did for my boss’ son. I am making a promise to myself to try to change the way I think, to stop being so hard on myself, and to stop getting caught up in the whirlwind and make the time to appreciate the beauty all around me that I love so dearly. I think this will keep the anxiety from becoming a real problem in my life like it was years ago. I may not have total control over my physical health, but I realize that I do have a great deal of control over my mental health, and it is just as important.
I’m not sure why I felt the need to express all of this. I guess I just had an “A-HA” experience today and needed to share it with my dearest loved-ones. You are all such a very special part of me, and I hope to never take that for granted.
Love to all, Christine Costello
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty and Ray