A Mediation on Birches
By Shirley K Weyrauch
I did not see the birch trees when I first arrived at the Martin de Porres Center.
I was too busy navigating unfamiliar territory – my GPS says it’s right here, but I don’t see the entrance. Where should I park? Which building is where we are meeting? I had come to a gathering for Shalem grads and friends in Columbus, Ohio, feeling the need to reconnect with my Shalem peers and rekindle my passion for contemplative practice.
When we took a brief, mid-morning break, I walked outside to bask in a few moments of long anticipated spring sunshine, and there they were. A grove of birch trees, some with roots exposed, all with bark peeling, buds hinting at leaves beginning to unfurl. It was lovely.
In the afternoon, I attended a workshop on finger labyrinths, and part of the resource material told of “releasing” as you enter the labyrinth. “Let there be a shedding, a letting go of the details of your life, let go of control or expectations, allow your mind to become quiet,” it said.
A self-directed prayer station was listed as “Decluttering,” although the handout heading was “Making Room for God.” I was invited to examine my life and notice the clutter that gets in the way of my being with God and to let it go.
Are you sensing a pattern here? I did. Shedding, releasing, decluttering…letting go of my details, noticing God’s details, making room for more of what I truly need. The Spirit and the birches showed me what I needed that day.
Is there something you’re being called to shed to make room for something new? What newness might fill that space?
Walking by a stand of birches
bark tattered, torn,
waving loosely in the warm, spring breeze
layer upon layer
shedding the old
exposing what is beneath –
smooth, new bark
unmarked and unmarred by
and daily life.
They ask of me,
What are you to shed
for something new