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Grace United Methodist Church, Pequot Lakes

This morning I sat in a comfortable, rose-colored, Queen Ann chair staring out as the day arrived. I am blessed to be at one of my favorite retreat centers for a three-day retreat.

One of the blessings of this experience is that I am clueless as to what is going to happen. I am not in leadership in any way and am simply here to receive and be present to whatever has been planned. Just writing those words brings about an "ahhhh" in my chest.

It is a rare and wonderful gift in the midst of Lent to be able to experience this kind of space and time. I am grateful.

Sitting as I did, looking out at the frozen lake now void of the colorful ice houses that dotted it earlier in the year, I watched as the light turned the snowy landscape from darkness to light. As it did, the color blue was opened up in all its various hues ... from navy to steel gray and on into pale blue and then white. It was like watching a color wheel turn.

This play of color and light framed perfectly the black silhouette of bare branches that adorn the lakeside, waiting for the spring that is yet to be.

At one particular turn of that color wheel, when the sky was that faint tone of Scandinavian blue, my eyes were drawn to the lace of the branches. What became clear in this light were the many buds that perched on all the skeletal extensions. New life! My heart warmed at the prospect in this still frozen landscape.

Those who know trees will tell you that the buds are there all the time even in the dead of winter. But we don’t see them or we forget to look. Within the flow of life in the tree, new life is always coursing, waiting to break forth at the perfect and appointed time. It is their nature. And ours.

My morning devotion from a book by Joan Chittister, ended with the prayer prompt: “Give me, Great God, a sense of the Breath of the Spirit within me as I ..."

It is my prayer work to fill in the blank. Just like the trees who appear stark and naked, dead even, that Breath of the Spirit still moves within me. And you. As we walk around in our dailiness, most people cannot see the buds of new life that we wear.

But they are there. Waiting for the perfect moment to be nurtured, fed, watered, honored. Waiting to bring forth something that has not been before.

May this day find me, find you, taking the time and space to have a sense of the Breath of the Spirit within so we can prepare the soil of our lives for what is new, what is waiting to burst forth. May this day find each of us looking with new eyes for all that is budding. In this winter landscape. In those we meet. In those places that seem hard and impossible. In those we love and those who are like a splinter in our finger. In the landscape that opens before us this day.

Give us, Great God, a sense of the Breath of the Spirit within us today as we ...

You fill in the blank.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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