Atmosphere Meditation

Here’s a break in my posts about my work and travel. I wrote this several years ago when I was in graduate school studying Christian Theology and Spirituality. It was fun to blend the interests in weather and spirituality.

Atmosphere Meditation
Text adapted from a meteorology textbook: Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere by C Donald Ahrens.

Let us become aware of our breath, and to the air you take into your lungs…

Living on the surface of the earth, we have adapted so completely to our environment of air that we sometimes forget how truly remarkable this substance is. Our atmosphere is a delicate life-giving blanket of air that surrounds the fragile earth. It protects us from the scorching rays of the sun and provides us with a mixture of gasses that allows life to flourish. Between your eyes and the person near you are trillions of air molecules. Some of these may have been in a cloud only yesterday or over another continent last week, or perhaps part of the life-giving breath of a person who lived hundreds of years ago.

Give thanks for the timeless breath of our Creator God.

The earth without an atmosphere would have no lakes or oceans. There would be no sounds, no clouds, no red sunsets, no rainbows. The beautiful pageantry of the sky and poetry of clouds would be absent. It would be unimaginably cold at night and unbearably hot during the day. All Creation would be at the mercy of an intense sun beating down upon a planet utterly parched.

Give thanks for the ecological diversity on the planet.

Air influences everything we see and hear—it is intimately connected to our lives. Air is with us from our birth until our last breath, and we cannot detach our selves from its presence. In the open air, we can travel for many thousands of miles in any horizontal direction, but should we move a mere five miles above the surface, we would suffocate. We may be able to survive without food for a few weeks, or without water for a few days, but, without our atmosphere, we would not survive more than a few minutes. Just as fish are confined to an environment of water, so we are confined to an ocean of air. Anywhere we go, it must go with us.

Give thanks for the sustaining, life-giving air.

Lent and Blessing the Waiting

sagebrushSince my return from the orientation in Toronto in January, I have been staying with my parents in southeastern Washington state. Recently on a trail, I ran among the dry sagebrush steppe and contemplated the desert and my lenten journey.

How do I form and hold onto a spiritual practice for lent as I continue to wait in this liminal space? I haven’t answered that yet.

All of my belongings not going with me are packed away, leaving me to that which I can carry. I don’t have to take time out of my busy day to think about lent—I have time, lots of time. Well, the newness of waiting has worn off, and as the weeks pass by, it has become increasingly difficult to retain my earlier reflection on the deliciousness of ambiguity. So, it seems, as the liturgical season turns, so has a season in my spirituality. But this desert isn’t desolate.

Over the weekend, I returned to Seattle and said goodbye to my parents. And yesterday evening my church community, Church of the Apostles, blessed my waiting. In our nearly 10 years of existence (I’ve been around for 7 of that), we have laid hands upon many to bless their various journeys near and far. As it is not yet time for me to leave the country, I asked for prayer in my waiting. Standing in this liminal space, and surrounded by my community, hands were laid upon me to bless my waiting.

Today I wonder: what will this week of waiting and wandering bring?