The Tiniest Motions

There are many roads we travel just once, and there are others we visit again and again. This afternoon, like so many afternoons before, I heard the sound of a voice abandoned. And as I headed out the door to walk in the park, I felt that familiar tingle of a road I recognize. It is such a good thing to remember it – the call to pay attention and abandon the self. To be absorbed into something greater and to make note of the world unfolding, transforming itself into something new every moment.

I’m reminded that we can also be transformed.

This I know to be true: no matter how far I run, or fly, or hide from the work, it’s always there waiting. The pen calling to be used, the imagination painting meaning, the heart saying, go deeper. How did it become so difficult to record? And so difficult to be still enough?

No matter; this is a post about returning: changed, but ready to work again.

Author Anne Lamott writes, “It is easy to sense and embrace meaning when life is on track. When there is a feeling of fullness — having love, goodness, family, work, maybe God as parts of life…”

And when life feels off track, it is just as easy to lose our way. We can run in circles searching for what has changed, and how to fix it, but that rarely leads us home. Oftentimes, we just have to be patient, and forge ahead a day at a time until we can see the light again.

“Most of us have figured out that we have to do what’s in front of us and keep doing it… Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice…”

As Lamott writes, it is by the tiniest motions that we can find the road again that leads us back to our whole selves.

Meanwhile, I’ve been attempting to leap and sprint, or build a new road altogether. And let me say from personal experience, it doesn’t do much good to take arms against your life like that. Sure, there’s always a time for fighting the good fight, but not the bad one. Not the self-defeating one that demands “change now!”

“If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching,” Lamott wisely points out.

Wouldn’t life be sweet if we could trust that gentle, slow hand that threads the needle, drives it into the dark fabric and brings it up again, changed and refreshed? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to forget the need of knowing how it all turns out? The truth is that moment by moment, we have the opportunity to be amazed and to stay awake.

So in honor of the tiniest motions, here is a very tiny poem, and with it, the recovery of a stitch:

What more am I
than the observer
of mottled sunlight
casting amber waves
across the kitchen cabinet,
and a bowl split open,
bleeding pink,
revealing the tender ribs
of the sky?


3 thoughts on “The Tiniest Motions

  1. Naomi Jensen says:

    One of your more beautiful blogs, Abby. I appreciate both the placement of your words and their meaning. It is difficult for me to take the incremental change seriously. I’m always challenging it, never really giving it a chance, scoffing “what good could this possibly do?” It seems obvious to me now, but I so needed the reminder. And what a beautiful image–the slow hand that threads the needle. I think it is these small images, these moments very much as you depicted in the poem, that hold me together. That fill me up when I am wanting so much to jump ahead, to see an end to something. How wonderful and liberating to let go of the end. I will consider these thoughts. Thank you.


    • Abigail says:

      Ah, Naomi! I can always count on you to leave the most affirming and heartfelt comments. Thank you. As to change – I often think of all the good it could do, but have no idea how to get to my imagined state of achievement. Perhaps it’s the image of it that needs the changing after all…And liberating, yes, to let go of the end. Well, there is no end without a beginning and a middle, right? So we must take the steps to go through each stage. Might as well revel in the muck as much as the glory. All of it belongs in its right time and place! Since your visit, I’ve been practicing saying, “I trust it will all fall into place”. Thank you for reminding me of such a simple and powerful statement just by being who you are – an embodiment of faith. Xxoo


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