The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.
—from Studies in Nature and Literature by John Burroughs
* * *
The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.
—St. Gianna Beretta Molla
Today is my birthday, and the first day of my last year being ‘in my thirties.’ This is also my first, and hopefully last, birthday under lockdown (hence the photo of me, above, looking out on the world from inside—we’ll certainly all remember this for a very long time).
I think I’ve said this before, but my birthday always feels a bit like New Year’s day to me. One of our family traditions on the actual first day of the New Year is to make a collage that visualizes, in some way, how we’d like our lives to look over the coming months. I have this year’s collage pasted to the door of my closet-office and I see it every day now that I’m working from home and spending a lot more time at my little desk. Along with pictures of forests, gardens, and laundry hanging on the line, my collage also includes some phrases like “time alone” and “a handmade life.” How prescient! It seems that my hopes and dreams have manifested, but not quite in the way I imagined.
So, here I am staring down the final year of my fourth decade of life—what do I hope to accomplish? In truth, circumstances define my options. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time and energy following the lure of the distant. Now I am cut off from that type of striving—but there is such freedom and goodness in standing still.
I never knew this was the center of the world! I think I will stay here and watch the trees leaf out.