by Christine Sine
This morning I sat in my sacred corner looking out at a drab and chilly Seattle morning. My husband tells me that spring arrived while I was away in Australia, but my body is still tuned to the late Australian summer days I left behind. The delightful dawn chorus of kookaburras and lorikeets still reverberates in my mind.
Jet lag is a strange phenomenon that insists our bodies are out of synch with the world around us. According to Google, it is a temporary sleep problem caused by a mismatch between a person’s normal daily rhythms and a new time zone. For me it is far more than that as it doesn’t just impact my sleep but also my eating, my emotions and my ability to work. I cling to the memories of my trip and the warm, fuzzy feelings of laughter and delight with family and friends. I cling to the sounds of kookaburras and lorikeets, the flash of colour in the morning sun and the fragrance of eucalyptus trees all around. I cling more than anything to the love that binds me to my brothers, stronger now than ever. How precious to be a part of a family that loves and cares for each other even when we are a long way apart.
Unfortunately this trip also left me with an ache in my heart. My eldest brother has malignant melanoma and though he currently appears healthy, the disease is insidiously spreading in his body and the treatments do not seem to be effective. It is probable that I will not see him alive and healthy again so I cling to the delight of his presence and the special place he always held in my life. My gentle giant brother, a very positive male role model for me.
My trip to Australia, my chance to revisit my family and drink in the beauty of the love and affection that radiates from them is an important part of my Lenten journey this year. The walls of separation were broken down for the first time for 4 years and the bonds that bind us were strengthened.
Walls, I realize are not always made from bricks and mortar. They are not always made of physical materials at all. Sometimes they exist only in our minds. Wherever the walls in our lives are, we need the long journey of Lent and maybe even the experience of jet lag to help break them down. Many of us live our whole lives feeling out of synch with the world around us. So what do we do:
Light exposure is a prime influence on our body’s circadian rhythms and our ability to adapt to the new rhythms of the place to which we have travelled. After travelling west, we expose ourselves to light in the evening to adjust to a later than usual time zone. After traveling east as I did last week, we expose ourselves to morning light to adapt to an earlier time zone. My first early morning dawn light on this trip occurred as we flew into San Francisco, but sitting here each morning looking out at the Seattle landscape, hard though it might be, is probably the most important part of my re-orientation. I even developed a morning prayer to help me refocus.
I welcome the early morning light,
And embrace the brightness,
Of Christ’s presence within the day.
I welcome its beauty and the unfurling of it’s joy.
Unique and special to this place and time.
I welcome its grief and the weight of its sorrow,
Unwanted but ever present in my mind.
Here at the beginning of the day,
The light of Christ surrounds me,
And I welcome it into my life.
Preparing for the Garden Walk of Holy Week
In the last few days of his life, Jesus moved from garden to garden from suffering to resurrection.
Join Christine Sine for a Lent retreat that reflects on this journey and prepares for the challenging week that follows Palm Sunday.